Aspen lodging occupancy up again in August | AspenTimes.com

Aspen lodging occupancy up again in August

Janet UrquhartThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – August in Aspen capped a summer that was up 14 percent in terms of lodging occupancy.Don’t expect a similar increase again next summer, as there aren’t enough rooms for another double-digit jump, according to Bill Tomcich, president of local reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass.For a six-week period from July 4 through the middle of August, the resort was about as full as it can be, given the number of existing accommodations, he said. With midweek occupancies hovering in the 80 percent range and weekend occupancies that went as high as 96 percent, there isn’t room for the same sort of gains next summer.”Next year, we’re definitely not going to be able to see another 14 percent increase,” Tomcich said. “We’re pretty much approaching the glass ceiling, at which the town is a virtual sellout.”Overall, August occupancies in Aspen hovered around 70 percent – up 10 percent from 2011, and the average daily rate paid for accommodations during the month was up 6.5 percent over the same month last year, according to the latest figures from Mountain Travel Research Program, better known as MTRiP.Aspen’s overall occupancy in July was 78 percent – up 10 percent, and June’s occupancy rate stood at 62 percent, up 18.6 percent over the same month in 2011, according to MTRiP.In Snowmass Village, August’s lodging occupancy was down almost 13 percent, but nearly 25 percent of the resort’s rooms weren’t available as the result of two major redevelopment projects. That means that, while the total number of overnight visitors to Snowmass was down, the actual occupancies realized by the properties that were open was up. In addition, average daily rates in Snowmass were up 12.7 percent, according to MTRiP.August in Aspen saw a strong start for the lodging sector and a “somewhat lackluster finish,” according to Tomcich.However, Aspen saw a rare midweek sellout, or virtually so, on Aug. 22, the night the USA Pro Challenge came to town. And, according to Tomcich, since Food & Wine weekend in June, Aspen has seen a total of 17 nights spread over eight weekends when nightly occupancies hit or exceeded 90 percent. By comparison, he said, that occurred on only six nights on three separate weekends last summer.For the summer season through August, the occupancy rate in Snowmass was down 9.3 percent, but with a quarter of its rooms unavailable, the percentage of occupied rooms was up. The Westin (the former Silvertree Hotel) is scheduled to open Nov. 21, followed by the Wildwood Lodge on Dec. 13.Based on bookings made by the end of August, September lodging numbers in Aspen are down 15 percent. However, while Labor Day weekend was close to a sellout for Aspen and Snowmass, the Friday of that weekend fell on Aug. 31, affecting the numbers for September, Tomcich noted.Next weekend’s bookings are pacing well behind last year’s, he added.The MTRiP data for Aspen is based on a sampling of as many as 17 properties representing some 1,456 units – about 63 percent of the total lodging units available at the resort.janet@aspentimes.com