By Andrea Swayne

City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt a resolution confirming the city’s intention to continue the Tourism Business Improvement District program in 2016, its fifth year.

The vote also confirmed the TBID’s annual report, which according to a staff report by Assistant City Manager Mike Killebrew, has so far resulted in about $4 million worth of value to the city, not including the incidental spending by hotel visitors while in the city.

The TBID was formed by City Council in 2009 as a public/private partnership with the city’s four largest hotels—Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Doheny Beach—as a means to collect a self-assessed, $3-per-night fee from their customers to be used for promoting Dana Point as a destination.

In its annual report, the TBID did not recommend extending its contract with the advertising and marketing firm, Agency 51, it has been using since its inception.

The body also introduced its intent to develop a five-year strategic plan and asked city staff to research the benefits of establishing a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) to take over management of the TBID, instead of employing a PR firm. The research will be presented at the next TBID meeting on Dec. 11.

According to Killebrew, governing structures of DMOs often include more robust annual reports and “pay to play” or associate partnerships in their governing structure.

“The TBID is taking a larger look at what their mission is,” Killebrew said, “… including other brands in the city and bringing them together.”

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