Antler’s Paty: On the front lines of Springs’ hospitality

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Allen Paty has been GM of the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs since 2008. He serves on the boards of the Downtown Partnership, the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, the Pikes Peak Lodging Association, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. He was on the CVB search team that hired Doug Price, the incoming CEO.

What should the city do to market itself for the 2011 Quizno’s Pro Challenge cycling race?

Well, I think we have come out of the gate really strong; we’re going to be the first leg of that race right out of Garden of the Gods starting in 2011. And then, as you know, the race weaves itself throughout the state of Colorado. So to answer your question, it will need to be a collaborative marketing effort between the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Denver marketing arm in that city, and probably the Colorado tourism office and a combination of other cities throughout the state. I think it’s a marvelous opportunity for our city and for our state. I think it’s going to go very well for us in our city.

How do you feel about the city building a convention center?

That is a tough question. The overall (hotel) occupancy in the city of Colorado Springs is currently right around 60 percent. And we need more occupancy capacity in the city. So I’m not sure that a convention center at this time in necessarily the correct approach for us to be taking.

If you could wave a magic wand and change something about Colorado Springs, what would it be?

It would be higher occupancies in our industry from November until May. Many of the general managers and I in this city brainstormed that with our CVB, and our own individual sales teams. The opportunity in Colorado Springs is to create more demand in the winter season. So that would be my magic wand. A lot of the hotels and the CVB market to sports, religious and educational groups in the wintertime, which tend to be a little more price-conscious, and we are seeing some success in the city. And, candidly, we need to create more success. Here at the Antlers, being a downtown hotel, of course, we have a very nice corporate base here in the city. But back to the magic wand, I’d like to see us and the city do better.

There’s a lot of opposition from hoteliers to an increase in the LART (Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax) tax. What’s your position?

My position is in opposition. I do not believe the timing is right currently, and I’m not necessarily in favor of our industry being a sole target for an increase in taxes. Quite frankly, the business climate right now is not at all ripe for an increase in taxes. I think our clients who look at Colorado Springs and other destinations are very sensitive to that kind of issue.

When you vacation, what’s your favorite hotel outside of Colorado Springs?

My favorite hotel outside of Colorado Springs is the Ponte Vedra Hotel and Resort in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. It is a world-class resort. My favorite city destination is the Waldorf Astoria in downtown Manhattan.

Audio excerpt of the interview with Allen Paty.