May 7, 2019 •

Discover Coronado Annual Report Presented to City Council

CrownCityPhoto3 CopyAs reported on May 3, 2019 by the Coronado Eagle & Journal

During the Coronado City Council meeting of April 16, 2019, a couple of issues nudged the Annual report of Discover Coronado, presented by Executive Director Todd Little, out of the spotlight. But the work of Discover Coronado shouldn’t be given short shrift, because non-profit marketing group has a positive impact on the city and the four primary hotels in Coronado.

Discover Coronado is the marketing name for two agencies, Coronado Tourism Improvement Districts I and II. The CTID I was founded in 2010, and CTID was founded in 2015. Both agencies levy an assessment of 0.5 percent, for a total of 1.0 percent, on the four main hotels in the city, The Hotel Del Coronado, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, the Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa, and the Glorietta Bay Inn. The revenue generated from the assessments goes to help market the four properties for potential conventions, meetings and seminars at the member hotels. The assessments must be renewed annually by the city council. Between CTID I and II, a total of $1,400,000 in revenue is projected for FY 2020.

Fully $916,000 goes back out in marketing and destination sales costs, to attract group visitors to Coronado. And another $210,000 is spent in three areas that directly benefit Coronado, including Community Art Banners ($40,000), Mass Transit Initiatives ($100,000) and Destination Revitalization ($70,000).

The 2018 numbers presented by Little to the City Council showed increases in three important areas. There were 973 conventions in the last year, a number that increased by 8 percent; 94,958 attendees came to the city, up 12 percent; and groups generated 210,449 room nights, up 11 percent. Another way to look at the numbers is $59 million in hotel revenue was generated and $112 million in visitor spending was created, according to a report prepared by Tourism Economics. In addition, the member hotels generated $7 million in transient occupancy taxes for the City of Coronado.

Discover Coronado’s emphasis on convention marketing and sales to groups as opposed to tourists was explained in the 2019 Annual Report. Groups and conventions come between October and April, as opposed to tourists who come between May and September; Conferences occur mid-week, while tourist vacations impact weekends; Groups arrive via coach or hired shuttle and tourists typically arrive in personal cars, use parking spaces and impact traffic; and Groups have more affluent customers, as opposed to tourists who are generally family-oriented and more budget-friendly.

In other tidbits gleaned from the Discover Coronado Annual Report:

• The regions that historically produce the most convention and meeting leads for Coronado are San Francisco, Seattle, Texas and Los Angeles/Orange County.

• In 2018, Discover Coronado rolled out a new program to keep group business in the city. If one resort is unable to host a perspective group, a $2 per room night incentive is paid to a sales manager who forwards a lead to another Coronado resort.

• Most U.S. companies do not schedule conferences during civic holidays. The San Diego Tourism Authority, under the direction of the Discover Coronado Board, targets groups in Canada to fill the unsold holiday meeting space.

• Group sales outreach involving the Glorietta Bay Inn and the Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa, partnering with the Brian Bent Memorial Aquatics Center, has proven to be a win-win marketing plan for both. Out-of-town water polo and swim teams come to Coronado to work out between September and May. The effort generated $120,661 in total room revenue for the two hotels and benefitted the Coronado Unified School District to the tune of $32,300 in revenue derived from pool rentals.

• The free Holiday Shuttle, which is paid for by Discover Coronado and ran for 38 days in 2018, carried 19,570 passengers over that time. Discover Coronado also provided the distinctive bus wrappings for the free Summer Shuttle, a partnership with the City of Coronado for the past five years.

• Since 2016, Discover Coronado has paid for the conception, design, installation and upkeep of the artistic banners that are displayed on Orange Avenue between First Street and City Hall.

• The Discover Coronado officers for FY20 include Chair Sean Clancy of the Loews Coronado Bay Resort; Vice Chair Harold Rapoza of the Hotel Del Coronado; Treasurer Claudia Ludlow of the Glorietta Bay Inn; and Secretary Sue Gillingham of the Coronado Chamber of Commerce.

• Discover Coronado is a non-profit organization, that is required to provide quarterly reports to the City of Coronado, and a year-end financial report within 90 days of the end of the CTIDs’ fiscal year.

After hearing Little’s report and work plan for the coming year, the City Council voted 4-0, with Sandke recused due to a conflict of interest, to continue the assessment. The four member hotels have the right to protest the continuation of either CTID I or CTID II or both. A public hearing will be held Tuesday, May 21, 2019, for a final vote to continue the assessments.