The TRIPP program is funded by a designated percentage of the hotel rental tax collected in Frederick County. A severe downturn in this funding is anticipated due to the current coronavirus pandemic. While we can’t project how much our funding will drop locally, a new analysis prepared by Tourism Economics for the U.S. Travel Association projects decreased travel nationally due to coronavirus will mean a 75% drop in revenue over the next two months, 31% down for the year overall.
Visit Frederick previously established a TRIPP Reserve fund that will allow us to continue to cover the full awards that were made for FY20, in spite of the drop in hotel revenue that began this month. We are implementing the following changes effective immediately to the guidelines for use of FY20 TRIPP awards:
1) TRIPP funded advertising does not have to run before June 30, 2020 per the normal guidelines. These funds may be used to pay for ads that run any time before Dec. 31, 2020.
2) We are relaxing the requirement that TRIPP dollars all be used with nonlocal media. In an effort to help support local businesses in the wake of the current crisis, you are welcome to consider using local media as we encourage residents to get back out once we get the “all clear” regarding COVID-19. Please advise Patsy Ensminger of media schedule changes you propose to make.
3) A reminder to TRIPP Development Grant recipients that it is possible to get an extension on the use of your Development dollars. The request does have to be made in writing for our files.
The FY21 TRIPP program application deadline is now being extended to May 15, 2020. In response to the unprecedented disruption to 2020 hotel business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Visit Frederick will accept two rounds of applications in FY21. Applicants who may have concerns about their ability to provide matching funds for all of FY21 will only have to commit at this time to a portion of what they may hope to have for the full fiscal year. Visit Frederick will be in a better position to project what hotel revenue may be expected to be allocated toward the second round of TRIPP awards in December 2020.
Applications for the first six months of FY21, will be for the timeframe of July 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020 due May 15, 2020. The second round of applications will be for the timeframe of January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021 due mid-November, 2020.