DENVER-Both the average occupancy rates and the average room rates for hotels throughout Colorado picked up in the first four months of the year, shows the latest Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. As previously reported by GlobeSt.com, the metro-area hotel occupancy rate improved through April, but the average hotel room rate dropped slightly.

The statewide report, authored by hotel consultant Bob Benton of Robert S. Benton & Associates, shows the average hotel occupancy rate through April was 54.2%, compared with 52.4% through April 2003. The average occupancy rate for statewide hotels in April was 51.2%, compared with 48.2% in April 2003.

So far this year, the average occupancy rate has only declined one month, in February, from the same month in 2003. The average room rate, however, has increased each month this year, when compared to the same month in 2003.

Benton says that he expects the statewide hotel market to continue to improve this year. He says even rising gasoline prices, unless they hit at least $2.50 a gallon, shouldn’t deter many tourists. Concerns, however, remain that there will be an outbreak of wild fires and the West Nile virus, as in past year.

Year-to-date, the average room rate for all hotels statewide was $103.32, compared with $101.51, in the first four months of last year. The average room rate in April was $83.71, compared with $83.06 in April 2003.

The most expensive hotel rooms in the state, on average, were found in Aspen, at $166.65 per night. However, only 27.1% of the 21,779 room nights in Aspen were filled. The second most expensive rooms were found in Vail, at an average of $146.35. Vail’s average occupancy rate was much better than Aspen’s, at 49.9% Vail had by far the highest occupancy rate of any of the resorts, which had an average occupancy rate of 36.2% and an average room rate of $130.66. Vail and Aspen were the only two markets in the state to break the $100 per night room rate average.

Class A hotels in Colorado Springs, the second largest city in the state, had an average occupancy rate of 56.8%, with 54,797 room nights filled and an average room rate of $76.40. Level II hotels had an average occupancy rate of 44.1% in Colorado Springs, with an average room rate of $49.86.

Overall, the Colorado Springs market had a 51.7% occupancy rate, dramatic drop from the 59.7% occupancy rate in April 2003. The average room rate for all Colorado Springs hotels, however, was $67.39, compared with $62.98 in April 2003.

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