Hotel industry ‘booming’ in Colorado Springs

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COLORADO SPRINGS — After a huge drop last year, local hotel occupancy skyrocketed in June reaching the third highest in the nation.

In a report from the Rocky Mountain Lodging Association, room occupancy rates in 2020 declined to a little over 40% for the entire year and now occupancy rates are at 85% – a huge jump up.

The occupancy rate in Colorado Springs ranked behind two cities in Florida and Tennessee but was far ahead of the nationwide average of 66.1%.

The increase in tourism can be felt across Colorado Springs from local stores to attractions to hotels. Antlers Hotel manager, Arron Duff said they have seen a huge increase at their hotel properties.

“We’re about 150% growth from last year during COVID times so super busy but we welcome it,” Duff said.

He said the summer months have brought in a huge increase of travelers wanting to stay longer to experience the city and its surroundings.

“Our occupancies are 100% not only Thursday, Friday, and Saturday like it used to be but we are seeing stay through Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday which is really good,” Duff said.

Visit Colorado Springs CEO, Doug Price has been watching the growth in tourism closely and said with the return in business travelers this year it’s made a huge difference.

“The vacationers that came last summer, they’re back but they are also in hotels with people that are here on business which is getting a little more back to normal,” Price said.

Price said the hotel and travel industry was hit harder than any other industry from a global standpoint, not just in Colorado Springs.

With the increase in tourism, hotel prices are going up as well. Jumping 45% from 2020 to an average price of $155 a night this year.

“They’re able to charge a little bit more back to 20-19 levels, they are able to hire more people and provide even better levels of service,” Price said.

One setback the industry is still trying to overcome is the lack of workers.

“We’re lacking in all facets of the hotel. Front desk, housekeeping, food, and beverage…  We are facing 100% occupancy with about 40% of staff,” Duff said.

Price said the lack of workers is being felt across the city not just for hotels.

“You hear them say I would hire 100 more people if we could and we’re hearing that from attractions as well,” Price said.

But for the staff back at work, they say they are happy to be back.

“I’ve been in hospitality for 20 plus years, so to survive coming out of COVID it’s actually a relief,” Duff said.

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