Port Angeles renews $257,985 contract for marketing

Patrick Downie

Patrick Downie

PORT ANGELES — With lodging tax revenue at an all-time high, the city of Port Angeles has renewed a contract with Vertigo Marketing to promote the city as a tourist destination.

The City Council voted 7-0 last week to approve a $257,985 professional services agreement with Vertigo for continued marketing efforts in 2018.

“Whatever Vertigo Marketing is doing, it’s working,” outgoing Mayor Patrick Downie said at the Dec. 19 council meeting.

“Word is getting out that we’re a pretty cool place to visit.”

Lodging tax

Funding for the promotional services agreement with the Redmond, Ore.-based firm comes from the city’s Lodging Tax Fund, a 4 percent tax on overnight stays at hotels, motels and other lodging establishments.

The “heads in beds” tax is taken as a credit against the 6.5 percent state sales tax.

Record amount

The city had received a record $681,407 in lodging tax revenue through November.

The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee recommended — and the City County approved — $827,000 in lodging spending in 2018, including some reserves.

The council authorized a $230,000 expenditure for Vertigo Marketing at its Nov. 7 meeting and upped the amount by $27,985 based on new revenue projections.

“The lodging tax fund has seen, year after year, solid increases since Vertigo began its efforts for us in 2016, and these increases have been coupled with the highest room occupancy during the summer months in Port Angeles’ history,” Deputy Mayor Cherie Kidd said at the last council meeting.

“We’re ending the year on the highest-ever increase.”

Vertigo Marketing has expanded media outreach and marketed Port Angeles in new ways, Kidd said.

“Obviously it’s working,” she added.

Vertigo subcontracts with a host of local professionals and businesses, according to materials provided to the City Council.

Vertigo Marketing’s 2018 scope of work includes brochures, public relations, social media, website services, surveys, merchandise, photography, event and cruise ship promotion, bicycle tourism and advertisements purchased in various Pacific Northwest visitor guides and magazines.

“A great deal of work has been done by Vertigo to create innovation relative to the marketing approach for the city of Port Angeles,” Community Development and Economic Director Nathan West told the council.

The $257,985 contract amendment with Vertigo is the largest allocation among the 2018 lodging tax-funded projects.

Other major spending from the heads in beds tax includes $100,000 for Civic Field improvements, $100,000 for directional information signs or wayfinding, and $85,000 for events.

Earlier this year, the council directed staff to reinvest lodging tax revenue for tourism-related capital projects.

Councilmember Lee Whetham said the city “starved” itself of capital projects in recent years despite a nearly two-fold increase in lodging tax revenue.

“We gave all our money to mostly out-of-town companies,” Whetham said.

“We owe people that live here something tangible, something people can put their hands on.”

On average, the city spent 12 percent of its lodging tax revenue on capital projects throughout the past five years, West said.

Next year, 30 percent of the lodging tax spending will be on capital projects such as sports fields and BMX track development.

Marketing accounted for about 40 percent of lodging tax spending throughout the past five years and represents 31 percent of the spending in 2018.

Operating funds have increased from 23 percent to 29 percent in 2018 while event spending has dipped from a five-year average of 21 percent to 10 percent, West said.

West suggested that the council approve a “very balanced approach relative to lodging tax and relative to past years.”

“But certainly, I respect the fact that the council also wants the lodging tax committee to look at additional items for capital,” West said.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Nathan West

Nathan West

More in News

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer as coworker Robert Bufford prepares to secure the load as the pair prepares to open the parking lot at Port Angeles City Pier to automobiles on Friday. The work was part of a project to improve storm drainage, replace damaged sidewalks and ADA ramps and mitigate shoreline erosion around the lot, which had been closed since early January. Tree replacement and other project detail work is expected to follow over the next few weeks.
City Pier parking open

Chris Johnson of Nordland-based Nordland Construction loads traffic drums onto a trailer… Continue reading

Sequim Citizen of the Year luncheon on Tuesday

Emiko Brock, Labbe, Olsen to be honored

EYE ON THE PENINSULA: Broadband, public health before county boards

Government meetings across North Olympic Peninsula

A pair of Clallam Transit buses sit at The Gateway Transit Center in Port Angeles in preparation for their fixed-route runs on Thursday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Clallam Transit sees large rise in ridership

No issues seen with new zero-fare policy

Plans move ahead for Quilcene skate park

Jefferson County, volunteers seek grants

Peninsula College Foundation reports record levels of giving

Programs, students both recipients of funds

County to repave section of Carlsborg Road

Clallam County commissioners will consider awarding a contract for… Continue reading

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail and the entrance to the Port Angeles City Pier parking lot on Wednesday as part of a project to improve sidewalks and storm water drainage around the site. The project is expected to be substantially completed and the parking lot reopened by mid-March. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles City Pier

A paving crew from Lakeside Industries replaces pavement on the Waterfront Trail… Continue reading

Port Townsend approves utility rate changes, renames skate park

Public hearing set for Transportation Benefits District

Slate of initiatives has upended Olympia, lobbyist says

‘Potential showstoppers’ described at Coffee with Colleen

Artist Chris Stevenson, who described herself as an urban sketcher from Port Townsend, uses a pencil for scale as she sketches the work at the new entrance to Point Hudson Marina on Monday morning. A group in town, the Port Townsend Urban Sketchers will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday to sketch at the Port Townsend Aero Museum. Sessions are free and open to sketchers of all skill levels. For more information, see www.urbansketchersporttownsend.wordpress.com. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Marina art

Artist Chris Stevenson, who described herself as an urban sketcher from Port… Continue reading