EAGLE COUNTY — If you’re coming to the Vail Valley during the Fourth of July weekend, then there are still a few hotel rooms and condos available. But it could be tough to find a room with a view of Thursday’s fireworks in Avon.
Not quite a week from the holiday, rooms throughout the valley are filling quickly. At The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, general manager Jeff Burrell said that hotel is sold out July 3 through July 6. That early date, of course, coincides with Avon’s annual Salute to the USA celebration, and The Westin is a prime spot for those either going to Nottingham Park or who want to stay at the hotel.
In a reversal from winter booking patterns, Burrell said north-facing rooms at the hotel booked first and fairly early. The hotel in years past has charged a premium for those rooms, but not this year, Burrell said.
Popular Time of Year
Still, the Fourth of July is a popular time. While lodges don’t charge ski-season premiums for rooms, Lance Thompson, general manager of The Sebastian hotel in Vail, said that property is able to command slightly higher rates for the holiday weekend.
At the Four Seasons Resort Vail, sales and marketing director Scott Gubrud said that hotel, too, is full, or nearly so, for the holiday weekend.
The Vail Valley Partnership runs a booking service that includes much of the valley’s lodging inventory. Partnership president Chris Romer said Fourth of July reservations are strong a week before the holiday.
“There are always rooms available, but it’ll be pretty tight,” Romer said. “We’re typically over 90 percent for this weekend, so if you wanted the pick of (lodging options) you probably should have booked already.”
While the Fourth of July is the busiest summer weekend in the Vail Valley, reservations for the rest of the season are strong, too. The people at hotels contacted for this story all said reservations for the rest of the summer are solid, for both group business and leisure travelers.
“Groups are generally good for the Monday through Wednesday period and transient guests fill up the rest,” Gubrud said. “Right now, July and August are extremely strong.”
That strength is being reflected around the Rocky Mountain region. Destimetrics is a Denver-area-based company that provides consulting services to the lodging industry. A recent report from the company detailed reservations made through the end of May of this year.
While summer travelers tend to reserve rooms nearer to their arrival time, early reservations across the Rocky Mountain showed increases in both occupancy and revenue.
The Destimetrics report defines the summer season as May through October. Compared to 2013, occupancy in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah is up 6.8 percent.
Holiday Fuel Costs
If that pace holds, then the region will set records for the summer. On the other hand, rising fuel costs could have a negative affect on travel. A recent report from GasBuddy.com, which tracks nationwide gas prices, states that drivers this year will see the most expensive Fourth of July gas prices since 2008.
In Colorado, the average price for a gallon of regular gas is $3.62, two cents less than one year ago. The June 27 fuel price report from AAA showed the average price in Vail at $3.90 per gallon. That’s still less than the price in 2013.
Even with fuel prices, people are driving. The Colorado Department of Transportation’s traffic numbers at the Eisenhower Johnson Tunnels for May showed a slight increase over 2013.
All of that means, is that drivers might want to stay another night next weekend or at least leave late in the day.
“Groups are generally good for the Monday through Wednesday period and transient guests fill up the rest. Right now, July and August are extremely strong.”
Sales, marketing director of the Four Seasons Resort Vail