THE VCTC REVENUES ARE COMING IN STRONG AND ARE AHEAD OF BUDGET
A NEW EVENT VIDEO WAS PREVIEWED AND ITS VERY LIVELY
WHILE EVENTS HAVE SHOWN ATTENDANCE AND REVENUE IMPROVEMENT OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS…..THE REAL QUESTION IS….HAVE THE MERCHANTS SEEN IMPROVEMENT IN THEIR REVENUES?
LASTLY…….WE MAY HAVE ELECTRIC BIKES IN VC AS A TRANSPORTATION OPTION….YEAH….ELECTRIC BIKES AND HILLS…OK THEN…LET’S SEE HOW THAT WORKS OUT
You can find the agenda packet HERE. This was a short meeting.
The Financial update included the Transient Lodging Tax which shows that it is on track for meeting the budget. It also shows that 68% of the revenues come out of TRIC and that the TRIC occupancy rate is significantly higher than in VC. This isn’t a surprise since TRIC doesn’t have the seasonality that VC does.
The Tourism Tax was nothing short of unbelievable. Last month it showed $150k in revenues for the month of September….this is in comparison to the usual number between $40-$60k per month. There was musing but no answer as to where this rock came from. Deny said that it might be the collection of revenues that were late coming in and posted in that month. Someone else said it might be the TRIC zip code kicking in. Bottomline no one knows what it is. The effect is that the YTD Tourism Tax revenues reflected in this report are over $23k the entire year’s budget. That means if no more money comes into Storey County thru June that the VCTC has exceeded its revenue budget today…in January. Hopefully, we will know what’s up by the next meeting.
Deny Dotson, Executive Director of the VCTC said that preparations for next year’s budget were beginning. Commission Chair Corrado DeGasparis noted that this year’s budget reflected an effort on VCTC’s part to respond to specific merchant requests made during the year and expects that the new budget will be as responsive.
Board member Arika Perry asked Deny if he was going to conduct follow-up meetings with the merchants to get feedback from them on how 2019 went and to get inputs into the 2020 budget. Deny said that it was a good idea.
Board member Angelo Petrini asked if anything had been done to look into the on/off trolley idea that has been discussed during the year. Deny said that lack of funds and infrastructure were the main barriers. He noted that since the County owns the Freight Depot that the plan is to expand the parking area there and that it could serve as a hub for VC transportation options. Board member Ron Gallagher said that the VCTC needs to find a partner to do it and not go into the transportation business itself.
The Manager of the Silverland spoke up to say that they were in the process of contracting with a third party to provide electric bikes for rent during the season. These would be well powered and sturdy. There was a bit of discussion about how they would get up our steep hills and back down again and where they would park.
SIDENOTE– I’m all for free enterprise and creative problem solving but electric bikes in VC? Bikes only have two or three wheels, don’t they? Call me old and decrepit, risk averse and a pessimist if you must but……..electric bikes in VC? With our demographic? We’ll be scraping old people off the road either because they couldn’t navigate the streets and fell off, especially on the way down OR were hit by the young ones zooming around while on a pub crawl…who fall off. Then there’s parking. Like we have spare parking on C street (which was the answer to the question)….my bet is that the two-wheeled variety will get parked on the boardwalk. Someone needs to let the Fire Department know to buff up and charge up the defibrillators and get some hip stabilizers….
Ok, enough of THAT…..
You can read the Marketing Update HERE. The new 202 calendar is in there as well as a couple of new videos. It was a 2019 year in review and contained lots of data.
SIDENOTE– Data is good…I like data….but it wasn’t clear to me what that data actually meant relative to what it should be. For example, Facebook growth for the year was 10% ( 5,023 more), Twitter was 8% (286 more) and Instagram was 44% ( 3,815 more)…..they said this was great! That it’s at or better than the industry average. REALLY? What industry and where are those benchmarks? I am not a trusting soul when it comes to data when I finally get it……show me what’s behind the data, the methodology and the benchmarks.
While a 10% and 8% improvement may sound great….look at the discrete numbers….RAD has been at this for how many years? Instagram is a newer effort so the high rate is due to the steep slope of new engagements…what will it level out to and will it be enough?
But I digress…….
They showed two videos. One was a compilation of Christmas on the Comstock which was very, very sweet. It had a nostalgic feel and showed the experience of a small town Christmas. Deny noted that Christmas on the Comstock was a success from a community and a goodwill standpoint. The activities were sold out, had lots of involvement and that it was mostly focused on our community. The budget, while not final and shows a loss of $11k.
The other video was a general event piece which is very active and full of energy. You can view it HERE.
SIDENOTE-VCTC really does a good job with their video products, the quality of the Under the Surface videos is excellent. The Christmas video was a very sweet piece highlighting VC as a special place for a special holiday and will be used again this year. While the general event video is good I found that while it is a great piece to showcase the EVENTS that we have in VC it does nothing for VC itself. Except for the accidental shot of St. Mary of the Mountains, there are no historic locations visible whatsoever. One of the things that the merchants had asked for was a campaign to showcase VC as the historic treasure that it is. VC is so much more than a party town of pub crawls and drinking centered events. VCTC needs to find the magic formula to present the town in its FULL culture.
Liquid Blue also gave a great year in review presentation. Overall there has been steady improvement in attendance as well as event revenues over the last 8 years. At the end, they commented that they hoped that the events showed as much improvement in revenues for the merchants but that they are not able to assess that.
The Silverland reported that they did three times the business this year over last year.
You can find the Groups update HERE and the Pipers update.
……and that’s it!