POUDRE CANYON, Colo (CBS4) – With all the recent wildfires in Colorado, many businesses that rely on tourist dollars are taking a hit. The fires have made national news, and many out-of-state travelers have canceled their vacations.
Glen Echo is a mountain resort in the Poudre Canyon about an hour outside of Fort Collins. The property includes cabin, RV and campsite rentals, a convenience store, gift shop, liquor store, restaurant and bar. For 3-weeks, Highway 14 was shut down and Glen Echo had no business whatsoever.
“We had a lot of cancellations, and there was no revenue coming in at all,” said Gail Rowe, the owner of Glen Echo.
Rowe tells CBS4 that she relies on her summer tourist income to fund her entire year. A 3-week break in business is a huge hit to her budget.
“We were really not sure what we were going to do about payments, bills and so on and so forth,” Rowe explained.
Highway 14 is back open and business is picking up. But still Glen Echo will suffer from trip cancellations. Jerry and Donna Disparti are vacationing regulars at the mountain resort and they say it’s very quiet for the holiday week.
“Probably historically the slowest weekend they’ve ever had here,” Jerry told CBS4.
Tourists like Danielle Hartnett of Philadelphia saw the fire coverage on TV and decided to cancel their vacation plans to Estes Park.
“My husband said, ’These wildfires in Colorado are just going out of control.’ They were projected to go into the summer, like through the summer,” Hartnett said.
The couple paid a $472 deposit for a cabin they found online using Vacation Rental By Owner. Now Hartnett says she’s having a hard time getting the deposit back.
“She just wasn’t going to give it back to me,” Harnett said.
It’s not clear what the cancellation policy is, and when CBS4 contacted the rental cabin’s owner she did not want to talk about this situation. The owner has indicated that if she can re-rent the cabin for the week the Hartnetts’ had reserved they would get their money back, and she’s working with a consumer advocate to try to resolve the situation with the Hartnetts.
“I think that the right thing for her to do would be to refund my money. I gave her 2-months notice for my cancellation and it really doesn’t make sense to me why she hadn’t told me before that this is non-refundable,” Harnett said.
The rental business in Colorado is struggling. Tourist locations statewide face a fierce battle to get the word out that all of Colorado is not on fire. If you are a traveler, it’s also a reminder that you need to know your cancellation policies when you make your reservation.
– Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith