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DENVER-Statewide hotel occupancy rates in July rose to an average of 75.4%, the highest so far this year, according to the latest Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. In July 2004, the average occupancy rate was 73.5%.

So far this year, every month has surpassed the same month in 2004, except in March, when occupancy rates were virtually flat. The average room rates have been even stronger. The average daily room rate in July is $106.33, compared with $96.96, marking an almost 10% jump.

Year-to-date, the overall occupancy rate is 61.2%, compared with 58.9% through July 2004. The average room rate was $106.48 in the first seven months of the year, 8.8% higher than the $97.82 during the same time period in 2004.

The report shows that the highest average room rates by far are found in Aspen, which came in at $308.86. The average occupancy rate in Aspen was 82.3%. Vail, by contrast, posted an average room rate of $160.67, and an average occupancy rate of 60.3%. Other resorts, including Keystone, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Telluride and Crested Butte, saw an average occupancy rate of 62.9% and an average room rate of $183.90.

Colorado Springs, the second largest city in the state after Denver, had an overall average room rate of $88.62 and an average occupancy rate of 82.8% in July. Overall, 1.176 million of the 1.559 million available room nights in Colorado were occupied in July.

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