2018 saw a record number of overnight group bookings in Park City hotels, according to the Park City Chamber/Bureau. And what kind of legislation will the Chamber be keeping an eye on during the 2019 legislative session? KPCW’s Emily Means has more.
Last year, the Chamber/Bureau Group Sales Team booked 195 corporate groups at Park City hotels—43 more than in 2017. The bookings resulted in more than $10 million in room revenue. A press release from the organization pointed to the importance of these group sales, as they keep hotel revenue up during the off-season, when fewer individuals are booking rooms for vacationing. Chamber/Bureau CEO Bill Malone attributes the increase in sales to word of mouth about prime venues, such as the DeJoria Center in Kamas and Utah Olympic Park.
"And so, over the years, we’ve been inviting a lot of meeting planners to come here, and attending a lot of the trade shows where those meeting planners gather," Malone said. "At one time, we weren’t on the radar screen—they would say you just don’t have the facilities or the hotels—and I think today we’re finding more groups that are willing to use multiple hotels for their group, things like that."
Malone also mentioned something the chamber is keeping track of during the upcoming state legislative session. He says talk of tax reform at the Capitol could impact Park City and Summit County, as Gov. Gary Herbert considers lowering the sales tax rate and adding taxes to services.
"We have local governments here that are totally dependent on the sales tax methodology; we have people who come in from outside, spend money, and that’s how we tax them, with sales tax, and then they leave," Malone said. "So we have lower populations but higher budgets out of that, but those budgets need to be higher because we’re servicing those guests as well. So, that’s going to be an interesting thing to watch. You know, the governor talks a lot about lowering the rate and broadening the base on that, but in communities that are dependent upon outside influences to come in and spend those dollars, not sure taxing haircuts is going to make that much of a difference when it comes to us."
Malone says the Chamber will also keep an eye on housing and transportation legislation. He hasn’t heard much discussion around liquor laws or nightly rentals.