Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel Update

 

 

Bryan Jordan from Vista Works, a social media marketing firm first employed by the Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel three years ago, gave an update on activities for the Lamar City Council during a recent work session. He also made a similar presentation to the Prowers County Commissioners on Tuesday, August 24th. The Lodging Panel operates under the guidance of the county, independent from the City of Lamar.

Chad Hart of the Lodging Panel, explained that securing Vista Works to promote Prowers County, has helped increase awareness of the county and its tourist attractions, despite the downturn of visitors and interruption of events due to the pandemic.

Jordan recapped how the Panel’s mission is funded by a 2% tax on motel and hotel rooms rented throughout the year in Prowers County. “Those funds are used purely for marketing and advertising of events which will bring visitors to the county, hopefully for an overnight stay. There is no cost to county residents.”

He also provided some statistics on the tourism industry, statewide and its financial impact on Prowers County. “In general, $24B will spent on tourism in the state in 2019, pre-COVID-19. Of the 89M visitors, at least 39M were overnight stays. For Prowers County, visitors here spend an estimated $56,000 each day.” He reminded the council that these are figures provided by the Colorado Tourism Organization, based on third-party computation. He added that local taxes from visitors provide about $1.3M in tax revenue and if you subtracted that amount from the annual tally, residents would be assessed $266 per year to make up for the difference. For every dollar from the 2% tax taken in, there is a $200 return back to the county. The Lodging Panel has an average annual budget of $90,000 which is allocated to various marketing campaigns for the county in general and for specific events.

Jordan said, “The visits can help with future job recruitment and potentially aids in job development as, you have visitors who see what they like in the communities in the county, they are prone to another future visit, or can pass that information along to another person or group who may become interested.” He said two years ago, one journalist’s article about the annual February Snow Goose Festival helped more than double the attendance from the year before. “Our cost was $250 for travel, meals and a room. This is an example of marketing to find and inform the right group with an interest towards what is offered in the county.”

‘The Great High Prairie’ site on the internet provides a look at how the county is marketed on social media. Jordan explained that even though a site such as John Martin State Park is outside the county, the attraction to the public can bring visitors who, if they stay for a night or two, will select Lamar as a natural location, given the motels and restaurants available.

“Our research indicates the website has around 9,000 people visiting. We do some paid advertising on it, and in general, the usual visitor spends almost a full minute exploring the information offered there. It shows us they have an interest in what we have to offer and are not just clicking on to another site.”

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: Consumer IssuesCountyEconomyEntertainmentFeaturedTourism

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