The legislation gives the CVB a chance to collect another $2 million annually in lodging taxes, but
. A bigger budget would also let the bureau extend its marketing reach to bring more tourists to
The association comprises hotel operators in the county. Some suburban operators said they haven’t benefited much from the bureau’s current marketing plan, which has largely been aimed at bringing traffic to
and the nearby downtown hotels. So the question for them becomes: Why should they raise their guests’ tab by 1 percent and help fund the new plan when they believe the old one hasn’t done much for them?
and the other major corridors in the county.
“It will be crucial for the suburban hotels,” said
The second is what
and suburban hotels such as the
But part of the suburban plan is also tied to the convention business. The bureau is trying to bring the national Corvette owners annual meeting here, and that group prefers to have its event held at a hotel that has a lot of free parking.
“I believe we’ve got lots of opportunities with car-collector groups and sports-car groups like that that want free surface parking, and that’s what the suburban hotels have to offer. Last year we did a BMW rally at the Crowne Plaza, and it had the parking lot there and was ideally suited with shopping right there,” said Wilson.
“Those are the types of initiatives that we’ll be focusing on for the suburban strategy.”
Competing nationally to draw convention and trade show business to
is the third segment. Extending the tourism marketing reach into
The CVB will visit individual hotels and the association to explain the plan and seek support for it. If a majority agrees to increase the room tax by 1 percent, then the entire association will be required to do that.
“There are steps within the legislation that, if ever there is a time that a sizable minority is opposed to it, they could repeal it or call for a vote at a future point — let’s say five years down the road — if they didn’t feel the marketing plan was meeting their needs,” said Wilson.
If all three groups approve the bureau’s new marketing plan, then the CVB will send it to
The legislation allows for the lodging tax to be raised by 2 percent in Kent and Ingham counties if the respective hospitality industries agree to the increase. The bill exempts hotels and motels with fewer than 35 rooms from the new levy. The revenue would go to the CVBs in those counties. A 1 percent bump, which the local bureau is requesting, has been estimated to raise $1 million for the CVB.
Sak said he has been in touch with lodging association members and he feels they’ll go along with the increase.
“They’re extremely pleased, especially here in
“This allows (the CVB) now to really focus on going out into other markets like
At press time, Gov. Jennifer Granholm needed to sign the bill for it to become law, and Sak believes she will do that. Granholm vetoed Sak’s first bill because it only included hotels in
The county’s lodging operators now add a 13 percent tax to a guest’s bill. The state gets 6 percent, the county 5 percent, and the CVB, 2 percent. If operators don’t have reservations about the new levy, that number will change to 14 percent, and the bureau’s take will rise to 3 percent.
“The state of