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DENVER-June wasn’t a terrible month for Denver-area hotels, but on the other hand, the stats couldn’t even best last June’s performance when forest fires ravaged the state.

Although there are signs that tourism is starting to pick up locally, the Denver-area hotel market remained flat in June, according to the latest Rocky Mountain Lodging Report.

The report shows that in June, the occupancy level was 65.8%, slightly lower than the 69.3% in June 2002, according to the report authored by hotel consultant Robert Benton of Robert S. Benton & Associates. The average room rate was $92.75, compared with $92.55 in June 2002.

The report shows that downtown Denver fared the best of the submarkets, with an average occupancy rate of 80.8%. The city benefited from a Lion’s Convention that brought in 12,000 visitors. The average daily room rate downtown also was by far the highest at $130.57.

While convention business is good, the independent business traveler has not returned to the market, Benton notes.

The small, north Denver market had the lowest occupancy rate at 59.2%. The other markets ranged from the high 60s to the mid 70s, according to the report.

Year-to-date, the average hotel occupancy rate is 57.9% and the average room rate is $84.11, compared with 60.1% and $84.25 in the first half of 2002.

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