June, July and August 2016 mark record-breaking occupancies
The Aspen Times
ASPEN SUMMER OCCUPANCY RECORDS: BY THE NUMBERS
June: 65.1 percent
July: 83 percent
August: 74.8 percent
June 2012: 61.6 percent
July 2015: 81.5 percent
August 2013: 70.4 percent
The summer season marked record-breaking occupancy every month in Aspen, according to the results of August’s occupancy report from Stay Aspen Snowmass, which President Bill Tomcich released Wednesday afternoon.
Stay Aspen Snowmass has been collecting occupancy data for the past 10 years.
Aspen’s total occupancy of 74.8 percent for August surpassed the month’s previous record of 70.4 percent, which was set in 2013, Tomcich said in a statement.
Occupancy levels last month also signified a 7.9 percent increase over occupancy for August 2015.
The Denver-based research firm DestiMetrics, which tracks lodging metrics and market intelligence in mountain resorts, provides Stay Aspen Snowmass’ occupancy data.
Julia Theisen, vice president of sales and marketing for the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, identified the chamber’s recent initiative to attract visitors both midweek and during traditionally slower periods as one possible factor contributing to the surge in overall occupancy this summer.
“We’ve really worked on beefing up those efforts,” Theisen said, particularly with advertising and offering promotional deals for visitation both midweek and during any identified lulls.
A number of local businesses interviewed by The Aspen Times reported extremely busy summers, and some were quick to note the additional boost in business on weekdays.
“We were really busy this summer and busier than last year for sure on the weekdays,” said Aspen Bike Tours and Rentals bike mechanic Mark Noonan, who’s worked at the shop for about three years.
Kemo Sabe general manager Wendy Kunkle said, “It’s been the best summer we’ve ever had” in terms of business and sales at the Western apparel store.
“We couldn’t be happier; it’s just been amazing,” Kunkle said. “You just pinch yourself sometimes.”
As for record occupancy earlier this summer, the total occupancy for June in Aspen was 65.1 percent — a 12.8 percent increase over June 2015 and nearly 4 percent over the previous record set in June 2012.
July’s total occupancy at 83 percent was only slightly (1.5 percent) higher than the previous record from July 2015.
With occupancy levels for September currently pacing at 19.1 percent ahead of occupancy for September 2015, Tomcich anticipated that this month also will set a new record.
September sales among local businesses, however, prompted a wider range of feedback than sales during the summer.
SQN Sport manager Margie Lack said business at the women’s activewear store declined rapidly after Labor Day.
“All of a sudden, it was like, ‘Kaboom,’” Lack said.
“But the summer was really good,” she said. “It gets busy in this little store.”
Noonan reported a similar experience at Aspen Bike Tours and Rentals.
“It’s super-dead right now, which is a little surprising,” he said. “But then again, it’s always hard to judge with the offseason.”
The popular local eatery The Big Wrap, which is known for sporting out-the-door lines around the lunch hour throughout the summer, was also busier this year than most, owner Babs Menendez said.
But Menendez said she thinks the extra boost in business also had to do with several affordable lunch spots having closed, such as Boogie’s Diner, Johnny McGuire’s and, more recently, McDonald’s and Little Annie’s.
As far as business this month, Menendez said September has been “so far even with others.”
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