Allegiant claims success in new Colorado Springs routes

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Allegiant’s new routes in Colorado Springs have attracted full passenger loads since their debut on Sept. 15.

The airline added two nonstop routes last month to Long Beach Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Allegiant, which began service from Colorado Springs to Las Vegas in 2002, is doing more than growing. It’s also rebranding. The airline dropped prices, dropped “Air” from its name, and

adopted a new tag line, “Travel is our Deal,” to promote air and hotel packages.

Last week, Allegiant also added service from Pueblo, Colo., to Las Vegas, and from Fort Collins, Colo., to Phoenix-Mesa.

The new routes from the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport have been a success, said Sabrina LoPiccolo, spokeswoman for Allegiant.

“Systemwide, we strive for 90-percent load factor, and Colorado Springs has been consistent with that. We’re very happy with the support and outcome for these new flights,” LoPiccolo said.

The airline focuses its marketing and advertising on leisure travelers, so its flights are generally to vacation destinations.

Locally, the airline offers three routes. By way of comparison, Fort Collins has two Allegiant routes; Wichita, Kan., Missoula and Billings, Mont., and Medford, Ore. have three; while Eugene, Ore., and Des Moines, Iowa have four.

Whether further expansion occurs remains to be seen. “Colorado Springs already gets the majority of popular service that we have on the West Coast,” LoPiccolo said.

2010 Lodging Survey

The American Hotel & Lodging Association and Smith Travel Research polled 9,000 U.S. hotel properties for its biennial survey, finding, among other factoids, that the use of new technologies is increasing in the industry.

According to the poll, 75 percent of those in the business use social networking sites for marketing, and wireless Internet access at properties surveyed increased from 91 to 94 percent.

Lodging is becoming greener, too, as the number of properties using energy-efficient lighting increased 20 percent in two years, from 68 to 88 percent, while 44 percent said they have green certification or are working toward it.

Also, hotels have increased their health and wellness facilities. This year, 83 percent have on-site fitness facilities, up from 63 percent in 2004, and 17 percent of hotels have exercise equipment in their rooms, a sharp increase from 6 percent in 2008.

Sullivan’s retirement party

Twenty years ago, the Colorado Springs tourism and hospitality industry gained a strong advocate when Terry Sullivan became CEO of the Convention & Visitors Bureau. Now, as everyone in the industry knows, he’s ready to spend much more time in the mountains, hiking and fishing.

The bureau will be sending him off in style with an invitation-only shindig at the Cheyenne Mountain Conference Resort in November.

Meanwhile, the search for Sullivan’s replacement remains on track, said Susan Edmondson, executive director of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation and chairwoman of the CVB board.

The target date to find a replacement was late October or early November, and Edmondson said that’s still likely.

The search team received about 50 applications, locally and from all over the country. Because the search was focused within the industry, most of the applicants had hospitality experience.

Specialty Search International interviewed about 20 of those applicants; the local search team narrowed that field to 11 semifinalists.

Cheyenne Cañon Inn up for auction

The Cheyenne Cañon Inn will be auction off after its owners could not make their mortgage payments.

The inn — a popular spot for weddings and romantic getaways — will be offered as part of an online auction by New York-based Carlton Exchange. The property, located near the entrance to North Cheyenne Park on the south end of Colorado Springs, is valued at about $3 million.

Claudia Tutt and Kevin Cook have co-owned the historic bed and breakfast since 2007.

Built in 1921, the three-story, 8,000-plus-square-foot mission-style boutique hotel was renovated in 1993.

Prospective bidders may submit a form online at www.carltonexchange.com.

Rebecca Tonn can be reached at rebecca.tonn@csbj.com or 719-329-5229. Friend her on Facebook.