Crowds expected for long weekend | SteamboatToday.com
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Crowds expected for long weekend

Scott Stanford

— Steamboat Springs hotels and lodging properties were at 59 percent of capacity for the Labor Day weekend at mid-week, and that percentage is expected to climb during the next couple of days, according to estimates from the Lodging Barometer provided by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

On Wednesday, the barometer projected 8,900 overnight guests on Saturday. That’s well ahead of the 3,900 guests projected at the same time a year ago.

Labor Day fell on the last weekend of August last year compared to the first weekend of September this year, so direct date comparisons are somewhat skewed. Still, the occupancy rate of 59 percent projected on Wednesday is well ahead of the occupancy rate of 43 percent projected on the Wednesday before Labor Day in 2003.

The lodging barometer projects overnight guests at hotel and lodging properties only and does not reflect day visitors or those visitors staying with friends or relatives.

The numbers indicate that Steamboat is going to end a strong summer on a high note.

“I think this is a continuation of a trend that we have seen throughout the summer,” said Riley Polumbus, director of public relations for the chamber. “We had a number of groups in June that helped, and our Triple Crown numbers were up. But we also have been marketing heavily in the Denver metro area.”

That Front Range marketing should pay off this weekend as visitors making close-in bookings are expected to drive occupancy even higher. Polumbus said the chamber has been recruiting road trippers with the theme that Steamboat is just “three hours, three turns and three CDs” from the Front Range.

“What we have seen between mid-week and the weekend is that occupancy continues to build,” Polumbus said. “Last year, a lot of people made last-minute reservations that really helped us. We expect that we will continue to see those bookings this year, as well.”

A recent AAA survey showed Steamboat as the No. 4 destination in Colorado this weekend behind Glenwood Springs, Estes Park and Durango.

There are a number of activities for visitors this weekend, including professional bull riding, free concerts featuring Little Feat and Delbert McClinton, a vintage car and aircraft show at Steamboat Springs Airport, an arts show at Mount Werner and activities in Oak Creek and Yampa.

Polumbus said lodging will start to decline after this weekend, but that the drop doesn’t have to be dramatic. Occupancy for Saturday is projected to be 30 percent or 4,600 overnight guests. That’s already even with the same weekend in 2003.

“Most people do expect to see a drop after Labor Day, and sure, things tend to wind down a bit,” Polumbus said. “But more and more people are taking shorter vacations more frequently, so there is still room for strong weekends.”

–To reach Scott Stanford, call 871-4221

or e-mail sstanford@steamboatpilot.com


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