Colorado Springs hotels filled a few more rooms in May, but occupancy rates remained a fraction of a year ago amid efforts to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report.
The occupancy rate in local hotels rose to 31.2% last month from 18.1% in May. While heading up, that’s still less than half the 73.6% rate reached a year ago, according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. The occupancy rate would have been even lower if many of the largest hotels in Colorado Springs that remained closed during much or all of May were included in the report, said Doug Price, CEO of Visit Colorado Springs.
“Until we get all the hotels and attractions open, we are just crawling,” Price said. “Since the May numbers don’t include closed hotels, comparisons are less meaningful, but the numbers are bad either way. We resumed advertising three weeks ago and are seeing a good increase in web traffic as a result. The Colorado Tourism Office should start advertising for in-state visitors this week.”
The Broadmoor will reopen June 28, while the Mining Exchange hotel is scheduled to reopen July 1 and the Great Wolf Lodge is awaiting state approval to reopen its indoor water park before reopening. (The Broadmoor and Cheyenne Mountain Resort, along with three other upscale resorts in the area, are in a separate category of the report and not included in the occupancy and room rate figures for Colorado Springs.)
Many major attractions in the region have reopened, including Cave of the Winds, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, but a handful have yet to reopen, including The Broadmoor Seven Falls.
Less expensive hotels are bouncing back a bit quicker — the occupancy rate for limited-service hotels was 43.2% in May, while full-service hotels with restaurants, pools and meeting space filled 24.3% of their rooms. The low occupancy rates also has resulted in lower average room prices, which were down 28.6% from a year earlier to $84.48 in May. That’s the lowest average room rate since December 2014. The revenue per available room was just $26.32 in May.
The local occupancy rate for the first five months of the year shows the devastating impact on the hotel industry from state restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While hotels were not required to close, eight major hotels shut down in late March as a result of convention and meeting cancellations and few bookings; others suffered from a lack of travelers. The rate is down to 40.2% from 65.7% at this point last year, with the average room rate declining 9.7% to $98.03.
Colorado Springs still fared better than the rest of the state — the statewide occupancy rate in May was 26.5%, down from 69.5% in May 2019, and the average room rate plunged 41.7% to $83.27. The Denver area’s occupancy was just 24.8%. Colorado’s occupancy rate for the first five months of the year fell to 43.6% from 65.6% a year ago and the average room rate slipped 4% to $152.29.