Georgia $5 Hotel Tax an Unwelcome Surprise

By Matt Swenson, September 8, 2015

By virtue of his position as managing director and meeting planner of the North American Christian Convention, Larry Collins has seen his share of hotel fees. But when the Georgia state legislature passed a $5-per-night surcharge for all hotels and motels in July, Collins had seen enough. Now, when he looks at destinations for his annual summer event, he won’t consider Atlanta—the state’s capital and biggest market, and the city most affected by the tax. 

“I do not want to encourage them after they have added this new fee,” says Collins. “There is no basis to extract more from the patronizing attendee with yet another fee.” Lawmakers and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal agree to disagree. The funds generated by the move are slated to help improve the state’s roads. Whether that goal will be realized is up for debate. PKF Hospitality Research casts doubt the state will raise the $200 million that’s earmarked because of reactions like those of Collins.

“The cost to my attendee is important to me, as travel costs will negatively impact conference participation by my attendees,” says Collins, who repeatedly says the state didn’t use common sense when adding the fee.

Mark Vaughan, executive vice president and chief sales officer at the Atlanta CVB, knows Collins isn’t alone. “The feedback we’ve had short term has been disturbing,” he says.

Nevertheless, Vaughan remains confident in Atlanta as a good value for meetings. He says it holds as one of the least expensive of the country’s top 25 markets, noting Florida’s resort fees and New York’s high prices as examples of deterrents planners confront elsewhere.

Part of the criticism is that the tax, passed in the final hours of the general session, was unexpected and unwelcomed news for the area’s hospitality industry. “It caught us by surprise,” admits Vaughan. “I don’t think that’s any secret.”

He says the CVB is pushing for revisions to the law, which has also drawn the ire of the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association. Gov. Deal says he has no plans to repeal the tax. 

(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)

During a recent speech at Leadercast, Andy Stanley challenged the way leaders often delegate.

Stephanie Donoho, administrative director of the Kohala Coast Resort Association dispels myths from the Big Island’s 2018 eruption.

Here are four ways to incorporate mindfulness into meetings.

Explore L.A., where the great outdoors awaits groups.

Following these six steps to create a zero-waste event.

Lay the foundation of a successful business with these 10 commandments to live by.

Posture, lighting and snacks are part of the ways to maintain wellness at work.

The golden formula for all meetings, incentives and event professionals is as simple as SOUP.

Here are the latest trends to help you combat stress during your workday

Adding to your rotation of industry podcasts could take your business to the next level.

The best social media practices for meeting planners to engage your event attendees from start to finish

Great Wolf Georgia proves to be the perfect spot for meeting and event planners or simply a quick family getaway.

Explore Monterey, California, where the great outdoors awaits groups.

Katherine Lo, founder and president of Eaton Workshop and Sheldon Scott, director of culture at Eaton DC give us an inside look into the trendy DC stayover.

Stephanie Klett, Wisconsin’s Secretary of Tourism for the past eight years, was named as the new president and chief executive officer of VISIT Lake

Explore Squaw Valley, California, where the great outdoors awaits groups.

Read More