Lodging forecast looking up in Steamboat

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— The first Triple Crown Sports youth softball tournament of the summer will account for many of the 5,400 visitors expected to spend Saturday night in Steamboat Springs.

The lodging barometer published by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association anticipates local lodging properties will be 36 percent full, with U.S. Highway 40 hotels leading the way at 56 percent occupancy and downtown properties also strong at 48 percent.

“Last weekend was very good to us and we’ll do pretty well this weekend,” The Steamboat Grand Vice President and General Manager Mike Lomas said. “We’ll be in the upper 68 percent occupancy rate. It will be Triple Crown that will keep us hopping.”

Some of the families in town for the baseball tournament are likely to enjoy the first Farmers Market of the season from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on Sixth Street.

Resort Group Vice President Mark Walker said call conversion — the number of inquiries that actually turn into reservations — is an encouraging sign for the heart of the summer tourism season. And Triple Crown and the Steamboat Mountain Youth Soccer Tournament are playing a role.

“I am very, very optimistic,” Walker said. “This summer is up significantly over the last two. It may be in part because Triple Crown had to book earlier this year. But I think it also has to do with the heat around the country and pent-up demand.”

The local lodging community again will be hoping this weekend for an unexpected bump like the one it received last weekend.

The lodging barometer is published Wednesdays to give hotel and restaurant managers an idea of how much staff they will need.

For June 2, with the Steamboat Marathon crowd in town, the barometer anticipated 4,600 people to spend the night. But the actual number of visitors who showed up grew by 9 percent to 5,900. Mountain hotels exceeded their expected occupancy rates by 12 percent, downtown properties were up 26 percent and U.S. Highway 40 hotels were up 23 percent over the barometer’s projections.

Lomas said this weekend marks the beginning of a busy wedding season for The Steamboat Grand and that there is a scientific convention coming to his property Wednesday. However, it will be the annual Mustang Roundup from Thursday to June 17 that will really kick summer tourism into high gear.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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