The Colorado Springs hotel industry’s recovery stalled in January, a new report shows.
Local hotels filled 36.2% of their rooms last month, unchanged from December and down from 51% in January 2020, according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report, which tracks the state’s hospitality industry.
January’s year-over-year decline in hotel occupancy was the steepest since July; it also was the first time in 30 years that January occupancy levels failed to rise from December.
Colorado Springs hotels, like those nationwide, have had a rough ride.
Occupancy rates plunged during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, then climbed above 60% from July through October before they dropped in November and December. Limited-service hotels — which generally don’t have extensive meeting space — outperformed full-service hotels in January.
“I have a sense that everyone has been in vaccine watch mode, waiting for their turn before they want to travel,” said Doug Price, CEO of Visit Colorado Springs. “From a vacation standpoint, the weather is so unpredictable this time of year that travelers either go someplace warm or not at all. Hotels saw good demand over the Valentine’s Day weekend, but that was offset by the Presidents Day hockey tournament with no fans.”
Price said he is optimistic the tourism industry recovery will gain traction in the second half of the year after many more Americans have received the COVID-19 vaccine and states remove more business restrictions. More than 40 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccination and 15.5 million have received both doses, according to data through Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control.
Colorado Springs hotels outperformed the rest of the Front Range in January, except for Greeley’s 45.5% occupancy rate. Denver’s occupancy rate was just 32.8%, down from 60.9% a year ago and 33.1% in December.
Colorado ski resorts and Western Slope hotels had higher occupancy levels than Colorado Springs and the statewide average of 35.1% with ski resorts at 41.7%, Grand Junction at 44.7% and Craig at 36.4%. The state average was 35.2% in December and 58.1% in January 2020.
The pandemic also has depressed hotel revenues.
In Colorado Springs, January’s average room rate fell 8.9% from a year ago to $91.06. Combined with the drop in occupancy, the revenue per available room locally was down 35.4%.
The same was true in Denver with the average room rate off 34.6% to $83.38 and the revenue per available room down nearly two thirds to $27.34. Statewide, the average room rate fell 20.3% to $133.34 and revenue per available room was down by more than half to $46.82.
The Broadmoor and Cheyenne Mountain Resort are not included in the report’s Colorado Springs totals, but are listed in a separate category that includes many of the state’s ski resorts.
Occupancy for that category was 36% in January, down from 59.3% a year ago. The average room rate for the category was off 4.7% to $329.19 and the revenue per available room was down 42.2% to $118.46.