The hotels of Redondo Beach are banding together to put the city on the map.
City officials approved a five-year contract Tuesday to allow the newly formed Redondo Beach Travel & Tourism (RBTT), comprised of the 15 lodging businesses within the city, to manage funds for widespread advertising of Redondo Beach.
The contract, set to expire in 2023, mandates the funds—a 1 percent transient occupancy tax on room stays—will be paid by the individual hotels to the city.
Redondo Beach will then pass the revenues—estimated to be approximately $785,000 per year—to the RBTT to use for various marketing initiatives as part of Redondo’s equally new tourism marketing district.
The ultimate goal will be to draw more visitors to the city and increase business for the local hotels.
“Our role is fairly limited...we collect the money and basically serve as a pass through agency,” explained Stephen Proud, the city’s waterfront and economic development director, at the council meeting Tuesday. “The RBTT is responsible for program development, implementation administration and all financial reporting within the district.”
The nonprofit RBTT, which was formed in September 2018, will also be supplementing the advertising role once held by the Visitors Bureau of the Chamber of Commerce, saving hundreds of thousands in city dollars in the process.
“In totality, the city used to pay for this,” Mayor Bill Brand said Tuesday of the 1 percent transient occupancy tax Redondo Beach once paid to the chamber for marketing services. “Through the activism of many people over the last ten years, the city quit allocating ... to the Visitors’ Bureau and that saved the city about $800,000 per year.”
Brand thanked the city’s hoteliers for “stepping up and replacing the marketing budget on their own behalf," noting that 100 cities in California are establishing similar self-financing tourism districts.
“The City is $800,000 richer every year now,” he said. “This is much more in line with that other cities are doing.”
A newly formed nonprofit
The first tax collections for the months of September and October 2018 are already slated to hit RBTT’s bank account by Jan. 15, according to Proud.
Rebecca Elder, a representative of the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach and the RBTT’s chair of the board, explained the nonprofit has no exact advertising initiatives planned just yet.
“At this point, we’re working to contract with a company to create our marketing plan,” Elder said Tuesday. “That will be one of our first expenditures.”
Elder noted the RBTT hosts monthly public meetings at one of the hotels in the city, the next being Jan. 22, to continue planning.
She said 87 percent of the organization’s budget goes toward sales and marketing rather than a brick and mortar meeting space.
She also explained the RBTT will ensure the tax dollars are well spent.
Elder said the RBTT’s board of directors, which includes representatives from several major hotels in the city, will continuously review the effectiveness of the various marketing and allocate accordingly.
“Each initiative that is executed will have metrics behind it...provided by whomever executed it and whether the hotels actually saw room nights,” Elder said. “There is a constant evaluation. Just as you would in any business investment, you want to ensure a return on that investment.”
She said the establishment of the RBTT, which facilitates cohesion between the lodging businesses, gives Redondo Beach the best chances at being effectively advertised on a large scale.
“It’s difficult as a smaller city within Los Angeles to stand out,” Elder elaborated. “Pooling our resources and coming together as hoteliers...allows us to raise that profile and everyone benefits.”
Original Article by: Kristen Farmer of The Beach Reporter