September Bed Tax Numbers up 7% Year Over Year

Looking at the bed tax revenue numbers for August, September’s had been released at the beginning of the month!  It’s always super insightful to see where September falls as for many, it’s the last big hooray for the summer tourism season.  For many still, October proves a strong month as fall tourism is popular at the beach before November and December drop sharply.

This September didn’t feel as frenzied with the lack of TDC planned events like we had last year, but at Panama City Beach Luxury Properties, we were still sold out each weekend through the month.  In addition, most of our larger properties enjoyed strong weekly rentals through the entire month.

For the industry, bed tax revenue collections were over 7% up for September 2012 over September 2011 and rang in at a total of $999,168.09

A close look at the numbers.
  • September 2012 – $999,168.09 – single point:  $199,833.62 – 7.65% up over previous year
  • September 2011 – $928,161.56 – single point:  $185,632.31 – 16.7% up over previous year
  • September 2010 – $795,301.87 – single point:  $159,060.37 – 0.0% neutral over previous year (oil spill year)
  • September 2009 – $795,698.44 – single point:  $159,139.69 – 2.1% up over previous year
  • September 2008 – $467,386.73 – single point:  $155,795.58 – 17.7% up over previous year
  • September 2007 – $397,000.56 – single point:  $132,333.52
When considering gains, it’s always fun to look at where we are in comparison to where we were a few years ago.  For example, before the oil spill, many considered the 2008 summer tourism season a good baseline for strong tourism.  When compared to that year, 2012 is  25.6% up.

Industry wide in Bay County for September 2012, $19,983,361.80 was generated in reported room-night revenue.

The numbers from the previous months this year
  • August 2012 – $3,007,148.42 – up 1.52% over previous year
  • July 2012 – $3,007,148.42 – up 1.52% over previous year
  • June 2012 – $2,737,780.66 – up 19.88% over previous year
  • May 2012 – $1,408,512 – up 24.95% over previous year
  • April 2012 – $1,270,835.84 – up 4.45% over previous year
  • March 2012 – $1,769,821.69 – up 19.38% over previous year

August Bed Tax Numbers up 15% Year Over Year

Having just realized that I never did a bed tax revenue report for August, I wanted to get this out real quick.  August this year seemed strong in our own vacation rental business and that seems to be confirmed with the huge increase in total revenue year over year for the month, in Panama City Beach.

Just a look at perspective, for 2011 we averaged $1524 of total revenue per property for the month here at Panama City Beach Luxury Properties and for 2012 we averaged $3614 of total revenue per property for the month – which as you can see is a 137% increase.  Of course, the fact that we have several more higher income properties this year over last year ways heavily on this.  🙂

For the industry, bed tax revenue collections were over 15% up for August 2012 over August 2011 and rang in at a total of $1,253,350.77

A close look at the numbers.
  • August 2012 – $1,253,350.77 – single point:  $250,670.15 – 15.35% up over previous year
  • August 2011 – $1,086,541.59 – single point:  $217,308.32 – 34.5% up over previous year
  • August 2010 – $807,936.59 – single point:  $161,587.32 – 14.7% DOWN over previous year
  • August 2009 – $807,936.59 – single point:  $189,519.23 – 2.5% up over previous year
  • August 2008 – $554,578.90 – single point:  $184,859.63 – 4.2% up over previous year
  • August 2007 – $532,047.94 – single point:  $177,349.31
When considering gains, it’s always fun to look at where we are in comparison to where we were a few years ago.  For example, before the oil spill, many considered the 2008 summer tourism season a good baseline for strong tourism.  When compared to that year, 2012 is  32.3% up.

Industry wide in Bay County for August 2012, $25,067,015.40 was generated in reported room-night revenue.

