The Pocahontas County CVB Director, Cara Rose Talks Hotel-Motel Tax with Us
In this first part of our recent interview with Cara Rose, Director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Cara talks about the Hotel Occupancy Tax, also called the Hotel-Motel Tax.
“Well, I’m happy to report that it looks like the fiscal year ending in June, 2018 will be, if not the highest collection year for Hotel-Motel Tax in the history of the Hotel-Motel Tax in Pocahontas County, it will be a very close second” said Cara. “The 2003-2004 fiscal year, at a 3% collection rate, was the highest to date, and depending on how the June collection s actually come in, we’ll know those numbers in the next couple of weeks, we’ll exceed that collection year. That’s good news for the tourism industry. There are probably a number of reasons the collections have been so high. We had a wonderful winter at Snowshoe Mountain Resort; the Sheriff’s Office has been enforcing the collection and remittance of the Hotel-Motel Tax, and we’ve also had a great spring and summer. So the combination of all those things is boding well for overnight stays in Pocahontas County.”
If people come in and rent a place for two years, do they have to pay the Hotel-Motel Tax?
“The way the hotel Occupancy Tax law is written, if a family rents a unit -it could be a home, it could be a mobile trailer, it could be a condominium or a cabin. If they rent that with a lease agreement up front for 30 days or more, they are not responsible for collecting sales tax or the Hotel Motel Tax in the State of West Virginia” answered Cara. “If an individual rent a room, whether it be at a hotel, a motel, an inn, a bed and breakfast, no matter how long they are staying, they are responsible for collecting and remitting Hotel Motel Tax. So that’s how the law is written. So, for instance, the question you asked was if someone comes in and they are leasing a home for two years, and they are paying month to month or they pay a bulk amount for that rental. It is no different from me renting a home, or you renting a home, so that’s the distinguishable difference between staying in a hotel or staying for a long term in a home rental.”
Do you stt an impact on the hotel-motel tax by all these out of state pipeline workers staying here?
“Sure, I believe we will see an impact” said Cara. “I believe there is the potential to have an increase in the lodging tax over the next couple of years while the pipeline employees are overnighting in hotels and motels in Pocahontas County. So, yes, I do believe there is the potential to see an increase from that as well.”
Is it unusual to have almost everything filled up this time of year?
“Because of the seasonality of how our lodging bookings work, in the wintertime, on top of Snowshoe Mountain on any given weekend, everything would be booked, and the lodging facilities off mountain may not be booked” said Cara. “In the summertime, it’s somewhat offset, so the Town of Marlinton and around Watoga State Park for instance, could be booked on any given week in summer and fall, whereas atop snowshoe Mountain, the occupancy rate might not be at 100% capacity. So it always varies depending on the season, but it is always good news regardless of whether it’s summer or winter, we want to hear that certain areas of the County are indeed booked at 100%.”
Be sure to listen for the second part of this interview where Cara talks about the Mountain Biking Ride Center and upcoming training for businesses about how to accommodate and attract mountain bikers as well as how to use Trip Advisor to attract customers.