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DENVER-John Montgomery, president of Denver-based Horwath Horizon Hospitality Advisors/Montgomery & Associates, says hotel occupancies for September fell to the 50% to 55% range. Since 1992, September occupancies have been firmly entrenched in the 70%-plus range.

The last time occupancy rate were in the 50s was in 1989, when it stood at 56.5%.

”Some of the drop can be attributed to a slowing economy prior to Sept. 11, but I would say 90% of it is due to the terrorist attacks,” Montgomery tells GlobeSt.com. He plans to release a more precise and detailed report later this year.

He anticipates that the year-to-date figures for the first nine months will be down roughly 10% or so because of the September fallout.

While occupancies dropped by 25% to 30%, he says local hotels report they’re starting to see a return of individual corporate travelers.

However, large hotels that cater to groups and associations, are the hardest hit — both in Denver and across the country, he says.

”I was talking to people in northern California today, and they told me quite a few of the hotels have seen their occupancies drop to 30%,” Montgomery tells GlobeSt.com. ”While a few individual hotels may have been hit that hard, we’re not seeing those kind of low occupancies, except maybe in a few cases.”

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