The numbers from the previous months this year
  • July 2012 – $3,007,148.42 – up 1.52% over previous year
  • June 2012 – $2,737,780.66 – up 19.88% over previous year
  • May 2012 – $1,408,512 – up 24.95% over previous year
  • April 2012 – $1,270,835.84 – up 4.45% over previous year
  • March 2012 – $1,769,821.69 – up 19.38% over previous year

Our Beach Erosion – 12 Answers to the Latest Project

As part of keeping our beaches the way they are, large and wide, the Tourist Development Council is making an investment that will help sustain the millions in beach renourishment spent in years past and help beautify our white sand.  A huge aid in keeping the sand in place is vegetation and Lisa Armbruster with the Beach Renourishment efforts has a plan to plant our beach with fresh vegetation, and she’s starting this fall.

Q. How much of the beach will receive new vegetation?
A. Nearly all of the beach from Pinnacle Port to St. Andrews State Park (but not including the park) has vegetation proposed. Areas that do not have vegetation proposed are those areas undergoing apparent redevelopment, although if those property owners wish to have vegetation installed, they will be included.

Q. Approximately how many plants will be planted?
A. Approximately 1.5-1.7 million plants.

Q. Will there be plants other than sea oats planted?
A. The bid documents define that 70% of the vegetation will be sea oats, and 15% will be dune panic grass; the other three species suggested are beach elder (5%), sea purslane (5%), and beach morning glory (5%) – although, notably, the bid documents offer that the bidder may propose a substitute for one of the three smaller quantity plants.

Q. What is the expected cost of the entire project?
A. The cost estimate (and I stress estimate) is $1.5 to 2.0 million.

Q. Where will the funds for the project be appropriated from?
A. The funding will come from the Third Cent bed tax (dedicated beach nourishment fund). We also have a state match already secured in a grant, so approximately 28.5% will be paid by the state.

Q. What is the objective, meaning, are there areas that have historical erosion points that this will prevent or reduce the erosion?
A. The planting project will enhance the existing dune system, and in some areas, lack of existing dune system, and over time should help build up dunes along the landward portions of the Panama City Beach beaches; this serves as additional protection from storms to upland structures and infrastructure and complements the beach nourishment activities completed for the beaches.

Q. When will bids go out for the project?
A. End of July or early August.

Q. Who is expecting to bid, meaning, landscape architects?  contractors?
A. The bidders should be capable of handling the work/size of the project.

Q. When is actual work expected to begin?
A. Until we get the bids in, including their proposed schedules, we can’t say for sure. It is expected to start by winter of this year and be complete by early spring.

Q. How long will the work take place?
A. Again, until we see proposed schedules, we don’t know. At this point, the bid documents give the bidder 165 days to complete the work from the time the contract is awarded. A portion of this time will likely be devoted to growing the plants, so folks wouldn’t see work being done on the beach, although the project would be moving forward.

Q. Will there be anything in place to keep beach goers off the new plants?
A. The project includes post and rope fencing along the seaward edge of the planting for the entire length of the project, and includes perpendicular post and rope fencing through the approximately 100 public accesses on the beach. Also, signs will be placed within the planting areas indicating that folks should keep out of the vegetation. This post and rope fencing also speaks a little to your question below regarding aesthetics.

Q. Will the plants be planted in a pattern to help be aesthetically pleasing?
A. The planting pattern has been designed by our coastal engineering firm, Coastal Planning & Engineering, based on the existing topography of the beach; the planting should blend in nicely with the existing beach and vegetation.

Walton Area Chamber Luncheon to Discuss Tourist Tax Dollars Wednesday

The Walton Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its monthly Power of Business Luncheon on Wednesday, March 4th at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort at 11:30 am to 1:00 pm.  The program will be focused on the upcoming tourist season and how tourist tax dollars affect the Northwest Florida economy.

At the luncheon, Sonny Mares, Executive Director of the Beaches of South Walton and Dan Rowe, President/CEO – Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) will be on hand to discuss the tourist season that is fast approaching and the 5th cent bed tax that will be used primarily to attract a low cost airline carrier to Northwest Florida.

To register, please call the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce at (850) 267-0683 or email info@waltonareachamber.com.

I’ll be there.

TDC Meeting – Klages, Sea Oats, JBInc, New Board

Bed tax numbers were reported to be up for October, but no percentages or numbers were provided.

