USA Pro Challenge (UPC) racers and event organizers will fill 2,625 hotel rooms in Snowmass over five days to kick off the cycling race this summer.
Organizers requested that all of the people involved with the race be housed together in Snowmass, because they wanted to create a “campus-like atmosphere” at the start of the event, according to Stay Aspen Snowmass president Bill Tomcich, who helped prepare the bid for the race.
In December, Aspen and Snowmass won a bid to host the first two stages of the seven-day event, which will begin on Monday, Aug. 19. The bid includes a circuit race held on local roads between Aspen and Snowmass on the first day of the race and a stage race from Aspen to Breckenridge the following day.
The local organizing committee will pay $72,325 for 1,315 rooms on the two nights — Sunday and Monday — surrounding the race’s start. That breaks down to $55 per room and those funds are intended to reimburse hotels for housekeeping fees, Tomcich said, adding that the number is up $5 from last year. The hotels are essentially donating the rooms, he said.
Meanwhile, the rest of the rooms on the three days prior to the race’s start will be paid for by the bike race. The UPC will be charged up to $110 per night totaling up to $144,100. The price per room varies depending on the hotel, Tomcich said.
In 2011 and 2012, the city of Aspen’s portion of the race required a public subsidy of $125,000 and $166,000, respectively, for expenses that were not covered by sponsorships and VIP ticket sales. Last year the Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA) also gave an additional $50,000 marketing subsidy to the event. The local lodging community also contributed hundreds of free or reduced-price rooms.
Stay Aspen Snowmass will retain a 10 percent commission for processing all the contracts and payments this year, Tomcich said. It typically collects 20 percent in commission, but is opting for the lower charge because the company considers those involved with the race a group, he said.
Stay Aspen Snowmass has not divvied up the rooms among hotels yet, but the plan is to spread them out broadly across the entire village, Tomcich said. Overall, there are about 2,800 beds in Snowmass so there will still be space for additional tourists visiting the area, he said.
“We can easily be able to get everybody accommodated,” Tomcich said.
Tomcich predicts that Aspen will be about 80 percent full during the weekend leading up to the race, based on occupancy reports from the same weekend in 2012. That’s because the race’s start will fall just after the last weekend of the Aspen Music Festival, he said. This helped organizers make the decision to house race personnel in Snowmass.
This year, the local organizing committee hopes to improve on how the bike race can benefit local businesses, Nancy Lesley, director of special events for the city of Aspen, told the ACRA board meeting on Tuesday.
“We’d like to work with the business community to make it work for you,” she said. “What do we do to help drive business to your stores? ... Because this needs to be a success for all of us.”