Small dip in tourism numbers

President's weekend off 3 percent despite full airplanes


— Steamboat Springs had brilliant blue skies and packed powder to offer the holiday weekend skiers and passengers streaming into Yampa Valley Regional Airport on Friday.

But the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's lodging barometer projects tourism could be off about 3 percent from President's Day weekend in 2007.

Yampa Valley Regional Airport was expecting 1,345 arriving passengers, with all flights full. Departing flights were expected to carry 903 passengers. The only significant delay at midday was the United Express flight from Chicago, which could not take off on time from O'Hare because of strong winds.

Despite the crowd arriving at the Hayden airport, Chamber officials were expecting only 13,800 people to spend the night in area lodging properties. That number is a decline from the 14,500 guests in town for the corresponding Saturday in 2007.

U.S. 40 hotels are booked solid tonight, and mountain condominiums were at 94 percent occupancy as of Wednesday night.

Barbara Robinson, general manager of the Holiday Inn of Steamboat Springs, said her property is booked solid this weekend and with the exception of some single nights, will remain that way until the ski season airline program tapers off after the first week of April.

"We are close to 99 percent full until early April," Robinson said. "Life is good at the Holiday."

The shortfall from last year appears to be in mountain hotels, where Saturday occupancy is expected to be at 84 percent, compared to 95 percent last year.

Tourism is projected to remain relatively strong in the coming week, with 12,000 guests checked into area lodges Feb. 20. That's up 400 from the corresponding Wednesday last year.

Early projections for Saturday, Feb. 23, are off substantially, with 75 percent occupancy and 11,300 guests. That compares to 94 percent occupancy and 14,200 guests on Feb. 24, 2007. Last-minute bookings could still move that number.


nightbird 9 years, 2 months ago

Is there a need to worry? Well it depends what kind of business you are in. We will likely see more and more of this type of trend. The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association uses a tool called the Lodging Barometer to forecast lodging occupancy in condos and hotels. It is far from a perfect tool but it is the best that exist.

The number of second homes is growing. Although the people in these second homes do not use them all the time they do use them or at least their friends and family do. What this means is that an increasing number of visitors are here but they are not staying in hotels and condos. They ski they shop they eat they just do not sleep in a rented bed located in a condo or hotel. This trend is a bummer if you are in the lodging business. It is also not great news for the City's sales tax collections because the sales and accommodation tax charged on lodging.

What is the solution? I guess just get more and more people here. With this approach, however, we all know that a small percentage of these "more people" will fall in love with this place and subsequently want a second home.

This cycle is good for construction and real estate agents but it seems to me a crazy cycle we seem doomed to follow. Any suggestions?


love_boat 9 years, 2 months ago

The thought occurred to me as well with the number of condos and homes being built it seems there are folks in town, like the 4 staying at our house, who don't need lodging. They drove up this year too so they are under the radar for any gust indecies except for any lift tickets they buy. Several people I know have told me their kids don't have Presidents day Monday off this year which will have some impact.


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