Glenwood lodging industry’s heads in beds up as Hanging Lake shuttle prepares to launch
Glenwood Springs’ lodging industry has experienced an uptick in guests so far in 2019 amid one of the best ski seasons in recent years.
Hopes are the trend continues with the new permit-based Hanging Lake shuttle service beginning next month.
So far this year, the city’s hotel and motel occupancy rates jumped 5.2, 5.1 and 4 percent in January, February and March, respectively, compared with 2018, according to the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association.
“Our promotional budget comes from accommodations tax receipts,” said Lisa Langer, the city’s director of tourism promotion through the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.
“Most of our advertising is for people that are far enough away that they are coming and spending at least one night, and hopefully multiple nights,” Langer said.
By the numbers
According to the most up-to-date reports, in January the city’s 2.5 percent accommodations tax generated $74,701 — a 19 percent increase from January 2018.
Likewise, February accommodations taxes were up 13.77 percent, with $69,979 in receipts compared to $61,511 in February 2018.
In January, Glenwood’s hotels and motels earned the city $115,591 worth of overall sales tax revenue, marking a 14.57 percent increase when put alongside January 2018.
In February, lodges produced $108,473, marking a 7.34 percent increase compared to the hotel and motel sector’s February 2018 performance.
Hotel Colorado General Manager Christian Henny said that, aside from Interstate 70 closures because of avalanches, Hotel Colorado faired particularly well in the first quarter of 2019.
“Hotel Colorado finished the first quarter with a strong double-digit revenue increase over the previous year, despite the fact that our meeting and function rooms have been under renovation,” Henny said.
Hanging Lake shuttle launch
Additionally, the city’s recent partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and contractor H20 Ventures to provide shuttle services to and from the Hanging Lake Trail area has also provided more hits to visitglenwood.com, Langer said.
“The Hanging Lake page on visitglenwood.com was the number one page and now is of course, still, the number one page but with much more volume,” she said. “It really opens up the entire community to benefit from the people who come [to Hanging Lake].”
Since Hanging Lake’s online reservation system went live April 1, over 6,180 people have already signed up.
The permit system caps Hanging Lake’s visitors to 615 people per day. Being that the new Hanging Lake Welcome Center resides next to the Glenwood Community Center, visitors who utilize the shuttle service have no choice but to make their way into the city.
“We are hearing good things about the Hanging Lake shuttle and reservation system, and hope this will drive additional weekday business during the summer for people wanting to experience Hanging Lake on days with more available time slots,” Henny said.
Langer explained that, in years past, the U.S. Forest Service asked the city to hold back on promoting Hanging Lake outside of basic information, as the natural national landmark was already too busy.
Now, however, when users type in visitglenwood.com to secure a Hanging Lake permit, they can also explore many of Glenwood’s other offerings.
“It is also important then to direct people to all of the other things we have to do in Glenwood Springs,” Langer said. “They’re coming there because they want to hike Hanging Lake. …And, now, they have the opportunity to see all of the other things Glenwood has to offer.”
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Sales tax revenue in Glenwood Springs picked up by 11.3% for the first two months of the year, according to the latest city sales tax reports.