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DENVER-The average room rate for a hotel in the metro area rose to $96.78 in August, according to the latest Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. That marks the highest average room rate of any month so far this year, according to the report by Robert S. Benton & Associates. It also is the second highest percentage increase from the same month in 2004. In August, the average room rate rose by 12.1% from August 2004. It was only eclipsed by February on a percentage basis. In February, the average room rate rose 12.3% to $90.56 from $80.65.

In the first eight months of the year, the average room rate stood at $90.40, an increase of 8.74%. Every month this year has bested the same month in 2004, as far as the average room rate.

The occupancies were almost as good. The average occupancy rate rose to 77%, compared with 75.2% in August 2004. The occupancy rate is holding steady from July, when it also stood at 77%. So far this year, only the month of March failed to do better than the same month in 2004. In March, the average occupancy rate stood at 58.8%, down slightly from 60% in March 2004.

Downtown Denver boasts the highest average room rate at $141.39 in August. It also has one of the highest average occupancy rates at 80.7%. Only the hotels near the Denver International Airport had a higher occupancy rate at 81.6%. But the hotels near DIA are considerably less expensive at an average room rate of $90.10.

Boulder had the second highest room rate in August and was the only other submarket to crack $100. Its average room rate stood at $109.84, while its occupancy rate was at 79.8%. Boulder’s hotels tend to do well in late summer, when students start to return to school.

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