The barometer for marketing and advertising success of a destination can be tough to measure. There are several metrics we have access to, and the growth of social media (especially Facebook for the Seaside Visitors Bureau) has provided some of the best options for measurement. But the ultimate measurement tool – especially as it relates to funding for the City of Seaside Visitors Bureau – is bed tax receipts.
Every guest that visits Seaside has an eight percent (8%) local lodging tax (bed tax) added to their stay. An additional one percent (1%) is collected for the state, which, like our transient tax, is used to promote travel to our state and region. The easiest way to break that down is by looking at Joe Public who chooses to stay at a Seaside lodging establishment at a rate of $100 per night. If Joe stays one night (assuming he has no other incidental charges), his balance at checkout would be $109, with eight dollars collected for the City of Seaside and one dollar collected for the State of Oregon.
Of those eight dollars, 20.1 percent (in this case $1.61) of that is earmarked and allocated to promote and advertise the city through the Tourism Advisory Committee (aka the Seaside Visitors Bureau). Multiply the 750,000 to 1,000,000 people that visit Seaside each year (many staying one or multiple nights) and the Visitors Bureau has a budget from which it is then permitted to develop tools and advertisements to encourage tourism in our community.
Which brings me to a quick recap of the one barometer that truly gives us some incredible feedback on how well our efforts are doing. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the City of Seaside collected $3,108,316 in lodging tax receipts. This represents a 4.57% increase over the 2012-13 fiscal year, which had been our previous record year with collections totaling $2,972,475. Going back one year further (and looking at the 2011-12 fiscal year), our collections totaled $2,564,881, so our growth has come a long way in the past two plus years.
The included chart looks at the last ten years of growth, decline and then growth again over the past three years. What this doesn’t include is a quarter-by-quarter look (figures are collected four times per year). With the close of the recent fiscal year, the quarter ending June 30 represented the tenth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth. Beginning with the quarter ending March 31, 2012 through the most recent quarter, we’ve seen an uptick in numbers over the previous year’s quarter. That’s good news for Seaside and something we will work hard to continue in the coming months and years.