Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crowley: Hotel industry troubled

Colorado Springs needs a way to attract more visitors if the hotel industry’s flagging fortunes are to be reversed, local economist Fred Crowley said today.

What that something is — new attractions, a convention center, winter festivals — Crowley didn’t say.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” said Crowley, senior economist for the Southern Colorado Economic Forum. But he suggested a market study be done in search of that answer. “What is being done elsewhere?” he said. "What can we do here to take advantage of the success of others?”

Crowley, at a meeting of the southern Colorado chapter of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, pointed to some troubling trends in the local hotel industry. Colorado Springs’ share of the state’s hotel revenue has fallen. Occupancy rates are down. With demand soft, increases in room rates aren’t keeping up with inflation.

Crowley also discussed the national economic picture. And as he did at a recent meeting of the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, he brought up the “R” word. “I think we are a whisker away from a recession,” he warned.

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