Lodging occupancy up across Colorado; Steamboat results mixed so far | SteamboatToday.com

Lodging occupancy up across Colorado; Steamboat results mixed so far

Michael Schrantz

Houston residents Mark Murray, back, and Carson Murray speed down the Alpine Slide while visiting Steamboat Springs on vacation.

— Lodging occupancy and revenues are looking up in Colorado and across the Rocky Mountains and the West.

According to travel research firm DestiMetrics, lodging already booked for the summer is up 6.8 percent in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming among the properties that participate in its figures. Steamboat Springs is not included in DestiMetrics' reports.

Locally, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's lodging barometer survey has shown less triumphant results, as the past three weeks have either underperformed or been nearly even with previous years.

The summer started strong, with the first week tracked by the lodging survey well above the same week in the previous three years. The second and third weeks of the summer saw occupancy drop to about 35 percent. Only the third week of 2013 saw worse occupancy during the same period, according to the chamber's lodging barometer. This past week saw occupancy climb back to levels similar to previous years.

However, the barometer's estimate of the total amount of lodging available in Steamboat has continued to grow in the past three years, meaning the same percent of available lodging equals more guests staying in town.

For this upcoming week, the lodging barometer again shows occupancy on par with previous years. The report is released every Wednesday, and last week's numbers forecast the rate at 60 percent for Saturday, which is just higher than the 59 percent forecast last year. The actual occupancy rate ended up being 62 percent for the same night in 2013.

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In line with summer lodging trends, downtown properties stay full or close to it while the lowest occupancy rate is for condos in the mountain area.

In a news release, DestiMetrics' Director of Operations Tom Foley said that increased fuel costs could have a negative impact on mountain drive markets this summer. Steamboat, while an air market during the winter, primarily switches to a drive market during the summer. This summer, there will be nonstop flights from Houston into Yampa Valley Regional Airport starting June 26.

"Overall, the summer season from May actuals to bookings through October, is very strong," Ralf Garrison, DestiMetrics' director, said in a news release. "And one thing we have learned in the past six years of tracking mountain destinations is that visitors to these resorts are resilient; it seems that when times are bad, they 'need' a vacation and when times are good, they 'deserve' a vacation."

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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