Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Council and "Lodging Tax Advisory Committee" plan for more visitors to "Experience Redmond", 6/2011

Since this opinion was published on 6/30/2011 Realize Redmond, and Redmond Economic Development Assoc have been disolved and consolidated into "ONE REDMOND."   The Chamber has "tentatively consolidated" into ONE REDMOND.  ONE REDMOND is barely in the radar, led by Group Health, Microsoft and other stakeholders.  Please read the comments below this post for "the rest of the story."  And please, post your own..  BY

REPUBLISHED OPINION (6/30/2011):  History was made in three different ways (1) in this week's Council meeting. The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) met with city council members and the mayor for the first time in their 13 years of operation.  If  Dan Angellar, General Manager of the Redmond Marriott of Redmond Town Center has his way LTAC will be meeting and partnering with Council every year.

A community role for LTAC might be described as a "tourism alliance". Agnellar said they try to bring Redmond's three economic groups together to stimulate tourism and increase "heads and beds".  Over $337,300 was raised last year from from the 1% lodge tax. So far 50% of LTAC tax revenues go to "Bullseye Creative" - a website branding organization.  (A Blog was created and tags with RNB on search engines.)  $31,365 goes to promoting private and city sponsored events. Councilmember John Stilin suggested allocating more funds towards the events to attract more people and perhaps less emphasis on the website.  Read More >>

Everyone agreed that attracting visitors to stay over an extra night is critical. Miguel Llanos, an editor for MSNBC and second longest LTAC member, recommended expanding current city events into Sunday by developing the richness of events to increase "heads and beds".  He suggested a Sunday Derby Days "Bike-Around-the-Lake" event and extending Ananda Mela.  Miguel coordinates matching grants for the major cultural, arts, recreation, and heritage events. Dan Angellar praised Miguel for growing the matching grants.

John Stilin suggested cultural events scattered throughout the year focusing on Redmond's international cultures, for example,. East Indian, Asian, Latino.  Others suggested promoting Redmond Arts, Parks, and Recreation (e.g. lacrosse, cricket, Frisbee, Senior Open, soccer, cheer-leading, biking).  Angellar and Stilin wanted more hotels and restaurants to "increase capacity".  Absence of night life is loud and clear.

Councilmember Pat Vache' tipped his hat to the REDA-Realize Redmond-Chamber trio. He said in three months they'll be branded and visible. Bullseye is re-branding their "Experience Redmond" website to remove the "Paint the Town" tag. Taxpayer funds paid Bullseye to re-brand "Realize Redmond."

Members of the LTAC are Chris Falco (Redmond CPA of 20 years), Miguel Llanos, Dave Norwood (General Manager, Redmond Inn), Dan Angellar, and Scott Scheriff of Hotel Sierra, and Christina Henning or Redmond Town Center.  Councilmember Dave Carson facilitated the round-table, though lost his voice for most of the meeting.

Opinion By Bob Yoder, 6/2011

(1) History was brought into the limelight three times: 1) During the intros, Mayor John Marchione noted his great-grandfather was on Pt. Townsend's first city council (1886). 2) Dan Angellar announced the State tourism office was closing this week, making Washington the only state in the nation without a tourism office. 3) This was the first meeting of Council with RTAC in 13 years of LTAC existence. Miguel Llanos, Senior VP Redmond Historical Society, must have felt like he was in a candy shop.


Unknown said...

Hi Bob,

Just a quick correction. Taxpayer funds did not pay Bullseye to rebrand Realize Redmond.

The Taxpayer funds donated to The Redmond Foundation (now Realize Redmond) were used to help the organization get started, create our strategic plan, set up our office (the actual office space is graciously donated by Thinkspace) and staff the organization to allow for fundraising.

The rebranding was paid for through a small portion of the additional fundraising that was generated by the leveraged seed money from the City.

It should also be noted that Bullseye very generously donated over 50% of their services to help our organization create a successful brand.


Jeni Craswell
Executive Director
Realize Redmond

Bob Yoder said...

I see. It appears you've already spent the $50,000 in taxpayer seed money on launching "Realize Redmond" and your operating costs are now being funding by private donations.

It will be good to see what percent of your donations over time are spent on administrative costs.

David Carson said...

Bob, it's the LTAC (Lodging Tax Advisory Committee), but it's referred to as RTAC in a couple of places in the story.

Bob Yoder said...

The Redmond Foundation (REALIZE REDMOND) folded and Jeni Craswell moved onto an nonprofit that raised funds for funding for homeless Vets. (Jeni is the Mayor's campaign manager.)

All the funds Realize Redmond raised and the LTAC raise are now folded into "ONE REDMOND" (which is supposed to include the Chamber now).

This just shows how hard it is to follow the money of non profits founded by taxpayer money. And then most of of them fail - in the absence of significant private sector engagement