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DENVER-September is often the seasonally best month for hotels in the Denver area. During the week, hotels typically boast occupancies running from 90% to 100%, with literally ”no room in the inn” often the case.

The hospitality industry in Denver — as elsewhere in the country – crashed the week after Sept. 11. Initially, the hotel business did well because travelers were stuck at Denver International Airport, says Patrick Hallman, vice president of Hospitality Real Estate Counselors Inc., a Denver company that surveyed hotels across the board in the metro area.

But as soon as people left — either by renting cars or catching later flights, the average occupancy rate fell to the 40% to 50% range, his survey found.

”It’s unprecedented,” Hallman says.

Probably no hotel felt the brunt more than the 1,225-room Adam’s Mark Hotel, the metro area’s largest. It saw its occupancy rate fall to about 21% overall, with days when it was in the 12% to 14% range.

”It’s been devastating,” says Andre van Hall, the hotel’s general manager. ”I’ve lost 5,000 confirmed reservations.”

He put the loss at $1.4 million, which rises to more than $2 million when he includes what he forecasted.

His hotel was hit so hard because it caters almost exclusively to the group business, while other hotels draw groups and individual travelers.

”If one group cancels, you can lose 500 people,” Hallman notes.

Hallman also tells GlobeSt.com that Adam’s Mark, a St. Louis-based chain, doesn’t have the international reputation as a Marriott, Westin, Hyatt, or some other bigger chain, so travelers aren’t as apt to ask for it if they’re not familiar with the hotels in a city.

Van Hall is hoping that groups will rebook during October, as well as November through December, typical slow months.

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