Loading...
2023/10/18 MASON COUNTY LODGING TAX ADVISORY COMMITTEE Meeting Minutes 411.North 5t"Street,Shelton,WA 98584 Wednesday, October 18,2023 9:00 a.m. Meeting was held hybrid—in-person and via Zoom. Members in attendance: Chair Sharon Trask, Rachel Hansen, Deidre Peterson, John DeLeva, Greg Oldham,Shaun Tucker and Duane Wilson. Aso in attendance: Rod Olson, Liz Arbaugh, and Nancy Johnson. Chair Trask called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. Approval of Minutes Rachel/Duane moved and seconded to approve the August 2 and August 23,2023 meeting minutes. Motion carried. Review of 2024/2025 Visitor Services Contracts Duane suggested including in the contracts a requirement for future planning and goals in their quarterly reports. Diane explained that allowing for a two year contract gives the VIC's the opportunity to comply with the revised SOW. Contract awards are for each year—2024 and 2025.Although Duane likes a one year contract, he is supportive of the two year contract as were other LTAC members. Rachel will work with VIC's to unify the Wild Side branding and make it recognizable. Review of North Mason COC contract—remove customer training and reprint padded map; keep Visit Union Facebook. Rachel said this is a community page and recommended to allow more administrators so information can be shared. Peace, Love, Union website page is a local page. Discussion of including more information pertaining to the west end of the County(Matlock area). Duane suggested that Kristen Masteller could be a resource. Deidre explained the Shelton Chamber is looking at partnering with the Oyster Bank for the Hoodsport location. The contract will not name a specific address for the Hoodsport VIC location. Liz asked for flexibility in the museum hours; she noted the award is$9K less than requested and that may affect staffing. The contract awards are for 2024 and 2025 with the same amount each year. Rachel explained that her proposal for the Progressive App is to address going to digital and she believes it's best to have provide a hybrid service—both digital and in-person. The goal is to have current information available to visitors and work together with VIC's. She has learned from operating the Oyster Bank that visitors are appreciative of having the personal touch,they want itineraries and current information. The hard costs to create the Progressive App is$49,500. The continued support of the Tourism App will be in NEO's Tourism contract. Greg commented there is a need to continue to fund VIC's in order for the VIC's to provide the service. There is frustration with reduced funding to VIC's. LTAC Meeting Minutes—October 18, 2023 Duane pointed out that lodging tax pays for 25%to 30%of the Chamber's overhead; he is willing to pay for performance. He asked how much is tourism discussed at the Chamber meetings. Deidre said it is part of her report; Rod will make it part of his reporting. John Deleva travels a lot and having digital information is important and he supports the direction of using the Tourism App. Rachel stated we need to work together to bring everyone forward so VIC's don't become obsolete.The intent is to help each other. Shaun Tucker commented we need to be cautious to expect lodging tax to continue to grow as it has in the last few years. The industry shows it's been flat; he believes it's rate growth, not an increase in number of rooms that has been the growth in lodging tax revenue. The Chambers reporting on tourism is fine, but action is what counts. He supports going to digital and having the local personalized touch in providing the information. At Alderbrook they use the ExploreHoodCanal.com website to provide , information to their guests. He questioned if we really need the VIC's to do the tourism support work. Mason County has two rich resources—natural resources and the people. Visitors want to get the inside scoop by speaking to the locals. He has been concerned with paying 1/3 of VIC's rent. He questioned if spending$200K for brick and mortar locations is a good return on investment. He would like to see getting the brand out there and educating the local businesses to provide the visitor information. Deidre stated that tourism is part of the COC's mission and if their funding is reduced they would have to consider closing the Hoodsport VIC. She is excited to reinvigorate how tourism services will be delivered. Nancy Johnson noted that the Union VIC costs$1 and the visitors appreciate the information. Shaun is supportive of Union and Hoodsport locations; Belfair's location is for licensing. We should target locations where visitors actually go. Rod responded that those coming in for licensing are also asking for visitor information. John is attending the WA Tourism conference and will bring home VIC data. Deidre is attending a Chamber conference and some of the topics are regarding tourism. NEC's$49,500 1-year contract is for implementation of the Tourism Progressive App. Everyone was good with the contract. The awards have already been voted on at the August meeting for the visitor support services (Chambers of Commerce, Museum and NEO for Progressive App). The intent today is to review the contract and scope of work. Tourism/Small Festival Contract NEO's Tourism/Small Festival contract 2-year extension. Includes soft and hard costs for support of the Tourism Progressive App. Rachel's goal is to have the Tourism App going in January.The cost is $645,307 each year for 2024 and 2025. John/Duane moved and seconded to extend NEO's Tourism/Small Festival contract, $645,307 for each year,202412025. Motion carried. LTAC approved purchasing tablets for the VIC's. LTAC Meeting Minutes—October 18,2023 Quarterly Reports Liz reviewed the Museum's 3rd quarter report. Rachel provided NEO's 3rd quarter report. She received $12K from City of Shelton lodging tax. Focus for next quarter is Christmas Towne theme to the entire county. She is looking for locations to locate Christmas trees throughout the County. The Oyster Bank hosted a dinner event with visiting journalists from New Zealand and Australia and she believes that will promote Mason County. The Oyster Bank is going through a remodel to build a bathroom and restaurant inside the building. Rod stated he will provide the North Mason COC's 3rd quarter report. Deidre emailed the Shelton Chamber's 3rd quarter report. Public Comment—none Calendar- Next meeting is January 17,2024 at 9 a.m. and will be held hybrid. The regular meeting schedule is the 3rd Wednesday,9 a.m. every quarter—January,April,July and October. Adiourn The meeting ended at 10:40 a.m. LODGING TAX ADVISORY COMMITTEE MASON COUNTY,WASHINGTON ATTEST: / LTAC Clerk Chair