February 2010 home page

  Branding Del Mar
Bud Emerson | Klish Way

The Del Mar City Council seems to be backing off its interest in approving a Tourist Business Improvement District (TBID) proposed by five hotels.

The TBID proposal would allow the hotels to tax visitors 1% of their room rate, raising approximately $100,000. A TBID board would then make decisions about how to allocate those funds, in this case mostly for advertising and a subsidy for the Del Mar Village Association.

This TBID proposal was found wanting in specifics, accountability, and projected outcomes. Although a number of other cities have approved this TBID strategy, there is very little documented proof of measured results in any city. Expert testimony at the Council meeting suggested that this modest amount of money would be insufficient to mount an effective campaign to “brand” Del Mar.

Another concern is how much tax visitors could be taxed to stay in a Del Mar hotel. In the last election Del Mar voters approved Council authority to increase the hotel tax on visitors to 13%. To date, the Council has increased that tax to only 11.5%. Should the Council decide to implement the full 13%, and then allow the hotels to add another 1% on top of that, Del Mar’s tax could would be higher than most other cities.


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