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DENVER–Statewide, the average hotel occupancy rate was 61.6% in September, compared with 58% in September 2003, according to the latest Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. The report, as previously reported in GlobeSt.com, shows that Denver hotels showed a similar trend in September.

Hotel occupancies were down from 69.5% in August, but that was expected for seasonal reasons. So far this year, occupancy rates have bested the same month of 2003 seven times and have been down only twice. In the first nine months of the year, the average occupancy rate is 60.4%, compared with 58.8% through September 2003.

Across Colorado, the average daily room rate through September is $96.87, compared with $96.11 through September 2003. In September, the average room rate was $90.65, compared with $89.43 in September 2003. As with the vacancies, room rates were down from August for seasonal reasons. In August, the average room rate was $96.82. So far this year, only two months – May and June -– have shown a decrease from the same month in 2003.

By far the highest room rates in September were found in the glitzy town of Aspen. Aspen hotels enjoyed an average room rate of $215.49, while achieving an average occupancy rate of 54.8%. By contrast, Vail hotels had an average room rate of $18.76 and an average occupancy rate of 47%. The report by Robert S. Benton & Associate shows that next on the list is the category “other resorts,” which would include Steamboat Springs, Telluride, Crested Butte, Breckenridge, Keystone and Copper Mountain. Those hotels had an average room rate of $164.57 and an occupancy rate of 34.1%. The resort areas have a total of 281,123 room nights spread throughout the state, making it the second largest market after the Denver area, with 840,223 room nights available.

The class-A or “Level I” hotels in Colorado Springs, the second largest city in the state after Denver, had an average occupancy rate of 74.4% in September and an average room rate of $87.15. The class-B or “Level II” hotels had an average occupancy rate of 60.8% and an average room rate of $59.36. There are a total of 164,878 room nights in Colorado Springs.

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