Colorado Springs hotels weren’t as full in 2019 as they were the year before, but that appeared to be due more to an increase in hotel rooms than a decline in visitors.
The occupancy rate in local hotels last year fell to 70% from a 21-year high of 71.1% in 2018, according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. But the 2019 occupancy rate was still the second-highest since 1997. And the average room rate for the year edged 0.7% higher to a record $119.62, the ninth consecutive annual increase.
Report publisher Robert Benton, a Parker-based hotel industry consultant, said hotel openings were a factor and “is something to watch, but not get overly alarmed about.” Despite the falling occupancy rate, the number of occupied room nights actually grew, reflecting more visitors — just not fast enough to offset the increase in available rooms, he said.
Six hotels opened in the Colorado Springs area last year, adding nearly 600 rooms, and another eight properties with 870 rooms are set to open this year, according to Visit Colorado Springs, formerly the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. Eight additional projects with about 1,000 rooms are in the planning stages, the tourism promotion agency said.
Doug Price, CEO of Visit Colorado Springs, said the “slight softening” in occupancy matches a nationwide trend in occupancy with enough growth in average room rate to generate increased revenue for the industry.
He also said a minor drop in airport passenger numbers played a small part in reduced occupancy.
The industry ended 2019 on a down note with occupancy falling locally to 45.9% in December from 50.1% in December 2018. The decline hit full-service hotels harder with an occupancy rate of just 43.6% last month, while limited-service properties had an occupancy rate of 50.1%. The average room rate in December rose 1.3% to $96.22.
Statewide, hotel occupancy last year improved slightly to 69.7% from 69.2% in 2018, helped by gains in the Denver area and Colorado’s ski resorts. The state finished the year on a weak note, though, with occupancy falling slightly to 53.4%, just the third decline for the year. The average room rate fell 14 cents in December to $167.52, the second drop for the year.
The Broadmoor and Cheyenne Mountain Resort are not included in the Colorado Springs totals, but are part of the “other resorts” category that includes many of Colorado’s ski resorts.
Occupancy in that category rose last year to 56.7% from 55.5% in 2018, while the average room rate increased 2.7% to $296.68.
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