The Problem

Tourism Improvement District. The name conjures big cities, full of attractions, nightlife, restaurants and of course, tourists. Perhaps San Francisco, New York, or Miami. There are, however nearly 100 tourism improvement districts in California alone. Although it is the nation’s most populous state, surely there are not 100 San Franciscos.

Many tourism improvement districts are formed in areas that don’t, at first glance, appear to be tourist destinations. One such example is Concord, California, located in San Francisco’s East Bay Area. Given its population of 125,000 and proximity to larger or better-known locations like San Francisco, Oakland and Napa Valley, Concord is not your typical tourist destination — which made the city an excellent candidate to form and greatly benefit from a tourism improvement district.

The Innovation

In fact, it is cities like Concord that can see the greatest benefit from tourism improvement districts. With nine hotels offering 1,300 rooms and 75,000 square feet of meeting space, Concord provides an affordable, accessible alternative to other Bay Area locations for meetings, events and leisure travelers. Plus, Concord boasts convenient access to Mount Diablo — a 3,849-foot peak and state park offering a scenic playground for hikers, bikers and nature lovers — making the city an ideal option for visitors looking to see the sights of San Francisco and experience the great outdoors in one trip.

Recognizing their city’s appeal, as well as the potential for increasing occupancy and revenue, management at Concord’s nine hotels agreed to work together to promote the area. On June 1, 2013, the Concord Tourism Improvement District (TID) was created.

The Results

Hoteliers hit the ground running once the Concord Tourism Improvement District was formed. A new nonprofit was created, Visit Concord, and the Board got to work. Rather than hire an executive director, the board took the lead. In short order, a new Diablo Valley brand was created, a new website launched, and Concord was on the rise. In the initial year collections were lower than expected, totaling $685,000; but once programs took effect in the second year, the TID budget rose to $980,000. Now, in just its third year, the Concord Tourism Improvement District’s collections reached nearly $1.2 million, almost double the initial revenue projections.

Increasing collections is not the only sign of success for Diablo Valley. In its most recent year, average daily rates grew 9%, occupancy grew 4% and hotel revenue grew 14%. It may not be your typical tourist destination, but Concord is a vacation you won’t want to miss!