Visitors bureau stays strong after funding cutThe Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau’s marketing efforts are staying strong despite the City Commission decreasing the amount of funding the CVB receives from the hospitality tax in 2009.
The Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau’s marketing efforts are staying strong despite the City Commission decreasing the amount of funding the CVB receives from the hospitality tax in 2009.
In 2010 the CVB received $35,914 less in hospitality tax revenue than in 2009.
The Commission changed the ordinance from allotting the CVB 20 percent of the 1 percent hospitality tax to allotting them 10 percent of the 1 percent hospitality tax or $100,000, which ever is less.
In previous Press articles Dennis Johnson, city commission president, said the city should be able to decide how much of the hospitality tax they should allocate the CVB on a yearly basis. He felt the occupancy tax was generating quite a bit of money because of Dickinson’s strong economy.
If the occupancy tax declined, Johnson said the commission could increase the amount of the hospitality tax to accommodate, according to the articles.
CVB Director Terri Thiel said the reduction in hospitality tax revenues did not damage the CVB’s marketing efforts because the lodging tax revenues have been increasing over the last five years.
“However, overall the level of marketing and promotional awareness that could have been developed has been reduced compared to what it could have been had the ordinance not been changed,” Thiel said. “As the community grows, so does the need for marketing Dickinson as a destination for leisure, business and conventions.”
The revenue the CVB is receiving from the lodging tax went from $142,581 in 2006 to $326,845 in 2010, according to CVB reports.
Thiel says the increase in the lodging tax revenues can be attributed to more people living in hotel rooms and an increase in tourism.
“We have definitely seen an increase in people staying at our hotel both for leisure and oil,” said Comfort Inn General Manager Melissa Johnson. “I think some people forget that we don’t just house workers, we also host and house people for weddings, family reunions, conventions, vacations and visiting sports teams.”
Thiel said one thing to keep in mind with people staying in hotel rooms is that all taxes cease after 30 or 31 days (depending on the month) as long as the same person or persons are in the same lodging room and do not check out at any time between the 30 or 31 days.
The revenue accumulated through the lodging and hospitality tax is used mostly to pay for marketing, Thiel said.
“Marketing is a managed process, it is important because it keeps the community thriving,” Thiel said. “Bringing in tourists boosts revenue for businesses. And losing, or greatly reducing, the ability to market Dickinson as a destination as our community grows, or not being able to create new types marketing, such digital strategies, would ultimately cost more dollars if the marketing efforts had to play catch-up in some point in the future.”
Johnson agrees adding the CVB’s marketing work is important to her hotel.
“Eventually the oil will slow down or people will begin finding more permanent homes and we will need to fill those rooms,” Johnson said. “The CVB helps us by bringing in visitors who will stay at our hotels. This will become even more important as more hotels and motels are built.”
Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge General Manager Elaine Myran said having a balance of visitors and workers living at her hotel has been a blessing.
“It’s nice that business is good and that we have been able to fill rooms. What’s good about the CVB is that not only does its marketing efforts bring people in, but it reminds residents and neighboring towns of fun events coming up and encourages attendance.
“The CVB’s marketing efforts are important because it keeps Dickinson on the map. The pictures and list of events and things to do here on the traveler’s guide piques people’s interest in western North Dakota,” Thiel said. “One unique opportunity Dickinson offers that has really helped my business is
The biggest draws to Dickinson are the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Medora and the museum complex, Thiel said.
She added Dickinson is also an in-destination stop, meaning people traveling to the Black Hills of South Dakota, Glacier National Park in Montana and Yellowstone National Park in Montana will often stop in Dickinson to see the sights or spend a night or two.