Running a tally on holiday vacationers in Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Running a tally on holiday vacationers in Steamboat Springs

Steamboat has new tools to count its holiday visitors.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS— At first glance, winter tourism forecast during the 2017-2018 December/January holiday period appears to be down, particularly right after Christmas Day when the lodging barometer published by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association anticipates 11,900 people will spend he night here Wednesday, Dec. 27 compared to the forecast of 14,500 on the corresponding Wednesday in 2016.

However Steamboat Springs Chamber CEO Kara Stoller said Dec. 22 that her contacts in the lodging industry are reporting more extended stays compared to previous years, some as long as two weeks, this holiday period. Those longer stays will roll right into the busy week of the sold-out Music Fest at Steamboat featuring 50 bands  Jan. 4 to 9, she added.

It would be natural to pin a dip in tourism this December on the scarcity of fresh powder during the run-up to the holidays, but that wasn't the case Saturday Dec. 16 when 9,400 people spent the night in Ski town USA, up 300 from the Wednesday Lodging Barometer forecast, and up 1,100 visitors from the corresponding Saturday in 2016. And Steamboat's snow message was much more robust a year ago.

Stoller said that going forward, the Chamber's lodging reports will be much more detailed after the resort community turns the page on the longstanding lodging barometer and  begins Jan. 3 to track tourism numbers in more detail through its year-old relationship with  Colorado-based DestiMetrics, with a daily occupancy report.

"The new report is a more holistic view, including the next 60 days and not just the next few Saturdays and Wednesdays," Stoller said.”The report includes current year; same time, last year; and historical actual occupancy.  The data is vetted for accuracy every month by the DestiMetrics team."

The old Lodging Barometer helped restaurants gauge how much food to have on hand, for example. And in general, it gave business owners a sense of how much staffing they needed one week out. But the longer look ahead afforded by Destimetrics will aid resorts and lodging properties to better gauge what periods of the resort season they need to emphasize with their promotions and marketing budgets, Stoller confirmed.

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"Knowing when influxes of visitation will take place can certainly benefit those who can plan accordingly to maximize and minimize spends as need be," she said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.