BRECKENRIDGE - The lodging community is no longer guaranteed three spots on the Breckenridge Marketing Advisory Committee, after town leaders cut a new deal to make the committee more flexible to accept the best and brightest candidates.
Town council members reached a compromise with hotel industry representatives, promising to leave three spots on the committee for members of the lodging community, unless a non-lodging candidate is supported by a 5-2 majority of the council.
An ordinance passed unanimously Tuesday night loosens the previous deal struck with the lodging community when the marketing committee was created in 2010. At that time, the council promised members of the lodging industry three spots on the seven-member board, in exchange for its support on a lodging tax ballot question to generate funds for town marketing efforts.
"We should endeavor to honor (that original) commitment," Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe said. "This just simply gave us that compromise position in the event that we felt ... somebody was so much stronger."
Two seats on the committee will still be reserved for lodging representatives.
New members of the council, elected after the initial deal was made, said they didn't want to be bound by an agreement that would keep them from appointing the best candidates to the committee.
But three council members who were on the council in 2010, Mike Dudick, Jen McAtamney and Mayor John Warner, stood by the agreement and voted against an earlier version of ordinance, which would have stripped lodging of one of its dedicated slots altogether.
Members of the lodging industry supported the measure passed Tuesday after talks with town council members.
"Our intent was to make sure that we had some lodging representation on BMAC," Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center spokesman Bruce Horii said Tuesday.
Both sides said they wanted to avoid damaging the relationship between the town government and the lodging industry.
The Breckenridge Marketing Advisory Committee is charged with high-level management of the town's marketing budget, part of which is directed to the Breckenridge Resort Chamber, the contracted direct marketing organization for the town.
Voters approved the 1 percent lodging tax increase in 2010. The town is now two years into a five-year agreement to supplement that money with an additional .5 percent, ensuring a total 1.9 percent of the 3.4 percent lodging tax revenue is earmarked for marketing efforts.
The tax hike added an additional $1.2 million to the town's marketing budget in 2012.
Though it is difficult to determine the direct return on investment of that money, Breckenridge officials say it likely has had a positive impact on Breckenridge's tourist-driven economy.
"I think the clearest indicator of the success of the increased marketing dollars is that lodging revenue in the town of Breckenridge has grown," said Councilman Mike Dudick, who led the campaign for the tax hike in 2010. "All indicators are that we're doing better than what we have in the past."