Reach the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee

LTAC@KentWA.gov

253-856-5454

Lodging Tax Grant Application Guidelines

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Goal

To fund the marketing, operation and promotion of activities, events or projects that promote Kent both as a business or leisure destination, ultimately bringing more people to the city.

Background

The Lodging Tax Fund is created through a state sales tax on overnight stays at hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, or campgrounds. The program is designed to fund the marketing, operation and promotion of activities, events or projects that promote Kent as a business or leisure destination, such as:

  • Advertising, publicizing, or distributing information to attract and welcome business and/or leisure travelers
  • Developing strategies to expand business/leisure travel or promotion
  • Operations and capital expenditures of tourism-related facilities owned or operated by a municipality or public facilities district
  • Operations of tourism-related facilities owned or operated by non-profit organizations
  • Funding the marketing of, or the operation of special projects, events, or conferences designed to attract business/leisure travelers.

Lodging Tax Committee Grant Funding Criteria

In developing its recommendations, the committee considers the following criteria.

  1. Business or leisure tourism promotion - Does the project/event meet the basic state requirements for tourism promotion? Does it promote a positive image for the city, either as a business or leisure destination? Does it attract visitors, build new audiences, and encourage tourist or business expansion? Does the project increase awareness of the Kent's amenities, business attributes, its workforce, history, facilities and natural environment? Does is support regional business development and tourism planning?
  2. Benefit to the community - How will this project/event benefit Kent? Does this project benefit the overall economics of the community, rather than specific segment or interest?
  3. Innovation - Is this project unusual or unique? Does it promote Kent as an innovation hub from a business standpoint and reinforce Kent’s positive attributes? Does it move an existing program in a new direction?
  4. Community support - Does the project/event have broad-based community appeal or support? What is the evidence of need for this project/event in the city?
  5. Evidence of partnerships - What kind and degree of partnership does the project/event exhibit? Volunteer involvement, interjurisdictional, corporate, business and/or civic organization support?
  6. Other funding sources - What other revenue sources will be used to support this project/event?
  7. Previous and replacement funding - Is this funding request for a new project/event or is to continue or expand an on-going project/event?
  8. Scale of project - Is the project of a scale suitable for this funding program?

Who May Apply for Lodging Tax Grants?

  • 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6) nonprofit organizations, including main street organizations, lodging associations, or chambers of commerce
  • Convention and visitors bureaus
  • Destination marketing organizations
  • Municipalities

Grant Application Guidelines

  1. Organizations may submit more than one application each year, but there must be a separate application form for each project or activity
  2. Grants application requests are suggested to be no less than $3,000 and not constitute more than half of the overall project/activity budget
  3. A $5,000 annual seed fund is available for smaller nonprofit grant requests (under the $3,000 minimum) for eligible activities to help support the potential future growth of the activity.  
  4. Requests for capital projects or facilities requesting operating funds must be located inside the City limits
  5. Special events/conferences/festivals:
    • Must be sponsored by a nonprofit or the City of Kent
    • Grant funds can be used for operational expenses, including marketing and promotion, except for salaries and/or benefits for event organizers, or other key staff and insurance. Funds may be used for security staff, traffic control, etc.
    • Grant funds must be spent within the calendar year.
    • For activities/events/conferences previously funded with Lodging Tax funds (in operation for more than three years), applications must be for expansion or enhancement of the previously funded program, and must be clearly defined and measurable.

Contracting Requirements 

  • Organizations receiving Lodging Tax funds, apart from the City itself, are required to enter into a contract with the City of Kent. The contract will cover project or activity goals, definition of eligible costs, specification of payment procedures, limits of City liability and legal requirements.
  • Half of the grant funds will be provided once the contract is executed. The remaining half will be reimbursed after the activity/event. Grantees must provide a reimbursement invoice, copies of receipts over $100, and a final results report. 
  • Reimbursements will be made within approximately 30-days.
  • Costs incurred prior to the grants being approved by the City Council and execution of the contract are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • The applicant must have liability insurance, in an amount commensurate with the risk of exposure of the project, and which names the City of Kent as an additional insured.
  • Funds awarded for year-round operation of a program or facility will be disbursed quarterly.
  • All events and activities funded with Lodging Tax funds must list the City of Kent as a sponsor.
  • Grant recipients will feature either the City of Kent logo and web address (KentWA.gov) on business-related event marketing and promotional materials or the Visit Kent logo and web address (VisitKent.com) if the activity is for leisure or entertainment purposes.
  • Grantees must submit a final report and invoice with receipts at the end of the project/activity/event including the actual number of people traveling for business or pleasure in the following situations:
    • Travel away from business or residence and staying overnight in paid accommodations
    • Travel 50 miles or more, one way, from their business or residence for the day or overnight
    • Travel from another country or state outside of their business or residence.

Timeline

Sept. 1, 2019 Lodging Tax grant applications available online
Sept. 30, 2019 Lodging Tax grant applications due
Oct. 2019 LTAC review and recommendations
Nov. 2019 City Council review and approval
Dec. 2019 Contracts prepared, finalized and approved

Questions?

Contact Lodging Tax Advisory Committee Liaison, Michelle Wilmot at 253-856-5709.