Santa Barbara South Coast Business Improvement District Will Be Renewed
Visit Santa Barbara Reports Record-High Revenues for Hotel Rooms Due to Pent-Up Demand
Santa Barbara’s hospitality industry has seen a record-breaking return after taking a hit during the pandemic, with the 336 businesses that are part of the Santa Barbara South Coast Tourism Business Improvement District (SBSCTBID) reporting record-high revenues.
“Record-high hotel rates led the Santa Barbara South Coast to the highest revenue per room growth of any competitor we monitor,” said Visit Santa Barbara President & CEO Kathy Janega-Dykes during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The council unanimously agreed to renew the SBSCTBID — in which the hotels and vacation rentals from El Capitan to Summerland pay 2 percent of their room revenue to go toward programs and marketing through Visit Santa Barbara — which would extend the contract another 10 years.
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Janega-Dykes said that “2021 was an unexpectedly strong year for our region,” where hotel bookings on the South Coast are even higher than before the pandemic. “But when you look statewide, the tide of good fortune did not rise for all boats equally.”
According to Janega-Dykes, the Santa Barbara South Coast averaged 21 percent higher revenue per hotel room in 2021 than in 2019; cities such as San Diego and Los Angeles saw their revenue fall by 30 percent, and nationwide, there was a drop of 17 percent.
This resulted in a record $26.9 million in transient occupancy taxes for 2021, which Janega-Dykes said “obviously benefits the entire community” through general fund spending.
Councilmember Eric Friedman wondered if the record numbers were sustainable. “Will that taper off?” he asked. Janega-Dykes pointed to the “extremely strong” spring break season. “The forecast really remains optimistic,” she said.
Businesses that pay the assessment are listed on Visit Santa Barbara’s website
(santabarbaraca.com) and receive marketing and promotional programming, including events like the first-ever career fair held last week to tackle the growing problem of labor shortages in the hospitality industry.
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