|By Andrew Wineke, The Gazette, Colorado
Springs, Colo.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 19, 2011--With the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon bringing athletes and fans to town, this weekend looks to be hopping. But for local hotels it may still not match July, which was the busiest for local lodging since 1998.
According to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report, Colorado Springs-area hotels had an 89.8 percent occupancy rate in July, up 7.1 percentage points from July 2010. Average room rates were up, too, jumping nearly 9 percent to $95.88.
"It was the best July I've had as long I can remember," said Jim Breeden, general manager of the Colorado Springs Marriott.
July is typically the busiest month for local lodging establishments, but this July was way ahead of the trend. The last time occupancy rates were even in the ballpark was July 2000, when the rate hit 84.7 percent. Statewide, occupancy rates were a mere 76 percent in the month, up slightly from July 2010.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what led to the surge of guests at local hotels, although the U.S. Women's Open at The Broadmoor certainly played a role.
The Broadmoor itself, however, is not counted in the lodging report numbers.
"The Open obviously is a huge factor," said Chelsy Murphy, public relations manager for the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"It's fantastic and we're happy to have the numbers. It will be very interesting to see how that compares with this month."
Paul York, general manager of The Cliff House in Manitou Springs, said July set a record for his hotel.
"Occupancywise, it was our best in 12 years, since we reopened," York said. "The weather was OK, I think our market segment seemed to be strong and we did a decent amount of corporate in that time, and transient was with us all along. It looks like a good summer for us as well."
Steve Ducoff, executive director of the Pikes Peak Lodging Association, said he had expected July to be good, although not necessarily the best in 13 years.
"Those are good numbers," he said.
"The events that were occurring and the weather and the gas prices were not too outrageous -- maybe even the heat in other parts of the world drove them to the mountains. We've had plenty of summers that one thing or another kept it down."
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Copyright (c) 2011, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.
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