Lodging taxes fall in Glenwood | AspenTimes.com

Lodging taxes fall in Glenwood

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Despite a 5.4 percent drop in city accommodation tax revenues for the year to date, central reservations were up across several categories through the first half of 2010, according to the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association second-quarter report.

“We were working with a 30 percent [tourism fund] budget cut over last year, but are still working hard to maintain market share in a competitive industry,” Lindsey Lewis, interim tourism marketing director for the chamber, said in her report to Glenwood City Council on Thursday night.

The chamber is contracted with the city to oversee tourism promotion efforts, using revenues from the city’s 2.5 percent accommodations tax on rooms booked in local lodges.

“We did see a growth in revenues from central reservations over 2009,” Lewis said.

New inventory, including two new hotels that opened in Glenwood Meadows recently, as well as new tourist attractions, likely contributed to that increase, Lewis said.

Lodging, even with the drop in accommodations tax revenues, actually increased in terms of reservations booked, from a net revenue of $124,987 through the first six months of 2009 to $157,772 for the first half of this year, a 23.6 percent increase, she reported.

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Other categories, including adventure tours, ski lift tickets, ski/snowboard rentals and train rides, also saw increases. One area that’s down slightly so far this year from last is rafting, according to the report.

And, so far at least, the decrease in accommodations tax revenues is actually better than the projected 10 percent decrease that was budgeted for this year.

“April through October continues to be our focus in terms of marketing, especially June, July and August,” Lewis said. “The overnight destination visitor is our primary target.”

Still, the popular Ski, Swim, Stay winter-time package deal, including lift tickets for Sunlight Mountain Resort, pool passes and lodging, remains one of the biggest tourism dollar revenue generators, though bookings were slightly down this year from last for the first half of 2010.

The Stay and Swim package, which doesn’t include skiing, is so far doing better than last year.

A new package promotion this year, Buy 2 Nights, Get 1 Free, is doing better than any of the other package deals, accounting for more than $65,000, compared to between $25,000 and $35,000 for the Ski, Swim, Stay deals.

A special Glenwood Springs 125th Birthday promo has also brought in 1,895 coupon registrants, according to the quarterly report. The marketing campaign for the city’s anniversary year includes a mix of statewide cable television and radio advertising, plus web-based and newspaper advertisements.

Promotion of several new adventure and endurance races has also been a focus of the chamber’s marketing efforts this year, including the Oyster Adventure Race in May. That event attracted 55 teams of two to four people each, including 36 teams from out of town.

Other new sports events this year include the Glenwood Half Marathon and 10K on Aug. 22, in conjunction with the Outward Bound Colorado Relay, which also passes through Glenwood Springs that weekend, and the new Adventure Xstream event on Sept. 11.

jstroud@postindependent.com