By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post
The coronavirus outbreak and required closures took its toll on a number of businesses and maybe none larger than the hospitality industry. With guests not coming in, Great Bend hotels are bracing themselves for far less income in 2020.
The City of Great Bend, who collects six percent from hotel sales in transient guest tax, is expecting a similar dip in their tax collection.
Great Bend Conventions and Visitors Bureau Director Christina Hayes says transient guest tax dollars through the first two quarters are actually up from last year, but the decline is expected in the final two quarters.
"We are up so that means our end of the year took care of us," said Hayes. "Of course we are expecting extreme changes for the next two quarters."
The transient guest tax collection is calculated on a fiscal year so the first quarter distribution is from September, October and November. The second quarter consists of December, January and February.
The 2020 first quarter collection in Great Bend was $100,372, up more than $12,000 from last year. The 2020 second quarter collection was $62,922, up more than $5,000 from a year ago.
"I still think this is a positive because we did get two good quarters in," said Hayes. "It is higher than we had last year and that is something to be proud of. Our hotels are doing it right."
The next two quarters of transient guest tax collections are where Great Bend expects to see the effects of COVID-19.
Of the six-percent collection, five-percent goes to fund the CVB budget and one-percent is appropriated to the Great Bend Events Center.
Great Bend recorded their second highest transient guest tax collection ever last year, collecting $347,861. Through the first two quarters of 2020, the total is $163,295.