Lodging numbers nearly double those of last year

— Nearly twice as many overnight guests are in Steamboat Springs this weekend than were in the city for Memorial Day weekend last year, according to the lodging barometer provided by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

An estimated 4,385 of the 18,917 beds available in the city 29 percent are reserved tonight. That's up some 87 percent over the same Saturday last year, when 2,343 of 17,603 16 percent of the available beds were occupied.

The Memorial Day weekend forecast is the first lodging barometer of the summer provided by the chamber.

Sandy Evans-Hall, executive vice president of the chamber, said the numbers are likely the result of good weather around the state.

"Memorial Day is pretty much a weather-related holiday," Evans-Hall said. "We don't see a lot of advance reservations, but if the weather forecast is good, then we generally get a lot of walk-up traffic and close-in bookings."

The lodging forecast does not take into account those who will be camping in the area this weekend, those who will visit Steamboat on day trips or those who are visiting friends and family this weekend.

Evans-Hall noted that Steamboat is one of the few areas in the state where outdoor campfires have not been banned, which should make it attractive to campers this weekend.

The forecast through the rest of the weekend is in line with 2001 numbers. The mid-week forecast is for 1,453 beds, a minimal number overall but still ahead of the 1,172 on the same Wednesday last year.

The forecast for June 1 is 6,900 beds for a 46-percent occupancy rate. That compares to 6,737 beds for a similar 46 percent on the same Saturday in 2001.

"As far as next weekend, we're right around the same amount (as last year), but we anticipate that number will increase through the week," Evans-Hall said.

Next weekend's bookings are largely driven by the Steamboat Marathon on June 2.

Evans-Hall said the trend toward last-minute reservations and walk-up bookings bodes well for the chamber's strategy of targeting families within driving distance of Steamboat.

"We feel the summer is going to be pretty strong for us given the American trend toward family vacations," Evans-Hall said. "The drive market has been and continues to be the focus of our marketing and we think that is really going to benefit us this year."

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