The association began collecting a $2.00 per guest room per night Tourism Business Improvement District assessment from its 32 member hotels in the communities of Solvang, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Buellton and Ballard starting on July 1, 2010. In the first year (July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011), SYVHA collected a total of $550,053.94 from visitors staying in Santa Ynez Valley hotel guest rooms and disbursed it for the following activities: (Highlights mentioned; complete list readily available, please enquire of firstname.lastname@example.org)
~Ads for each of the 32 member hotels in the Solvang/Santa Ynez Valley Visitor Guide (100,000 circulation) and the Santa Barbara Visitors Magazine (80,000 circulation); purchased four full-page advertisements in the Los Angeles Times Travel section;
~Contracted with Expedia.com for 5 months @$25,000 for enhanced listings
~Contracted with Travel Media Group for placements in discount coupon book for member hotels
~Advertising and sweepstakes in Sunset Magazine
Educational training for member hotel personnel;
~Front desk “upselling” training by Travel Media Group
~Disaster preparedness seminar for hotel staff
~ServSafe Seminar for food handling and manager training, to comply with SB 602 on safe food handling,
~TIPS training for alcohol awareness
~Three-hour familiarization bus tour of the Santa Ynez Valley for front desk staff
Education for future hotel personnel:
~Funded two annual scholarships of $2,000 each at Allan Hancock College Culinary Arts and Management Program and Santa Barbara City College Culinary and Hotel Management Program for current hotel employees or members of their families.
Community Grants to support events attracting overnight visitors especially mid-week and low season: $56,000 was awarded in April to: Buellton Rotary Club for 2nd annual Central Coaster Car Event; City of Solvang Centennial Committee for year-long activities; City of Solvang Local Organizing Committee for 2011 Amgen Tour of California Time Trials; Danish Days Foundation for 75th annual Danish Days; PCPA Theaterfest for American Premier of “My Fairytale”; People Helping People for annual Vino de Suenos; Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum for 37th annual Vaquero Show & Sale; Santa Ynez Valley Visitors Association for themed weeks; Solvang Conference &Visitors Bureau for annual Julefest and Wildling Museum of Art for annual SYV Artist Studio Tours.
Member services and community involvement: The 32 member hotel properties have exclusive access to a member section of the new website, www.syvha.com with news of current and future activities, a listing of all members, and other useful information. SYVHA board members and the executive director are involved in a variety of community organizations and tourism forums, both in the Santa Ynez Valley and in greater Santa Barbara County. The SYVHA board meets in open session monthly, the first Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Hadsten House Inn & Spa in Solvang, and a general meeting is held every third month to encourage open community involvement. The board consists of seven individuals, who represent a broad spectrum of the hotel industry and valley locations. The next board meeting is October 6, 2011.