Loading...
2023/04/19 MASON COUNTY LODGING TAX ADVISORY COMMITTEE Meeting Minutes 411 North 5t"Street,Shelton,WA 98584 Wednesday,April 19,2023 9:00 a.m. Meeting was held hybrid—in-person and via Zoom. Members in attendance: Chair Sharon Trask,Shaun Tucker, Deidre Peterson, John DeLeva, Pam Volz, Greg Oldham and Duane Wilson. Also in attendance was Liz Arbaugh, Rachel Hansen and Jeff Slakey. Chair Trask called the meeting to order at 9:03 a.m. j Approval of Minutes Duane/Pam moved and seconded to approve the January 18, 2023 minutes. Motion carried. Review Request for Proposal for 2024 Visitor Services Board members reviewed the proposed RFP for 2024 visitor services and discussed how much funding to allocate. Deidre pointed out the costs to provide visitor services have increased; she supports committing funding to the proposed Welcome Center Discussion of how much to fund for visitor services. Currently 20%of previous year's.revenue is allocated to VIC's. For 2023,$174,000 is allocated to visitor information centers; using the 20%formula, $204,000 would be available for 2024 visitor services. Diane and Rachel shared history of how lodging tax has been used and the research Rachel has done. An event center is needed and possibly lodging tax could be reserved for a capital improvement. John is willing to do research on how other jurisdictions spend their lodging tax. Duane believes that although the contract amounts have increased, he doesn't see improvements in the visitor services. Deidre supports augmenting visitor services; stay within the 20%allocation of revenues; plan for long term. Sharon believes the draft RFP allows for a variety of visitor support services and would need to be reviewed in the proposals. John pointed out the new trend he sees is interactive kiosks. Shaun supports digital services; supports the welcome center concept; lock in at 20%allocation and see if there are new opportunities; good with RFP as proposed. RFP allows flexibility for proposals; challenge will be allocating to proposals; hopefully there will be fresh ideas. Duane stated that if he doesn't see something new, he will support funding less. Shaun supports the Hoodsport VIC and Union;doesn't support funding the Chamber offices; how do we advance what is working, possibly purchase building and advance technology. He noted that operational expenses will continue to increase and that's why technology needs to be utilized. Deidre/Duane moved and seconded to issue the Request for Proposals for visitor support services as presented,funding is up to 20%of the 2022 revenues, approximately$205K. Motion carried. Duane asked if a vendor could speak to technology trends that support tourism;John said he has contacts and could arrange for a presentation. John pointed out that we don't want to lose the human element and need to find a balance between the human element but advance technology. LTAC membership Current members are willing to serve another 2 year term; Pam will be retiring in May so that position (spender)will be vacant. Shaun left the meeting at 10:10 a.m. LTAC Meeting Minutes—April 19,2023 2023 1st Quarter Reports Northwest Event Organizers,Tourism Development—Rachel Hansen presented the 2023 1st Quarter Report. Lodging tax continues to increase although there was a slight dip in January. The time spent on the Explorehoodcanal.com website has increased. NEO continues to support the small festivals;the Vance Creek Railriders continues to be a popular event; working with Oysterfest to get sponsorships;the Fjordin Crossin continues to expand; Bluegrass from the Forest is popular. The Wild Side Hikes Guide is a popular handout. The Tracing the Fjord magazine is distributed county-wide and on the WA State ferries and it is downloaded. In order to bring in more digital she hired Jeff Slakey and they(Hansen's and Slakey) are working on purchasing KMAS radio station which will allow another platform to promote tourism in Mason County. Top brochures are the shellfish map and the waterfall map. North Mason Chamber of Commerce—Pam Voltz presented the 1st quarter report. The Chamber places ads in the Shelton Mason County Journal. They are getting ready for fishing season. Pam provided visitor numbers served in-person. Pam announced she will be retiring the end of May. Mason County Historical Society Museum—Liz Arbaugh presented the 15t quarter report. Working on updating the museum and the exhibits. Provided the visitor count and the website traffic has increased. They have a volunteer communications person. Received a community accelerator grant from the Paul G Allan Family Foundation. Have a historic walking tour this Saturday with Mike Fredson. Working on a Tangible Threads exhibit which features clothing from the mid 1800's to 1960's. Shelton Mason Chamber of Commerce—Deidre Peterson presented the VIC 1st quarter report. Provided visitor traffic numbers;there was an uptick with phone traffic which she believes is due to weather. They provide visitor information on their Facebook page. Park Rangers will continue to be at the Hoodsport VIC. The Shelton Caboose also provides limited visitor information. John left the meeting at 10:45 a.m. Other Business -none Public Comment- none Calendar-.The next meeting is July 19, 2023 at 9 a.m. and will be held hybrid. The meeting schedule is the 3rd Wednesday, 9 a.m. every quarter—January,April,July and October. Adiourn The meeting ended at 10:48 a.m. LODGING TAX ADVISORY COMMITTEE MASON COUNTY,WASHINGTON ATTEST: .�� LTAC Clerk Chair