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REGIONAL MARKETING: Great Lakes Bay Hikes Tourism Income While Averages Lag

Region Spending $2.3 Million/Year on Tourism Promotion, 17% On Management

March 5, 2015       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Tourism marketing through the Great Lakes Bay Region has hiked total hotel/motel revenue in Bay County by nearly $4.3 million dollars -- to an annual total of $15.5 million -- in the last four years.

"Bay City and County residents benefit from tourism spending with no local residential or business tax being used in the efforts!" said Annette Rummel, director of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Tourism Bureau.

"The Bay County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is fully funded by an assessment voluntarily voted into place by the hotels within Bay County; it is only through this assessment that tourism marketing of Bay County occurs.

"The CVB, whose leadership is made up of hoteliers and members of the tourism industry, made the conscious decision to drastically reduce overhead and eliminate duplication of efforts by joining forces with Midland County and Saginaw County to market as Michigan's great Lakes Bay Region."

Bay County has compiled a "nest egg" of $150,000 in restricted net assets at the end of 2013, being saved to build a Visitor Information Center building within the City of Bay City for local bureau operations and with the ultimate goal to share these facilities with other non-profit organizations and reduce overhead operations for all, said Ms. Rummel.

"The idea is to create an iconic building, serving as a visitor attraction and reaching out to welcome all visitors to the community," stated Ms. Rummel. A lighthouse style building is one of many concepts being considered by the Board of Directors.

A 7.4 percent rise in Bay County hotel/motel occupancy was experienced in 2012. In 2013 additional growth of 22.9 percent was achieved over and above 2012 levels. In 2014 the growth slowed over 2013 and has leveled off at 9.8 percent, figures from Smith Travel Research show.

But the average daily occupancy rate of 57.8 percent in Bay County for 2014 remains behind the national average of 62.2 percent.

The Bay County average daily room room rate of $91.24 in 2014 is up substantially from $76.38 in 2012 while the total number of rooms has remained relatively stable.

Saginaw County's average daily room rate of $87.87 is up from $77.62 in 2011 while Midland's ADR last year was $106.94 as compared to $91.53 in 2011.

Midland County, which paid in more than $650,000 in 2013 to the regional bureau, contributed more than $704,000 in 2014.

However, Midland County hotels/motels brought in a total of $22.9 million in 2014, up from $21.5 million in 2011.

Saginaw County made a $1,191,000 regional contribution in 2013, and $1,139,000 in 2014, with delinquent payments contributing to this downturn.

Saginaw County's total hotel/motel 2014 revenue of $59.3 million was up from $50.7 million in 2011.

The regional bureau reported $416,574 in management and general expenses, about 17 percent of total expenses of $2,350,059, and $1,933,485 in advertising and promotion spending in 2013.

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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