Glenwood looks to lure X Games crowd
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association is hoping to capitalize on Aspen’s Winter X Games crowds this year to boost the town’s economy by luring people to stay farther downvalley.
According to Kate Collins, vice president of tourism marketing for the chamber, Glenwood has been well visited during the annual extreme winter sports event in past years. So the idea to actively promote Glenwood’s lodging market this year seemed to be an easy decision.
“We definitely have a bed base that is centrally located for regional interests and activities,” Collins said.
The chamber began promoting the Winter X Games Package in early January on the chamber’s website, e-newsletter, and through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The Hotel Colorado has been encouraging visitors to book rooms for the event on Facebook, as well.
According to Collins, the promotion has been beneficial to Glenwood Springs, with advanced bookings through Central Reservations at 78 percent of the total weekend bookings for Jan. 23-24, as of Monday. Bookings typically don’t reach that level until midweek, Collins said.
“That is a good sign,” Collins said. “We typically don’t start to see a lot of activity until Wednesday or Thursday, because that is when people are coming up.”
X Games 13 in 2009 reported attendance at slightly more than 68,000. It was the lowest attendance recorded in five years. But, with more than 65,000 spectators since 2004, Glenwood has, and hopes to continue, reaping the benefits of the popular event.
The midweek start – X Games 14 begins Thursday – allowed hotels more leverage in attracting people to stay in Glenwood with another new promotion in which local hotels offer a free night for people staying two nights or more, according to Collins.
“Midweek is something we can work with to leverage sales,” Collins said. “For someone looking to stay, that third night may be the thing that closes the deal.”
The message is simple: Basically the chamber promotes Glenwood’s more affordable hotel room rates as a big reason to stay downvalley. However, the chamber promotes other activities such as a visit to the Glenwood Hot Springs to lure visitors.
According to data from the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report from the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, Glenwood’s average daily room rates for December 2009 were $98, compared to Aspen’s average daily room rate of more than $500 for the same month.
Average room rates for 2009 in Glenwood were reported at $105, while Aspen’s average daily room rate for the year was reported at $335, according to the report. The report’s information for Glenwood Springs is based on 843 rooms out of a total of 1,461.
However, the high prices in Aspen have not discouraged fans of the X Games to stay at Aspen and Snowmass, according to Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass.
“This upcoming weekend in Aspen is shaping up to be the busiest weekend we have seen around here in nearly two years,” Tomcich said.
As of Jan. 15, overall booked occupancies in Aspen were more than 90 percent, Tomcich reported, while overall occupancies in Snowmass were reported at over 80 percent as of Monday.
“We have already exceeded the actual occupancies achieved for X Games weekend last year for both Aspen and Snowmass,” Tomcich said.
Glenwood Springs saw a 6 percent decline in occupancy in December 2009, compared to the same month in 2008, while January 2009 posted a 12 percent decline. The chamber is hoping the X Games will help raise January occupancy rates this year.
Due to the promotion’s success, Collins said that it will likely continue as an annual promotion, as long as the X Games are in Aspen.
“No question,” she said. “We have the available inventory in the winter and need to do what we can to remain competitive.”
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Bluebird skies, spring-like temperatures and a few inches of snow from Monday night’s storm helped Snowmass skiers and snowboarders cruise into the season Wednesday for opening day.