Glenwood Springs lodging occupancy tops 81 percent in July |

Glenwood Springs lodging occupancy tops 81 percent in July

Heather McGregor Post IndependentAverage monthly occupancy rates for Glenwood Springs lodges during June and July had been on the decline since 2007. The monthly Rocky Mountain Lodging Report reflected the first percentage increase for those months this summer. Also notable is that there are now 225 new rooms in the mix, with the addition of the Marriott Residence Inn and Courtyard Inn at Glenwood Meadows, meaning the summer market demand has bounced back to 2007 levels even with 225 new rooms in the mix.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Guest rooms in Glenwood Springs were more than 81 percent occupied on average during July, according to the latest Rocky Mountain Lodging report.

It’s the highest single-month occupancy percentage recorded since August 2008, when 88.4 percent of rooms were occupied during that month, on average.

It’s also a continuing sign that Glenwood Springs tourism is on the rebound, even if other economic indicators are still lagging.

According to the report, 81.4 percent of hotel, motel and bed and breakfast guest rooms were occupied on average over the course this July, compared to 72 percent in July 2010 – a 9.4 percent increase.

The numbers were also up in June, from 60.5 percent occupancy in June 2010 to 67.4 percent this past June, for a 6.9 percent increase.

“It does look like things are moving in the right direction,” said Lindsey Lewis, vice president of tourism marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

The chamber handles tourism promotion for the city of Glenwood Springs, using revenues from the city’s 2.5 percent accommodations (lodging) tax.

“We’re excited, it’s been a good year for us in which we’ve had a lot of national exposure,” Lewis said.

It has been a year marked by a visit to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park by the Travel Channel’s Bert the Conqueror in May, Glenwood Springs’ selection as Rand McNally’s Best of the Road “Most Fun City,” and the National Speleological Society convention in July.

“We also had the Bicycle Tour of Colorado bring 1,500 people to town in June, and I imagine we had a boost in occupancy from the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last week,” Lewis said.

The July occupancy report was also the first month that gave an accurate month-over-month comparison to 2010. The new Marriott Residence Inn and Courtyard Inn opened at Glenwood Meadows in March and July of that year, respectively, adding 225 new guest rooms to the mix.

Occupancy rates began to surpass last year starting in March of this year, even before the extra available rooms had been fully reflected in the report.

With the new properties, Glenwood Springs now has a total of 1,700 rooms, the majority of which are reflected in the monthly lodging report, Lewis said.

To date this year, the occupancy percentage is up 2.19 percent compared to the first seven months of 2010.

Year-to-year, the lodging occupancy rate has been on the decline since 2007, falling from 69.8 percent for all of 2007 to just 49.2 percent for 2010.

The 2011 turn-around is also indicated in Glenwood’s accommodations tax collections, which were up 8 percent through June compared to last year.

The average daily room rate, also reflected in the lodging report, has been climbing steadily as well. The average nightly room rate in July was $113, up from $108 in June. In July 2008, however, Glenwood Springs lodges were charging an average nightly rate of $128.

“It’s still down from a couple of years ago, but it’s good to see rates staying constant compared to last year,” Lewis said. “A lot of destinations really started slashing their rates to attract visitors, and it’s hard to recover from that if you drop them too much.”

Things are looking up for the trend to continue into September, October and on into the winter season as well, she said.

Next month brings the National Sheepdog Trials to the Strang Ranch in Carbondale, which should have some spill-over affect for Glenwood Springs.

“We still need to work hard to maintain our market share going into the winter and fall,” Lewis said. “We’ve heard from our lodging community that the August numbers were good, and we hope to see that trend continue into the fall and winter.”

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