Lodging forecast down

Summer visitors are booking trips later and in fewer numbers

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Lodging numbers

(In number of occupied pillows)

2009 forecast

Saturday: 37 percent, or 5,100 people

Wednesday: 21 percent, or 2,899

June 20: 57 percent, or 7,900

June 6:

- Forecast: 39 percent, or 5,400 people

- Actual number: 47 percent, or 6,500

2008

May 31: 48 percent, or 7,218

June 7: 36 percent, or 5,400

Source: Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association

— Summer lodging in Steamboat Springs is showing signs of the same trends reflected in winter bookings.

People are booking closer to the time of their trip. They're looking for value and discounts, and fewer visitors are expected. Lodging numbers could be 10 to 40 percent down this summer compared with 2008, said Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Traffic from Triple Crown Sports teams will be crucial for Steamboat Resorts, Reservations Director Leslie Knutson said. She's seeing decreases in other big summer markets: destination weddings and family reunions.

"Triple Crown has brought some business to our community, and right now, that's the majority of the business that we're seeing," Knutson said.

Steamboat Resorts manages 20 properties, which consist of individually owned hotel rooms, condominiums and townhouses. The company is one of Triple Crown's 40 preferred lodging facilities.

Steamboat hosts its first Triple Crown event of the season this weekend, a girls fast-pitch softball tournament, said Jason McCoy, World Series event coordinator. Triple Crown teams aren't obligated to book only with preferred hotels and condos, McCoy said.

According to the Triple Crown Web site, "The Triple Crown Lodging Department asks that each team book a minimum of 6 hotel rooms or the equivalent of 6 bedrooms in condo properties for a minimum of 5 nights. : If your team does not utilize our lodging partners, your team will be charged a higher entry fee to play in the World Series."

Triple Crown plans to bring about 400 baseball and softball teams to Steamboat this year, McCoy said. That amounts to about 12,000 athletes. Adding their families puts the number of visitors at about 30,000, he said.

The main event is the World Series, which is June 30 through July 5. Triple Crown has 150 teams that have paid and another 100 that are scheduled but haven't yet paid, he said. That's a decrease of about 40 teams from 2008, McCoy said.

"That's the economic situation, or the team says a couple parents just lost their jobs, we can't come now," he said.

The Chamber and its members are watching Triple Crown carefully, Evans Hall said.

"I think one of the patterns we're seeing is there are teams registering for the events but not necessarily booking their lodging, so we don't know what that's saying right now," she said.

McCoy was optimistic, and he said Triple Crown was aggressively following up with teams.

"I think we've got a great group of families coming," he said.

Jay Wetzler, owner of the Steamboat Hotel, opted out of Triple Crown this year. He said he was pleased with the coming weekend.

"We have two properties, the Bunkhouse Lodge and the Steamboat Hotel," Wetzler said.

"Both are pretty close to full this weekend, and we're getting lots of inquiries about rates and availability during the summer."

He also is seeing people book at the last minute, which wasn't the case in 2008.

"I don't think it's quite as strong," Wetzler said. "We're not seeing the advance reservations. I'm still encouraged by the numbers that we're doing."

Comments

ybul 5 years, 1 month ago

Triple crown should not be charging a higher rate for those who stay at alternate hotels. That is a tying contract and in violation of section 7 of the clayton act (if my memory serves me correctly).

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