Report: Hotel bookings sag in Aspen |

Report: Hotel bookings sag in Aspen

Lucile Roehl checks in St. Regis guest Kim DeAngelo in December 2016.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

As busy as downtown Aspen has appeared in July and August, commercial lodging occupancy is pacing nearly one-third behind the same two months in 2019, according to a report issued this week.

The central reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass, in an email to the local business community Wednesday, noted the two months exhibited signs of a rebound but still showed double-digit drops for the accommodations business.

In July, Aspen had a 58.7% occupancy rate, down 27.5% from July 2019. Snowmass was 52.1% full in July, down 29.1% from July 2019, the report said.

“Loss of group business and events are the main drivers of occupancy loss,” SAS said.

August, while pacing 31.8% behind in reservations through July 31, had seen some last-minute booking trends. But the Grizzly Creek Fire, which started Aug. 10, scuttled vacation plans for many because of the closure of Interstate 70 through the Glenwood Canyon and the temporary closure of Highway 82 over Independence Pass on Aug. 12.

“Once the fire closed I-70 and subsequently Independence Pass, cancellations stalled pace,” the SAS report said. “Compromised air quality and additional fires around the state, coupled with the extended closure of I-70, will continue to slow booking pace for this month. Business impacts aside, we hope for the continued safety of all the fire fighters and everyone suffering within our community.”

The numbers don’t include rentals of owner-occupied housing or private units, “which by all accounts is quite high this summer,” the report said.

For May through October, as of July 31, lodging stands at 24% occupancy, down 47.3% from the same period last year, SAS said.

Another report issued this week placed Aspen commercial occupancy at 51.8% in July, lower than SAS’s count. That was above Vail’s 35.8% level and below the 55.5% posted by Telluride, the highest occupancy rate among Colorado resort towns in July.

The Rocky Mountain Lodging Report also said Aspen lodges charged the state’s highest daily rate in July: $550. Colorado’s second-most expensive town to visit was Telluride, where the average rate was $396 last month.

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