CARBONDALE, Colorado - Lodging tax receipts through November 2012 surpassed the total amount collected in 2011, according to figures from Town Hall and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber director and an official from one of the town's two main lodging establishments said they see this as a hopeful sign that the town's economy is recovering from the recession.
Lodging tax revenues are used for tourism and marketing campaigns through the Chamber and the Carbondale Tourism Council.
In 2011, the town took in $47,850 in lodging tax revenues for 12 months. Lodging tax revenues through November 2012, for just 11 months, came to $56,267, well over the total revenues received in 2011.
In addition, revenues through November 2012 were 25 percent more than revenues collected through November 2011, which amounted to $44,798, according to figures released by Nancy Barnett, town finance director.
According to a report to the town council on Jan. 8 by Andrea Stewart, director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, lodging tax receipts have improved steadily since 2011.
Those 2011 receipts represented the low point in lodging tax revenues since 2007, when receipts reached a high of $86,393.
Lodging tax revenues have recovered slowly since 2011.
"The trend that we're seeing is going back to those 2008 figures," said Stewart. "It seems like we're increasing at a pretty steady rate."
The months of April, May and June, she said, "were all really great." She said that may have been partly due to construction work on hotels in Aspen over the summer, as well as to such events as Ride the Rockies, which brought thousands of people into the valley in June.
And while November is typically an off month for Carbondale lodges, Stewart said, she heard from local lodge operators that construction seems to be on the upswing, and there was an increase in the number of construction workers filling up local rooms.
Carbondale's Front Range marketing campaign, "Winter Hot Spots," just concluded, Stewart said, and likely was responsible for some of the increase in tourism represented by the higher lodging tax revenues.
"People are coming," she said. "I think with the weather being so good people aren't afraid of coming over the hill."
Jeni Ptacek, sales manager for the Comfort Inn Hotel, said 2012 generally was much better than 2011 "up until the end of the year."
She said occupancy of the Comfort Inn's 76 rooms, which were largely full for much of the spring, summer and early fall, "really dropped off" after mid-October.
But, she added, "It's a seasonal business around here, for sure."
She said she expects the hotel's business to pick up again next spring and summer, and for business to continue to improve.