Breaking down the numbers behind one of Lake George’s best tourist seasons

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lake george 2021 tourist season

Lake George, N.Y. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The second post-COVID summer has come to a close for the village, and for a second year, seasonal business has thrived better than expected.

Village Mayor Bob Blais called it one of the biggest the village has ever had on Monday, as the post-Labor Day village prepared for an out-of-season Americade and some slowdown before winter hits.

Nearby, at the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce, chamber President Gina Mintzer had the numbers to back Blais up.

“We’ve been blowing it out of the park,” Mintzer said on Monday.

The chamber has been working with Joanne Conley at Warren County’s department of tourism, as well as Sam Luciano at Fort William Henry Hotel & Conference Center, to compile occupancy data on hotels throughout Lake George through the last summer.

That data is then contrasted with numbers at other northeast tourism hotspots, including Lake Placid, Saratoga Springs, Albany and the Finger Lakes. They extended further, too, to areas like Hershey, Pennsylvania; Hampton Beach, New Hampshire; and Cape Cod.

The numbers comprise only hotels. The Lake George region’s numerous campsites and Airbnb and VRBO offerings weren’t included, due to limits in what industries are able to provide data in what ways.

That said, the hotel numbers on their own showed that this summer was one to beat.

Lake George hotels averaged an occupancy level of 83% in August, which is a strong number for that point in the year.

In comparison, Cape Cod’s hotels came in just below, at 80%. That’s enticing data, but does come with some caveats.

“Other times (of the summer) they were much higher than us,” Mintzer noted, “but they also have way more rooms.”

Mintzer estimated Cape Cod at around 51,000 hotel and motel rooms, compared to around 31,000 in the village and town of Lake George.

The average price of a Lake George hotel room is $212 a night – accounting for some higher-end locations and others under $100. Those rooms host an average of three people per room.

Next, Mintzer did some math, multiplying those 31,000 rooms by a .80 percentage – less than August, but more than the early September numbers that followed, which saw numbers dip into the high 60% range.

“That’s 24,800 rooms; that’s just for a week.”

Multiply those occupied rooms next by 3 people per room, and you get over 75,000 people visiting in that one week alone. And Mintzer was quick to point out that those people tend to visit, and spend money, all over the area.

“I don’t think I need to remind you how big that is for our restaurants, our tourism; everything,” Mintzer said.

It’s one thing to compare those numbers to Cape Cod or Saratoga, but another to compare Lake George to itself.

Numbers from August in the two pre-pandemic years show some growth that 2021 was able to follow up and continue on its merry way.

In August 2018, Lake George saw an occupancy rate of 80.4%. In 2019, it was around 21%.

2019’s average room rate was $203.

That means the rate has risen by about 1.5% in the two years since, enduring COVID-19, and more to boot.

“Remember that nobody had enough workers,” Mintzer said. “Everybody was short-staffed.”

Mintzer and the village as a whole are hoping for strong numbers to continue this month. The Americade touring motorcycle festival is back in town this week, and kicked off on Tuesday.

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