District Spotlight: Marina del Rey Voluntary Assessment District

In an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County lies the waterfront town of Marina del Rey. As the largest man-made small craft harbor in North America, Marina del Rey is a coastal playground with beaches and parks, an array of water activities and outdoor adventures, as well as a variety of restaurants. In an effort to market Marina del Rey to visitors near and far, the six hotels in town have entered into a voluntary assessment district to fund their destination marketing.

Working directly with the Marina del Rey Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Corporation responsible for collecting the funds and administering the programs, each of the hotels agreed to the terms of the district via a signed contract. The term of Marina del Rey’s agreement is 5 years, in which the hotels are assessed 1.5% of the gross room rental revenue.

Although not as common as Tourism Improvement Districts formed under the 94 law, voluntary districts can work for some destinations, particularly ones with a smaller number of hotels. In a voluntary district, only those hotels that have signed a contract with the DMO are included; unlike a 1994 Act district which includes all hotels within the boundaries. Some of the benefits of forming a voluntary district include: potential for a quicker formation process if the hotels can come to a consensus around the district parameters, as the process may not require going through your local jurisdiction for approval; voluntary districts are not subject to the Brown Act (open meetings); and can be less expensive to form as they only require drafting of the legal contracts.

Voluntary districts aren’t for everyone, but are a great solution for certain destinations.

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