Hotel fee now active

Published 10:11pm Friday, February 1, 2013

An additional occupancy fee of $2 per room, per night for all hotel rooms in Selma went into effect Friday.

The revenue generated from the fee is currently going to a separate bank account for the city of Selma outside of the general fund, city attorney Jimmy Nunn said in a council meeting last week. Funds will remain in the city’s account until a contract is written to give the revenue to the YMCA of Selma-Dallas County.

The Holiday Inn Express reported they had 50 out of 63 rooms occupied on Friday — meaning $100 revenue for the city in just one of Selma’s 11 hotels from the fee.

Angela Hurst, manager of the St. James Hotel, said it is too early to really see a difference in customers and occupancy levels — as Friday was only the first night — but noted she may be able to tell a difference by springtime.

“This spring is when we really start having more of our repeat customers who are coming through,” Hurst said. “I would think that we would have more [questions about the occupancy fee] from those people that stay with us on a regular basis.

“Those who are having their functions again with us this year, might ask questions as to why the rates are different.”

She said as of right now, she hasn’t had any negative feedback from the guests, but added that she believes it is too early to tell if they ever will.

She said it is tough to gauge what customers might say in the future regarding the fee but said some may not complain about it because many people, “just think that it’s ‘par for the course’ when your rates are always fluctuating.”

“We are going to increase our price. We were in the processes of revamping our room rates anyways just to make sure that we are competitive,” Hurst said. “We were looking at what our standard rates are and looking at reviewing them and seeing if they are appropriate based on what other hotels are doing in the area that are similar to us.”

The Selma City Council plans to vote on the contract to give the YMCA money from the occupancy fee revenue on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

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