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DENVER-The overall hotel occupancy rate in the metro area rose to 63.7% in May, compared with 60.5% in May 2004, according to the latest Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. The report, by Robert S. Benton & Associates, also shows that the average room rate rose to $90.95, 8.6% higher than the average room rate of $83.71 in May 2004.

Indeed, the average room rate in May was the highest it has been all year. In the first five months of the year, the average room rate has bested the same month in 2004. The overall occupancy rate for May also was the highest so far this year, and the occupancy rate has only stumbled once so far this year. In March, it stood at 58.8%, slightly lower than the 60% in March 2004.

The overall occupancy rate so far this year is 59.6%, compared with 57.2% through the first five months of 2004. And the average room rate is $87.87 year-to-date, 7.9% higher than the $81.40 than during the same time period in 2004.

In individual submarkets, downtown had the highest average room rate at $125.72 per night, and an average occupancy rate of 68.1%. Boulder was No. 2, with an average room rate of $117.97. Downtown and Boulder were the only two markets to break the $100 mark. The US 36 corridor between Boulder and Denver, however, had the highest overall occupancy rate at 70.8%, and its average room rate approached $10, at $97.22.

The top hotels along the Southeast Suburban submarket showed an average room rate of $92.81 and an occupancy rate of 62.4%. The second-tier hotels along that market had an almost identical occupancy rate at 62.1%, but a far lower average room rate at $58.89. The total south and southeast market, the biggest single market with a total of 269,105 available rooms, showed an occupancy rate of 61% and an average room rate of $81.08. The entire market has 861,366 available room rates. Of those, 549,078 were occupied during May.

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