The Pacifica Hotel Business Improvement District projects a slow recovery from devastating tourism impacts of the pandemic. So says a report from the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, given to the City Council on June 14.
The report, in letter form to City Manager Kevin Woodhouse signed by Chamber board member Archie Judan, addressed the continued impact of COVID-19 on Pacifica’s hotel industry and projected better days in the second half of 2021. The report notes that the bad news is expected to change now that the governor has opened up California.
”Dramatic reduction in revenue due to COVID-19 has been a challenge. It appears we will start experiencing increased visitors with the statewide changes in restrictions in June 2021,” the report states.
The report states BID will maximize hotels’ investment in promoting Pacifica. In 2020, a seventh hotel was added to BID, Anchor Inn, in Pedro Point. The public relations firm Hook, Line and Thinker will arrange promotions to travel writers to stay in those hotels and learn more about Pacifica.
“Due to reduced funding, this relationship will continue to be monitored carefully to manage available funds,” the report states.
The chamber will continue to provide visitor support and informational posters and other materials in a kiosk in Rockaway. The redesign of the Visit Pacifica website has been completed and marketing opportunities are being identified, the report states.
BID revenues projected for 2020-21 are lower this year. Resources total $56,054. Expenses total $45, 234. The chamber estimates $80,819 in revenues next year against $79,000 in expenses.
In 2020-21, BID expenditures approved Hook, Line and Thinker for an annual total of $24,277 and $4,000 is proposed to go into web design.
At the start of the lockdown, hotel operators expected to lose 85 percent of their business, but that didn’t happen. Two hotels worked closely with housing voucher programs, LifeMoves, the governor’s Project Room Key and the Pacifica Resource Center to fill those rooms. One hotel housed construction workers, another medical staff. Holiday Inn Express is expected to complete construction this year, going from 37 rooms to 84. Revenue is down from VRBO and Airbnb. The BID is funded with a $1 a day tax on hotel guests.
City Council approved the report and the program expenditures and assessed the same levy as last year.
“This has always had a good balance but now it is low, said Councilmember Mike O’Neill. “What liability does the city have when we run a deficit? I didn’t know you had made a commitment to buy an ad.”
Chamber board members Lisa Eccleston and Lynn Gallo addressed that concern.
“We did not commit to anything we did not have the money for. That is how we operate. With COVID-19, the hotels did better because they accepted vouchers and were able to charge full rate. People are asking about coming to Pacifica. We have a new website that promotes Pacifica,” said Gallo.
Mayor Sue Beckmeyer thanked the chamber board members for promoting all the businesses in Pacifica, not just the chamber members. Councilmember Tygarjas Bigstyck said he was glad the hotels did better in part because the Pacifica Resource Center funneled money into them.
O’Neill proposed and the others agreed the city should have more oversight over the BID program.
“We budget $50,000 to the economic development committee to market Pacifica. We are doing the same thing,” he said.