In an effort to bring more tourism to Crook County, Commissioner Seth Crawford and representatives of Brasada Ranch recently obtained the support of all County transient room tax (TRT) recipients and the County Court to renew the County’s inclusion in Visit Bend’s marketing programs.
The County first joined Visit Bend’s marketing programs in March 2014 following the approval of a Tourism Grant application submitted by Brasada Ranch. The initial approval was for a six month period, March 2014 through August 2014. During that time, Brasada Ranch has shown Visit Bend has become the number one website referrer to Brasada.com, outpacing all other websites by thousands, with the obvious exception of Google. Moreover, using sophisticated online and telephone tracking systems, Brasada Ranch has shown the reservations and transient room taxes generated by the Visit Bend marketing programs have been 2-2.5 time more than the County’s initial investment.
“Brasada Ranch has clearly shown that if we make an investment in Visit Bend, we’ll more than get our money back,” said Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford. “Better yet, the partnership has done much more than just promote Brasada Ranch, as Brasada Ranch in turn has been great at promoting all of the County’s attractions to its guest and owners. It has created an opportunity for more tourism dollars to flow into Crook County. This has been a great win-win for all of us.”
In July, Brasada Ranch approached the County Court to renew the Visit Bend investment, though the County Court stated the TRT recipient budgets has already been approved for the upcoming fiscal year. Commissioner Seth Crawford suggested that if the support of the TRT recipients could be obtained, the County Court would consider another investment. Over the following month, Commissioner Seth Crawford and representatives of Brasada Ranch met with the Fairgrounds, Historical Society, and Chamber of Commerce numerous times.
Following these meetings, all three TRT recipients agreed to divert funds from their organization to the County’s Tourism Grant to continue the work with Visit Bend from September 2014 through June 2015. In the August session of the County Court the court approved a reinvestment in the Visit Bend marketing programs. Of the approved funds, 61 percent will come from the County’s Tourism Grant Funds, 29% from Brasada Ranch.
“Since acquiring Brasada Ranch in late 2010, Brasada Ranch’s annual transient room tax payments to Crook County have grown by more than 550 percent, which of course means we’re doing well and the County is doing well,” said Brent McLean, Senior Vice President for Northview Hotel Group. “The County has been a good steward of these precious tax dollars, and its willingness to think outside the box and try new things, like the Visit Bend marketing programs, has been much appreciated and a great investment for all. We are very appreciative of the County and TRT recipients’ support and of course we must note that Commissioner Seth Crawford’s leadership has been paramount to our collective success.”
All lodging properties in Central Oregon charge TRT and remit the same to their County or City. The use of those funds varies by region. In Deschutes County approximately 30% of the TRT is used to promote tourism via Central Oregon Visitors Association. In the City of Bend approximately 30% of the TRT is used to promote tourism via Visit Bend. In Crook County, where Brasada Ranch is located, approximately 20 percent of the TRT is used to promote tourism via the Chamber of Commerce; though unlike Deschutes County and The City of Bend, one TRT payer makes up a disproportionate amount of the TRT (Brasada Ranch makes up more than 85 percent of the County’s TRT collections each year; this percentage has been growing each year since the resort was acquired by Northview Hotel Group in late 2010).
“The key to growing our TRT lies in promoting to tourists outside of our region. The Central Oregon Visitors Association and Visit Bend have millions of dollars for this type of promotion each year, and Visit Bend’s ability to drive more and more traffic to Brasada Ranch has been unmatched.” Said Seth Crawford. “I very much look forward to this partnership continuing to perform so that we can continue to grow our TRT to levels that will allow us to make more investments within the County, such as developing the River Canyon Country marketing initiatives we laid out with the help of Travel Oregon earlier this year.”
About Crook County
Crook County, located in the geographic center of the state, is rich in natural resources, western culture and sunny weather. Approximately three hours from Portland, Salem, Corvallis and Eugene, the area offers a playground for boaters, fishermen, rock hounding, hiking and biking enthusiasts. Joining businesses and organizations from Terrebonne through Madras to Warm Springs and Maupin, Crook County is promoting outdoor and cultural tourism through River Canyon Country in partnership with Travel Oregon.
About Brasada Ranch
Brasada Ranch, a Preferred Hotel & Resort located 16 miles northeast of Bend, Ore., is an unparalleled resort community woven into 1,800 acres of Powell Butte, Ore., offering some of the most inspired views in Central Oregon. Brasada Ranch features 80 high-end cabins, eight suites, an 18-hole golf course designed by PGA TOUR professional Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy, a full-service spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a state-of-the-art equestrian center, farm-to-table restaurant and culinary programs featuring local ingredients, and 750 single family home sites. Brasada Ranch was the first newly constructed destination resort in the U.S. to receive a gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). For more information, visit www.brasada.com.