October occupancy at Colorado Springs hotels hits two-decade low

by WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com - Published: November 18, 2013 | 5:40 pm 0

Hotel occupancy in the Colorado Springs area in October fell to the lowest level for that month since at least 1990, as local motel and hotel owners focused more on driving up room rates, not filling rooms at any cost, an industry official said Monday.

The occupancy rate for local hotels dropped to 56.6 percent, down 6.9 percentage points from a year earlier and the lowest for any October in at least 23 years, according to the report.

For the same period, the average room rate was up 4.4 percent to $90.74.

Local hotels are "really trying to hold rates up, even at the expense of occupancy," said Amy Long, vice president of marketing and partnerships for the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The average room rate has been declining for several years and hotels are trying to bring rates back up."

Long also said that last year's occupancy numbers were boosted by a $200,000 marketing campaign to lure visitors to the area in the wake of the Waldo Canyon fire. The campaign helped push up boost hotel occupancy rates in October 2012 by 4.5 percentage points to 63.5 percent, the highest for any October in 10 years.

The bureau ran a much smaller marketing campaign this fall, only spending about 25 percent to 30 percent of what it did a year ago, she said.

The occupancy rate of local hotels for the first 10 months of the year is down 1.7 percentage points from a year ago to 62.5 percent, while the average room rate is up 1.8 percent for the same period to $92.33.

The report's occupancy and average room rate numbers for the Colorado Springs area don't include either The Broadmoor hotel or Cheyenne Mountain Resort, which are both included in a separate category, "other resorts."

Statewide, hotel occupancy levels in October rose 1.1 percentage points from a year earlier to 64 percent, but the average room rate fell slightly to $119.50. So far this year, statewide hotel occupancy is up 1.9 percentage points from a year ago to 66.4 percent, while the average room rate during the same period is up 3.5 percent to $127.98.

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