The Colorado Springs hotel industry continued in September to recover from the economic punch packed by the pandemic, though the city’s occupancy rate did fall slightly from August, according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report.
Local hotels filled 74.2% of their rooms last month. That was down from 75.8% in August but still well ahead of the 66.1% occupancy rate during September 2020.
The city’s hotel industry still has still not quite recovered to levels reached before the COVID-19 pandemic slowed travel worldwide. But the local occupancy rate for the first three quarters of the year has made a big improvement — jumping from 50.5% last year to 65.6% this year, fueled by a strong summer with occupancy rates hitting 85% in June and July. The city’s occupancy rate ranked sixth among the 18 areas included in the report, behind the resort destinations of Durango, Glenwood Springs and Estes Park as well as Grand Junction and Greeley.
“The industry continues to recover — both occupancy and room rate are up more than 20 percentage points from the same time last year — but occupancy so far this year is still down about 11 percentage points from the same time in 2019, so we still haven’t caught up yet,” said Doug Price, CEO of Visit Colorado Springs. “I wonder where we would be if Southwest (Airlines) had not begun serving Colorado Springs in March.”
Despite the slight drop, Colorado Springs still ranked as one of the nation’s best hotel markets in September at fourth behind Portland, Maine; southern Louisiana and northern California among the 165 cities and areas tracked by hotel research firm STR. The company uses different criteria to measure local occupancy than the Rocky Mountain report, which does not include The Broadmoor or Cheyenne Mountain Resort in its Colorado Springs totals; those hotels are listed in separate category for resorts.
The Rocky Mountain report found the average local room rate in September fell 13.8% from August but was up 40.6% from September 2020 and up more than 20% from September 2019. Average room rates in Colorado Springs hotels during the first nine months of the year rose 27.9% from the same period last year to $134.02 .
Denver area hotels had little, if any, slowdown last month with occupancy falling from 70.3% in August to 70.2% in September. Occupancy in the Denver area during the first nine months of the year improved to 58.3% from 42.2% during the same period last year. The average room rate in Denver hotels also staged a major recovery last month, surging 57.3% from a year ago to $151.25. The average rate for the first nine months of the year rose 14.3% from a year earlier to $124.98.
Statewide occupancy fell slightly from 69.3% in August to 68.9% in September; through the first nine months of the year, the rate has improved from 45.5% in 2020 to 58.5% . The state’s average room rate in September jumped 39.4% from a year earlier to $168.71 and so far this year is up 10.9% from the same period last year to $153.47.
Nationwide hotel occupancy fell from 63.2% in August to 61.6% in September but was well ahead of the 48.3% occupancy rate in September 2020, according to data compiled by STR. The average room rate nationwide in September jumped 34.3% from a year earlier to $133.11.