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Bozeman Hotels Saw Great Summer

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BOZEMAN -

Labor Day typically means another summer vacation has gone by. A new report said many people spent their summer vacations in Montana.

In fact, so many people came to Montana, it was nearly impossible to get a hotel room in Bozeman this summer.

"This has been possibly the best summer Bozeman has ever had," said Andrew Ash, Comfort Inn General Manager.

A Smith Travel Research report said Montana Hotel occupancy peaked at 82 percent in July, above the national average.

"Yes. We've been sold out at a hundred percent capacity," said Daryl Schliem, Bozeman Chamber of Commerce CEO.  "And that gets to be very hard because we get people that call that say ‘Where do we stay?'"

Ash noticed the same thing, even with the addition of two new hotels in Bozeman.

He said the Comfort Inn was full, even with prices going up 10 percent.

"2007-2008 was kind of the peak of the market and this year it is back to those levels for the first time in a long time," said Ash.

Ash said the improved economy helped a lot.

"It seems like the consumer is a lot more confident this year," said Ash.

Schliem said more people are going through Bozeman and the rest of the Gallatin Valley to get to Yellowstone National Park.

"They will be in Yellowstone National Park a day, maybe in Big Sky a day," said Schliem. "But at least capture one or two of those days and make sure Bozeman is on their picture."

Statewide, revenue from hotel rooms were up four percent this summer compared to 2012.

A portion of the "bed taxes" go towards many state funds, including state parks, universities, historical societies, heritage commissions and the arts.

Tourism in Montana brought in more than $3.5 million last year and supports more than 40,000 jobs statewide.

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