Lisa Armbruster presented the preliminary plans for the Sea Oat Planting and Sand Fencing project and encouraged public comment.  The goal is to implement this plan next year after turtle nesting season, and Lisa advised that the funding is already in place.

After a presentation from Walter Klages that emphasized a need to increase international visibility, the board voted to follow staff’s recomendation and approve the contract for the current year including the extra money to start doing occupancy and rate studies.

The board voted to approve the Memo of Understanding with Jennifer Barbee Inc. under the assumption that they could renogotiate the stipulation requiring 1/3 of the budget to be deposited in advance with her firm.  The board agreed they would like no more than 1/6 of the budget to be deposited in advance with JBInc.  It was discussed that Jennifer Barbee Inc has been working on the new spring break site even without a contract.  Andy expressed his concern that $95k was too much for a web site, but the board seemed to disagree.

New officers will be chosen in January and another 6 months was added to all the board member’s term.  Originally, the 2 year appointments were to end in June 2009, but now they will end in January 2010.  I though this was a decision to be made by the County Commission/PCB City Council. ??

The New Year’s Even Ball Drop being held at Pier Park is sponsored by the CVB and will include an 8 foot ball dropped 145 feet from a crane.  Board members are unsure whether, at this point, it will be allowed to smash into the ground on top of a car.

Oh, and don’t forget the special meeting called on the Bed Tax issue on the 17th of December.  I’ll add it to the calendar on the side.

Revenue Enhancement Committee Meeting

Download the agenda here.

AGENDA

REVENUE ENHANCEMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
Bay County Tourist Development Council
Panama City Beach
Wednesday, December 3, 2008              1:00 p.m.        Board Room, Visitor
Information Center

I.    CALL MEETING TO ORDER

II.    ROLL CALL

III.    REQUESTS TO ADDRESS THE COMMITTEE ON AGENDA ITEMS (3 Minutes)

IV.    UPDATE ON DEVELOPMENT COSTS FROM STRATEGIC PLAN, Mr. Dan Rowe, President

V.    UPDATE ON DESTINATION MARKETING, Mr. Peter Yesawich, YPartnership

VI.    AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

VII.    ADJOURNMENT

TDC Revenue Enhancement Committee Meeting

The TDC/CVB pulled together an impressive report on Bed Tax collections in competing destinations.

Numbers are clear:  Tourists visiting Panama City Beach pay less bed tax than in most other vacation destinations in Florida and the Southeast.  The full report will be posted here as soon as possible; email lancaster.kirk@gmail.com if you want me to email it to you..

There is no doubt we could improve TDC revenues by adding 2 cents, and the only people who would notice are the Bed Tax Collectors themselves.  (Sorry BTCs, I love you and am on your side, wishing you didn’t have to collect it all by yourselves, but that’s a bigger fight I’d join you on…)

There were other discussions of increasing TDC/CVB revenue, such as marketing co-ops and adding a new employee to collect back-taxes from the owners who are not paying up, but the 1 to 2 cent bed tax increase is by far the real revenue stream.  And it’s the topic that supposedly was the crack that caused the previous TDC Board breakup.  So it’s a hotty alright.

Since this is such a debated topic, please join in the comments and give your 2 cents on increased Bed Taxes (Revenue) for Bay County.  PCBDaily.com gives us all a voice on these issues, and you wouldn’t believe how many local business people and residents read this website and subscribe to the weekly newsletter.  So whether you’re on the TDC Board, a Bed Tax Collector, a concerned tourist, or a reporter for the major media outlets in town… if you have a solution or opinion on our Bed Tax and Tourist Development Revenue, let your voices be heard!

Here’s my 2 cent offering to the Revenue Enhancement Committee.

1. Raise the tax 2 cents, build sports and special events facilities only

2. The TDC serves Bay County.  Bay County serves tourists and thrives on tourism.  All hotels and motels in Bay County should be required to collect the Bay County Bed Tax.  I pay bed tax in Tuscaloosa, AL, and they’re no where near a beach.

3. Increase percentage of Bed Tax spent on product, and less on promotion.  All our competitors in the report spend more on beach/product improvement than on advertising and promotions.  We should follow that lead.  They have a better product as a result.