Tourist Development Tax collection May 2019

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by James Bentwood, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    Tourist Development Tax collection showed an impressive 20.28% increase in South Walton for May 2019, compared with the previous year. The Tourist Development Tax, or bed tax, is a four percent tax collected on hotels, condos and other short term rentals. It is the best way to gauge visitation and demand trends in South Walton. The revenue supports tourism marketing and beach operations including cleaning and maintaining beaches, lifeguards, destination improvements and preservation initiatives.

    Can someone tell me how this is possible when I hear from rental companies that business is down?
     
  2. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    Maybe because the scenario isn't the doom and gloom that some predict? What gets written about on social media is the worst case and the places where conflict arises. It would be really interesting to know how much ACTUAL conflict there is instead of just what the fear mongers have been/are predicting. A friend of mine who is a rental manager says some locations/properties have been aversely affected, but that others are booming. She noted that the main difference has been that there have been more late reservations this year instead of everything filling up by March or so.
     
  3. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    It doesn't add up. Every year they keep increasing tax collections. We are adding new units but rental companies say business is down. I suspected resorts like Seaside, Watersound, rosemary beach, sandestin might get more business because of the provate beaches but they also say business is down. And they are pretty built out so not adding new units each year like seagrove and other free zones. Maybe improved collections from people who didn't pay before?
     
  4. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    Improved collections may be part of it and rising rental prices contribute, too.
     
  5. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    It could be that there are so many more start up rental agencies and many people just renting through VRBO that makes the figures for the established big rental companies go down.
     
  6. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    Rising prices could be part of it. But that would make TDC bragging BS if they are crowing about putting more heads in beds.

    Good point except wouldn't the other side of the equation stay the same, or likely go down with less reporting? So tax revenues would stay same or drop.
     
  7. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Spring Visitor Tracking Study:

    The Spring 2019 Visitor Tracking Survey results show strong continued growth in key economic impacts versus Spring 2018.

    Room night visits rose by 5.4%, total visitor numbers were up by 8.2% and direct spending rose by 9.7% to exceed $900 million. For lodging partners, occupancy grew by 2.8% and ADR and RevPAR were both up at $304.42 and $186.00 respectively.

    The research confirmed Atlanta remained the lead origin of Spring visitors, followed by Pensacola/Mobile, Nashville and Birmingham. Four out of 10 visitors plan their Spring vacation to South Walton four months in advance, and nearly 2 out of 5 visitors viewed the Visit South Walton visitor guide before travelling.

    The typical visitor party size was 5 or 6 guests and more than 80% of visitors in Spring 2019 drove to the destination.

    The full study can be accessed here.
     
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  8. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    SoWal.com website visitors up 58% for May 2019 over same month last year.
    SoWal.com website visitors up 26.5% for 2019 through Jun 30 over same period last year.
    Vistors to SoWal.com hail from, in order:
    Atlanta
    Mobile-Pensacola
    NOLA
    Orlando
    Nashville
    Dallas
    Birmingham
    Tallahassee
    Houston
    Tampa-St. Pete
    Chicago
    New York
    Washington DC
    Memphis
    St. Louis
    Jacksonville
    Louisville
     
  9. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    FWIW, this year is a little different regarding state sales tax collection on VRBO rentals. VRBO is now obligated to collect AND directly submit ALL of the state portion of “transient rental” sales tax to Florida. However, the owner / management company still must submit the county TDC tax portion directly as it has been through the years. Does this figure in to the discrepancy of “slower busniness” vs. “more tax revenue”? Inquiring minds (conspiracy theorists) want to know.
     
  10. Dawn

    Dawn Beach Fanatic

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    I don't follow.
     
  11. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    One idea. I am not sure how enforcement and auditing has been happening. It's possible that audits are being done remotely by the employee that telecommutes from Birmingham, and a large audit collection can skew numbers. Been there, done that, got a few t-shirts.
    More likely though...this could have changed since I left, but traditionally 75 - 80% (at least) of Walton County's bed tax collections come from only 5 companies - none of which are affected by the CU issue because they are largely self-contained, have entertainment, shopping, things that put the heads in their beds - and they also have their own beach. Toss in another six relatively large companies and you now have 85 - 90% of total collections. The point is that no matter how much angst most of the rental companies with properties with limited beach access are going through, collections are going to be up if guests for numbers 1 - 5 keep coming back. And since properties with beach access can now command more of a premium, prices could have increased too.
     
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  12. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    Who else goes on this list as top ten or so?

    Rosemary Beach Cottage Rental Co.
    Seaside - Cottage Rental Agency
    Gulf Place
    Sandestin
    Seascape

    Resortquest (bought by Wyndham)
    360 Blue (bought St. Joe rental biz)
    Garrett Realty Vacation Rentals
    Dune Allen Realty Vacation Rentals
    Ocean Reef (bought Rivard)
     
  13. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    HeHeHe...highly confidential info - though I haven't been under the county confidentiality agreement for 4 years. You are pretty close - missed two major ones and three of those, while sizable, didn't make the top ten back in the day.

    And by confidential...even the TDC by Florida Statute cannot get confirmation of who the top ones are (though staff has a pretty good idea) or how much each one collects. Most people are surprised to learn that. We did have a former TDC director that went so far as to have the statute changed, but the resulting changes not only didn't accomplish what he wanted, it made statistical reporting more stringent. Boy was that a difficult conversation to have.,,
     
  14. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    Seems like freedom of information act or sunshine law should allow it to be public.
     
  15. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    Not subject to the Sunshine Law. The bed tax is governed by the same set of statutes that the Florida Department of Revenue is bound by regarding state sales tax. The only parties information can be shared with is the Department of Revenue and other counties with whom you might share a rental company with (joint enforcement). And then, only if used for official purposes - and only certain people in any county are granted access. Each person has to sign a confidentiality agreement and also sign a form to turn back in the the Department of Revenue.
    I miss the people I met and *most* of the people I used to work with. I don't miss the red tape.
     

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