New Albany News

Chamber to market city with $30K from bed tax

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The New Albany Chamber of Commerce will receive $30,000 of the bed-tax revenue generated by New Albany's first hotel to market the city to visitors.

New Albany City Council on Oct. 16 authorized the chamber's share of revenue from the 6 percent bed tax on hotel rooms, which City Council approved in 2010. The Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Forest Drive is expected to open by the end of the year.

The bed tax is estimated to generate $120,000 annually, according to city spokesman Scott McAfee. The Courtyard hotel will receive $60,000 of the tax revenue for marketing purposes, the chamber will receive $30,000 and the rest will go into the city's general fund.

Chamber President Eileen Leuby said the chamber already markets the area for local businesses.

In the chamber of commerce's proposal requesting a share of the bed-tax revenue, chamber officials said they would provide "strategies and tactics that grow hotel occupancy and initiatives that place an emphasis on attracting visitors to the city for signature events and attractions," using advertising, marketing and communication vehicles such as a website, social media, the visitors' guide and other promotional material.

The chamber plans to expand promotions related to activities and recreation, arts and culture, dining, shopping, sports and entertainment and local accommodations, according to its business plan.

The chamber also plans to form a tourism task force to oversee tourism operations and finance management, market the community outside New Albany and create awareness of the city through a strategic plan.

Plans developed by the tourism task force will be reviewed annually by New Albany's economic development commission, Leuby said. The task force will include a member of the commission, which advises city officials on issues pertaining to business development and reviews incentive packages used to lure new businesses to the city.

Though Leuby said her staff is small in size, the chamber of commerce will handle what it can in house and contract for services if needed.

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