The Beachwood Economic Development Committee discussed a proposal from the Chamber of Commerce for a Beachwood Convention and Vistiors Bureau (CVB) at Monday’s meeting.
Hotels need to get on board for the CVB to happen, said Beachwood City Council members, and so far they have not agreed to contribute money, though one manager said he would consider the option.
Chamber Executive Director Wayne Lawrence told committee members that Beachwood’s six hotels, which would benefit from a successful CVB, are interested but, during committee meetings with Lawrence, have not committed to helping to fund the bureau in its first year.
“They believe that they’ve made some investment already in pulling people to Beachwood,” said Lawrence.
Homewood Suites' Thomas Rousher told Beachwood Patch he would consider contributing to the CVB's seed money and its ongoing budget.
Lawrence told the Economic Development Committee Monday, “I do fully expect hotels to contribute going forward. I just don’t know at what level.”
“Those six entities still need to have some skin in the game,” said Councilman Saul Eisen.
Councilman Brian Linick was skeptical that the strategy would bring more business to Beachwood from downtown and other communities that are closer to Cleveland, and said that he thinks the city should wait until an Economic Development Department is in place to make such a move.
“I’d rather use that money and target something specific like a new hotel in the area that would start pushing these other hotels to start improving,” he said.
Councilman Mark Wachter supported the idea. “If you don’t do anything, then it’s pretty hard to see the results.”
“I’m not trying to bring business to six hotels,” said Lawrence. “I’m trying to bring more business to Beachwood.”
The CVB’s first-year budget, at $65,000 would be paid for out of the city’s revenue from bed taxes the hotels generate — around $750,00 for 2011. Beginning in April 2013 the cost will be no more than $150,000 annually, said Lawrence.
Lawrence intends to ask the hotels for a contribution beginning in 2013, he said.
About 65 percent of the proposed first-year budget is for marketing, and the rest for operational costs. The CVB, as a separate organization from the Chamber, would have less than the equivalent of two full-time employees.
The CVB would employ a part-time marketing assistant and Lawrence would spend half his time overseeing operations. It would also require a few hours a week of bookkeeping and payroll.