That’s the assessment of Davis County Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Barbara Riddle, referring to last year’s hotel stay statistics.
She used data recently released in the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report for 2009, where hotel occupancy averaged 61.5 percent.
While down 6.9 percent from 2008, it was still above the state average of 75 percent, and an even bigger drop of 6.7 percent compared to the year previous.
For 2009, July showed the best occupancy figures, at 77 percent, compared to 80.5 the previous July. June was next highest, at 75.8 percent, which actually was up by nearly 1 percent over 2008.
August, meanwhile, at 74.5 percent last year, was down by nearly 13 percent from 2008.
Some “staying power” to hotel stays in Davis County originates with such attractions as Antelope Island, which saw an increase in visitors, particularly international. In addition, Hill AFB, with its constant stream of visitors for meetings, provides a steady flow of business.
“That’s where location, location, location has really paid off,” Riddle said.
Other areas of the state saw a steeper decline than Davis County. Utah County, for example, dropped by 7.2 percent, and Salt Lake City 7.4 percent. Ogden, however, dipped by only 2 percent.
“Statewide, December was at only about 44 percent,” said Michael Johnson, executive director of the Utah Hotel & Lodging Association, based in Kaysville.
“One of the big factors for a low December was we didn’t have snow. It was a very dry December, so we didn’t have a lot of our ski-related travel,” he said.
Davis County reflected that total, at 40.8 percent. While there are no ski resorts within the county, the Davis CVB strongly advertises the fact 10 resorts are very close, even sometimes faster to reach from Layton, say, than downtown Ogden.
Riddle believes interest in travel to the state could be on the increase, again.
“Both the State Office of Tourism and several local CVBs have experienced a higher volume of inquiries this year than last year,” she said, “with some at many times the level of last year.
“I think there is some optimism we’ll see a higher yield (of hotel stays) in February and March, but also into the summer. We’ll see a better year (for 2010) than last year,” Riddle said.
On top of that, a new Hilton hotel has been announced to be built in Layton. “I believe we will go out to bid in about two weeks,” said Hilton Garden Inn General Manager Scott Lunt. Western States Lodging owns that property, and will own and operate the new 110-bed facility.
“Plans are pretty much finalized. I believe we are due to break ground the end of March, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony,” he added.
“Our market has been strong,” Riddle said.