Aspen occupancy projections down |

Aspen occupancy projections down

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado ” The tourism picture for the next couple of months looks bleak for Aspen businesses, many of which are already struggling through a slow season.

The latest occupancy report shows advance reservations as of Dec. 31 would produce a 64 percent occupancy level in January and a 51 percent rate in February in Aspen.

The numbers are troubling because the pace of advance reservations was significantly higher at this point last season, the report showed. Reservations on the books as of Dec. 31, 2007, for January 2008 were 17 points ahead of this year’s pace.

Reservations on the books last year for February were 16 points ahead of this year’s level, at 67 percent.

The lodging industry has the ability to improve the numbers this season. For example, the actual occupancy level reached 87 percent last January and it soared to 85 percent in February. That shows that lodges, hotels and other tourist accommodations successfully added bookings after Dec. 31.

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That could be more challenging this year because of the poor condition of the national economy. Christmas week was slower than usual this year, with occupancy at only 67 percent in Aspen, compared to 87 percent the prior year. Business was brisker during New Year’s week, Dec. 28 to Jan. 3, but many businesses were affected by the downtown Aspen evacuation on New Year’s Eve for Jim Blanning’s bomb threat.

The current occupancy outlook in Snowmass Village is equally tough. The advance reservations on the books as of Dec. 31 will produce an occupancy rate of 58 percent in January and 57 percent in February, the report showed.

The advance reservations at the same point the prior year were 72 percent for January and 64 percent for February, so there is plenty of ground to make up, particularly this month.

The study is conducted for the town of Snowmass Village marketing department, Aspen Chamber Resort Association, Aspen Skiing Co. and the local lodging industry. An outside firm called MTRIP is hired to produce the reports.

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