Hotel fees could increase to provide Tahoe tourism funding
April 15, 2009
South Lake Tahoe lodging properties are looking for ways to increase revenue to use for marketing the South Shore to visitors.
The South Lake Tahoe Tourism Improvement District board unanimously voted to recommend a fee increase to its membership, TID Chairman Jerry Bindel said.
The proposed increase was presented at the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association, and the members were behind the idea, said Bindel, who is also president of the lodging association.
The fees would be increased by 50 percent, said Pat Ronan, Lodging Association and TID member. The per-night fee for hotel and motel properties would go from $2 to $3, and the fee for vacation rentals would increase from $3 to $4.50.
The fee increases will be applied to visitors’ room charges and won’t affect residents, Ronan said.
If the TID members approve the increase, it then goes before the South Lake Tahoe City Council for final approval, since the city collects the fees and distributes them back to the TID, Bindel said.
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The TID membership consists of all the hotel, motel and property management businesses that run vacation rentals within the city limits, Bindel said.
TID members will vote via mail on the issue, and should receive their letters within 30 days, Ronan said.
“It’s a necessity to keep marketing this town,” Ronan said. “We’re in survival mode.”
The fee increase has been discussed for about three months after the City Council cut its special event funding, Bindel said.
“There’s a need for this because of all the revenue shortfalls,” Bindel said.
Last year the TID collected $1.5 million. If the TID fees aren’t increased, the collection total would be about $1.1 million. If the fees are increased, it could collect about $1.6 million, Bindel said.
Bindel said the TID wants to have the fee increase in place by July, so it can collect revenue from the peak summer months.
Once the fees are collected, some of the funds are allocated to the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, and some are kept for the TID to use, Bindel said.
For example, the TID funded its own radio promotion in March, and also printed special-event brochures to be passed out at all the lodging properties, Bindel said.
The TID, along with the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority, are the primary sources of funding for the LTVA, said Carol Chaplin, LTVA executive director. Both entities are fairly equal in their contributions, except the TDVA earmarks more funds for the American Century Championship, Chaplin said.
For city of South Lake Tahoe:
October 2008: $536,574
October 2007: $250,627
November 2008: $235,937
November 2007: $326,213
December 2008: $936,753
December 2007: $902,345
January 2009: $770,793
January 2008: $881,506
February 2009: $791,322
February 2008: $1,019,956