The MHTBID was the realization of the local Tourism Alliance’s vision
By Krista Rupp
With its laid-back charm, buzzing dining scene, orchards, vineyards, and athletic culture, why shouldn’t Morgan Hill get a bigger piece of the tourism pie? That is exactly what the Morgan Hill Tourism Business Improvement District (MHTBID) sets out to do. More than 84 percent of Morgan Hill hotels recently reconfirmed their support of the MHTBID, extending it for a 10-year term. The district, which creates a 1.5 percent assessment on hotel guests, reinvests funds directly into promoting Morgan Hill as a tourism destination via Visit Morgan Hill. This 501(c) 6 organization, governed by its own board of directors, is leading the charge for Morgan Hill to reap the benefits of tourism.
Initially formed in 2019, the MHTBID was the realization of the local Tourism Alliance’s vision. This group of hotels, winemakers, business associations, and city leaders saw the positive force of tourism in California’s cities and towns. Overnight visitors spend more than day-trippers, thereby injecting additional revenue into local businesses, supporting jobs, and bolstering public services. More than 100 tourism districts operate in California and even well-known destinations rely on them to maintain their share of this lucrative economic driver.
The MHTBID, which generates about $341,000 annually, ensures a sustainable funding source dedicated exclusively to promoting tourism with the expertise and consistency needed for Morgan Hill to compete. Visit Morgan Hill positions the city as a leisure, sports, and event destination to grow tourism revenue by putting “heads in beds.” Leaning into Morgan Hill’s authentically relaxed yet upscale culinary, wine, and farm experiences, the organization targets an audience likely to spend the night (and their dollars!) in our city. Local spending data indicates non-residents currently make up 40 percent of overall spending.
Morgan Hill’s official tourism brand was launched during the pandemic with an award-winning campaign highlighting the quintessential experience one won’t find in better known (and often crowded) travel locales. This catapulted Morgan Hill into a broader digital media space, attracting new recognition of the city’s amenities. Inspiring visual content tailored to out-of-town visitors on www.visitmorganhill.org and social media allow someone who has never been to Morgan Hill to envision themselves here, which is one step closer to booking a trip. Visit Morgan Hill also leverages TV and radio commercials on national and regional stations and hosts influencers and journalists to garner travel media coverage, such as Allegiant Airlines’ inflight magazine, NonStopLife.
It’s no secret the Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center and Aquatics Center are significant drivers of overnight groups. Visit Morgan Hill works closely with facility leadership and sports tournament planners to secure new groups at local hotels and venues, such as the 2023 NCAA Men’s Golf Regionals and the IFL Bay Area Panthers Training Camp.
Representing the interests of lodging and tourism, Visit Morgan Hill partners with the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Association, Wineries of Santa Clara Valley, the city’s Economic Development Department, and many others to promote, enhance, and advocate for tourism offerings and events. Visit Morgan Hill’s public event calendar has proven to be an impactful tool for both locals and visitors to keep up on happenings.
Continuously monitoring tourism performance and adapting strategy are critical to advancing the vision of a thriving local tourism economy. As dynamic conditions continue to influence travel, Visit Morgan Hill remains a good steward of the MHTBID — providing the dedicated discipline needed to maximize the benefits of tourism for our community.
Krista Rupp is the executive director of Visit Morgan Hill.