The occupancy rate in Colorado Springs area hotels fell in February from a year earlier for the first time since August 2015, according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report.

The percentage of rooms filled fell to 55.4 percent last month from 56.9 percent in February 2016, which was the highest level for the month since 2003 when 60.3 percent of local hotel rooms were filled. The decline is the biggest in two years - the occupancy rate fell by 2.3 percentage points in February 2015 - and ends eight consecutive months in which the rate increased compared with the same month a year earlier (the occupancy rate was unchanged in May). Despite falling occupancy, the average room rate in February rose 3.5 percent from February 2016 to $95.24, the ninth consecutive monthly increase.

The local occupancy rate in the first two months of the year is down to 52.8 percent from 53.4 percent during the same period in 2016. The decline was triggered by full-service hotels - properties with extensive meeting space, restaurants and other amenities - where the year-to-date occupancy rate declined to 50.5 percent from 53.2 percent during the same period a year earlier. Full-service hotels sacrificed occupancy for higher rates - their average room rate so far this year rose 6.1 percent to $100.25, while the average for limited-service properties edged up 2.4 percent to $84.85.

"Obviously, February is not a busy month for our region, but we still had a solid month, especially considering how strong last year was. We haven't yet started spending the bulk of our marketing funds," said Chelsy Offutt, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Overall revenue per room is still up from the year."

The numbers don't include the Great Wolf Lodge, which opened in mid-December but isn't part of the report. If the 311-room hotel and water park becomes part of the report, it won't be included in the local numbers and instead will be listed in the "other resorts" category along with The Broadmoor hotel and Cheyenne Mountain Resort. The occupancy rate for that category so far this year is up to 63.2 percent from 61.1 percent during the same period a year ago while the average room rate for hotels in that category surged 16 percent from a year ago to $338.47.

Statewide hotel occupancy also headed lower, dropping to 63 percent in February from 64.2 percent in February 2016. Occupancy during the first two months of the year is down to 60.9 percent from 61.3 percent a year earlier. The state's average room rate in February increased 3.2 percent from February 2016 to $170.45 and the average rate for the first two months of the year was up 4.1 percent from the same period in 2016 to $167.90.

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