September 25, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica City Council To Consider Tourism District To Boost Occupancy:

For tourists visiting Southern California, Santa Monica is a likely destination. City officials are weighing up a new plan in a bid to not only attract more tourists to Santa Monica, but also encourage them to stay in one of the city’s many hotels.

Council members filed and received a report Tuesday by City staff to consider the development of a new assessment district that “would be a self-imposed and self-governed benefit assessment district designed to help fund marketing and sales promotion efforts for Santa Monica hotels.”

To be considered again at its Dec. 11 meeting, Council members will decide whether or not to create a Santa Monica Tourism Marketing District (SMTMD) in hopes of bringing more tourism dollars to the city.

Such districts were created in other cities, including Long Beach, Los Angeles, and West Hollywood and, as City staff pointed out, have been used to help promote their communities as tourism destinations.

Among the activities the SMTMD would partake in to promote tourism to Santa Monica: print advertisements in magazines and newspapers; television and radio advertisements; attendance at trade shows; and, partnerships with public relations firms.

According to City staff, the new district, or SMTMD, would essentially complement Santa Monica’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) as a sustainable funding source that would provide additional revenues for tourism promotion and marketing.

If created, the SMTMD would include all lodging businesses located within the boundaries of the City of Santa Monica with an average daily room rate of $100 and above and be in effect for five years. According to City staff, 30 hotels would pass that threshold and be subject to an assessment.

“The assessment would be assessed at a fixed rate, per occupied room, per night,” City staff stated in a report.

The assessment rate would be $2 per room night for hotels with an average daily rate between $100 and $199.99. For hotels where the average daily rate is between $200 and $300, the assessment rate would be $3 per room night. If the average daily rate exceeds $300, the assessment rate would be $4 per room night.

Assessment rates, which would be collected by City Hall on a quarterly basis, could potentially be increased by no more than 25 cents per year.

City staff stated the funds would be used for marketing and sales promotions to increase tourism and to market Santa Monica lodging businesses as tourist, meeting, and event destinations.

“The programs and services provided with the district funds will be designed specifically to drive room night sales at assessed lodging businesses,” a report issued to the CVB by Civitas stated. “Only assessed lodging businesses will be featured in marketing materials, receive sales leads generated from district-funded activities, be featured in advertising campaigns, and benefit from other district-funded services. Non-assessed lodging businesses will not receive these and any other district-funded services.”

Logistically, the CVB would serve as a standing advisory committee with four to nine members, with at least four of those members representing the assessed hotel. The SMTMD could potentially be disestablished should existing levels of funding for marketing programs be reduced.

The SMTMD is expected to have an average annual budget of about $3.13 million to supplement, not supplant, existing City funding for tourism marketing.

According to City staff, tourism and the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) has long been a significant General Fund revenue stream that supports basic City services and functions. In the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year, City Hall reported the TOT generated about $36 million.

City Hall also reported allocating more than $2.5 million to the CVB for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year.

Council members Terry O’Day and Bobby Shriver were both not present at the Nov. 13 council meeting. However, O’Day was present Nov. 14 when council members voted on the Village Trailer Park agenda item.

in News
Related Posts

Miramar Project to go Before City Council Tuesday

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Councilmember Gleam Davis asks City Attorney whether she should rescue self from vote  By Sam Catanzaro  Santa Monica lawmakers will...

SMa.r.t. Column: Needed, A Heart Transplant

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

We have written about adaptive reuse in previous columns and have postulated that with proper incentives, the existing one, two...

Edify TV: Boulders Blocking Westside Encampment

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

City officials recently removed boulders placed on sidewalks by some Westside residents to prevent the formation of a homeless encampment....

Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? Santa Monica Beat – September, 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? * Increases In...

SMC to Be Online for Winter and Spring 2021

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

College cites lack of available vaccine  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) has announced it will be delivering classes...

Edify TV: Al Fresco Program Ending?

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

During a COVID-19 pandemic many restaurants have found aid through the City of Los Angeles’ Al Fresco dining program, but...

Local Breweries Say They Have Been Unfairly Shuttered as County Passes Grant Program

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

$10 million grant program approved by Board of Supervisors  By Sam Catanzaro Will a $10 million grant program be enough...

Santa Monica Loses Vegan Restaurant

September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

Space housing Santa Monica vegan restaurant Viva Vegan up for lease By Sam Catanzaro A vegan restaurant in Santa Monica...

Risks Posed by Wildfire Smoke

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

UCLA pulmonologist on how people can tell if the wildfires are making them sick By Toi Creel Even if you...

Will Los Angeles County See Another Spike in COVID-19 Cases?

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

County health officials keeping close eye on data this week By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County health officials are monitoring...

Edify TV: Santa Monica Fire Department Fighting Blazes Across State

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

The Santa Monica Fire Department has been busy helping combat wildfires burning throughout the state. Learn more in this video...

Lawmakers and Residents Take Steps Towards Police Reform

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Santa Monica residents will soon have more control of policing after local lawmakers took significant steps to reform the Santa...

2020 Census Due September 30th: Santa Monica Beat – September, 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * 2020 Census Due September 30th * Bobcat Fire Reaches Historical Size...

UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica Offers Free “Living With Diabetes” Zoom Patient Conference

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

By Staff Writer Although the novel coronavirus has dominated the health space this year, other diseases — like diabetes —...

SMa.r.t. Column: Spending and Pension Policies Are Undermining Our City’s Future

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Our guest columnist this week is Marc L. Verville. He is a native of Santa Monica, now lives in Sunset...