City spends $232,387 to host, promote events

ATASCADERO — The City of Atascadero spent a total of $232,387 to host and promote events in the city during the fiscal year 2018-19 with those events bringing in an estimated $75,293 in direct revenue on a budget of $208,000. 

Deputy City Manager of Marketing, Promotions and Events Terrie Banish presented the numbers to the City Council at its regular meeting Tuesday during an annual marketing update. The City saw a major uptick in event attendance during the past year. Attendance at the Charles Paddock Zoo event Brew at the Zoo was up 20 percent over the previous year, Cruisin’ Weekend saw 30 percent increase in attendance and the City’s biggest event of the year, the relatively new Tamale Festival saw an increase in attendance of 67 percent this year over the previous year with vendors selling approximately 45,000 tamales, up from 27,000 tamales in 2019. 

Banish attributes those numbers to the City’s robust marketing efforts with advertising being placed on TV and Radio, on billboards, in print publications and on the web. She said that the City relied heavily on digital advertising platforms. 

“It’s the best form of advertising these days because we can really target particular people,” she said. “It definitely works well for us with both social media and digital. Social media has really taken off in the past 10 years.” 

The City’s web metrics are also looking good according to Banish, who reported that the Visit Atascadero Instagram account has 1,836 followers, the Facebook page has 2,794 followers and the Twitter account has 1,304 followers. The City’s website had 259,877 total pageviews in 2019, up 66 percent from the previous year, with 132,661 unique visitors, up 47 percent from 2018. 

If income from the City’s Transient Occupancy Tax is any indicator, the events have also been paying dividends for local businesses. The TOT is a tax paid on local hotel stays with 2 percent of the total bill going to the City coffers. The TOT was up 1.1 percent this year, bringing in an estimated $1,390,972 for the City. 

“This is showing that people are coming here, they’re staying here, that growth is definitely there,” Banish said. 

Getting through this together, Atascadero