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Bravo Hotel Incentives - Testimony: Kurt Mayo Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Kansas City

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

Neighborhood Planning & Development Committee Meeting - October 29, 2021

Good afternoon, I'm Kurt Mayo, Executive Director of the Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Kansas City. We're here to voice our opinion on this project. We're all for the hotel. However, right now we feel that there should be a moratorium on TIF money for hotels, due to the damage done by Covid uh, has been so bad for our industry and there's a lot of things we need to focus on getting business back into Kansas City and trying to get our hotels jumpstarted again.

Currently, we have 21 hotels downtown convention district with 5,560 rooms and three more under construction with 454 more rooms and there are more hotels in the planning stage. The bad side is occupancy.

This year, month to date through August is 35.6% occupancy compared which is down 42.6% from 2019. Unfortunately, we don't expect to reach 2019 occupancy levels until 2025 or maybe even 2026.

Although leisure business has come on strong this summer. Business travel meetings and conventions still suffer. Not reflected in these occupancy numbers is a huge loss of banquet and meeting room revenues due to cancellations. Many groups are still proving slow to re-book. Occupancy in Kansas City Missouri city wide is 47.3%, which is 28.1% reduction from 2019.

Our hotels continue to operate at levels that are certainly not profitable. We're just getting by. We need to take action and to bring business back to Kansas City is what we've got to focus on. To do this, we need to make sure that VisitKC is properly funded during these times of low occupancy. The tax revenue is not there for them to operate. So we have to find other ways to get funds to VisitKC so we can promote and get people coming back to Kansas city.

We need to move ahead quickly to replace Barney Alice Garage with a minimum capacity of 750 cars and all automobiles. So our downtown hotels and convention center have adequate parking available and now is the time to start on that and really try to speed that up.

Bartle Hall has $38 million dollars in deferred maintenance that we need to address and we need to get it fixed up and be competitive with the competition. I mean, we're all for new hotels and we certainly welcome hotels in Kansas City. But right now with this Covid, we need to stay focused on the future.

We need to make sure that we can bring the business into Kansas City. I mean soon we're going to have a world class KCI. We're gonna have a new front door on Kansas City and we need to have an inviting downtown convention district to match. Thank you.

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