Aspen/Snowmass lodging boosts business by lowering rates |

Aspen/Snowmass lodging boosts business by lowering rates

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Tourist accommodations in Aspen and Snowmass Village boosted their overall occupancy rates this summer, but additional business came at a price – average daily rates sagged in both resorts, according to a report that examines business from May through October.

Occupancy in Aspen was 49.4 percent over that six-month period, compared to 45.7 percent for the same period last year, according to the Mountain Travel Research Program, or MTRiP. That is an increase of 8.1 percent.

Snowmass Village accommodations had an occupancy rate of 27 percent this summer compared to 21.8 percent over the same period last year. That is an increase of 24.1 percent, MTRiP’s research showed.

In both towns, many lodges, hotels and condominium complexes had to lower their rates to lure business. The average daily rate in Aspen dropped $6 from summer 2010, at $241 compared to $247 last summer.

In Snowmass Village, the average daily rate fell to $107 this summer from $109 last summer.

Property owners and managers are reluctant to lower their rates because it creates expectations for the future among their clientele, and it takes a considerable time to build the rates back up.

MTRiP tracks trends in the lodging industry in several western U.S. ski resorts. In Aspen, its data is based on a sample of up to 17 properties representing 1,510 units or about 65 percent of those available in town.

Looking ahead to the winter, skiers “remain in the market” despite a volatile mix of good and bad economic news lately, the research group noted. The amount of business booked in October for arrivals of tourists from October through March in Aspen was up 30 percent from the activity level one year ago, the report said. Bookings made in October for arrival in Snowmass Village from October through March were up 22 percent.

But MTRiP’s executives warned that economic conditions are too uncertain to forecast a continued recovery of business. “The best minds are failing to accurately predict what’s next for the economy,” the report said.