California Vacation and Hotel News - Burbank is Charging 1%, Too!

Pictured is sunny, downtown Burbank, one of the highlights to visits and overnight stays in the city that celebrates its 100th birthday in 2011.

Price is an important factor in deciding where to go and stay on vacation. However, basic hotel room rates often are just the start of the fees you'll be charged after it's all said and done and you check out of a room that started out at $99, but can end up costing much more. Cities looking for cash in their coffers are more & more adding 1% assessment taxes or more to your bill on top of the taxes you pay when staying at the hotel. All said and done, you are looking at approx. 10% or more extra costs on top of the hotel room rate in many California cities. (Some savvy shoppers have begun to seek out and stay in cities nearby places that charge assessments to enjoy savings and avoid these extra fees that can add up to an extra $100 or more on longer vacations.)

Burbank visitors are going to pay 1% more when they stay at Burbank hotels as the city implements a new assessment on larger hotels to help pay for a tourism district. Expected to generate $2.6 million over 5 years, local hotels will be assessed 1% of their monthly revenues - a cost that is passed along to guests. One Councilmember, David Gordon, voted against it and said in a sluggish economy this a bad idea. Burbank officials said they weren't concerned with the affect of higher hotel rates on tourism. 60 cities in California already have hotel assessment districts and 13 are in the process of forming them.

Hotel assessments generate $11.5 million a year in Los Angeles to market the city as the place to visit. $9.5 million helps fund Anaheim/OC Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing agency and $7.6 million in Palm Springs and its surrounding cities, according to Burbank's research report. These agencies generally produce websites, magazines, ad campaigns, and efforts to increase hotel bookings through travel conferences, conventions, etc.

In Burbank representatives from 9 hotels signed petitions supporting the formation of a district which normally hires a full time position (job) and staff to begin marketing the city. The 1% assessment will be added to each guest's final bill. While 1% of $100 is only $1, when you examine all the fees you are paying for a room, it adds up quickly. Even with the rise in prices and assessment fees at many of California's major cities such as Los Angeles, the California hotel industry experienced increases in performance metrics during the week of July 3-9, 2011, according to data released. Could the economy be bouncing back-or is this just a one-time event that enjoyed success because the 4th of July holiday fell on a Monday?

In year-over-year comparisons for the week, occupancy rose 2 % to 63.8 %, average daily rate increased 3.4 % to US$98.40, and revenue per available room finished the week up 5.4 % to US$62.74.

Among the Top 25 Markets, California had 3 star performers:

Anaheim-Santa Ana, California, rose 12.1 % in occupancy to 82.2 %, reporting the largest increase in that metric.
Los Angeles-Long Beach, California (+10.1 % to 73.5 %). It also had double-digit ADR increases for the week. Los Angeles-Long Beach (+11.2 % to US$124.45)
San Francisco/San Mateo, California (+10.9 percent to US$135.44).

Los Angeles-Long Beach jumped 22.5 percent in RevPAR to US$91.46, reporting the largest increase in that metric and Anaheim-Santa Ana had +20.2 % to US$98.61.

Five other markets posted occupancy increases of more than 10%

Miami-Hialeah, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Phoenix, Arizona
Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida

New Orleans, Louisiana
Atlanta, Georgia,
Washington, D.C.

Brand satisfaction: Though overall guest satisfaction at hotels was down in the past year, several brands posted significant improvements. W Hotels reported a 32-point jump on the 1,000-point scale of satisfaction; Loews rose 29 points; Holiday Inn and Best Western rose 16 points; Best Western gained 15 points. Among mid-scale limited service hotels, Wingate by Wyndham experienced an increase of 19 points, while La Quinta posted an improvement of 15 points. Days Inn posted the strongest satisfaction improvement among economy & budget hotels, rising 17 points.

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