Visit Big Bear - The DMO
Visit Big Bear is the destination marketing organization for Big Bear Lake and manages the Big Bear Lake Visitors Center, the Big Bear Lake Visitor Guide, the BigBear.com website, and the Care For Big Bear campaign for a sustainable and litter free Valley.
Visit Big Bear has proudly sponsored events like Spartan Race, the Fox US Open of Mountain Biking, Tour de Big Bear, the July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, and more. See what Annual Events are coming.
Visit Big Bear is funded through community partnership and the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID). See below for budgeting and TBID funding information.
Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, Visit Big Bear has modified event and marketing efforts to instead promote education on responsible and sustainable visitation and community business support. Keep up with COVID-19 updates on our COVID-19 Updates page.
Be the internationally recognized Southern California Mountain Lake Escape offering visitors a year-round transformational experience.
Act as a catalyst for destination wide cooperation to enhance the region’s brand awareness, event calendar and the positive impacts that visitors will provide in the region.
Loren Hafen - President
Nick Lanza - First Vice President
Clayton Shoemaker – Second Vice President
Jo Ann Cecil - Treasurer
Christie Brewster - Secretary
Danielle Goldsmith – Director
Robert Manning – Director
Michael Perry - CEO
Monique Rangel - Director of Operations, Marketing
Will Weisfeld - Director of Events
Olga Ruiz - Comptroller
Matt McCabe - Visitor Center Manager
Sara Schacht - Social Media & Website Content Coordinator
Stephanie Castillo - Member Relations & Senior VC Specialist
What Is A TBID?
The Big Bear Lake Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) supports overnight tourism through marketing, advertising, events and promotion to benefit lodging and ski resort members. The focus is to increase overnight visitation midweek to support businesses and during the off-season to support year-round employment.
Once per year - beginning on the anniversary of district formation - there is a 30-day period in which property management companies and resorts paying more than fifty percent (50%) of the assessment may protest and initiate a City Council hearing on district termination.
What is TBID?
TBID stands for Tourism Business Improvement District.
Developed by Visit Big Bear, the Big Bear Lake Tourism Business Improvement District (BBLTBID) is a tax based program designed to provide specific benefits to payors, by funding marketing efforts for those assessed (taxed) businesses.
The current district (City of Big Bear Lake) places the assessment on lodging sales and tickets sales of Big Bear Mountain Resort. Revenue is managed by Visit Big Bear - a 501c6 non-profit destination marketing entity - who reports directly to an advisory board.
Unlike other forms of funding (like TOT), TBID funds cannot be diverted into government programs.
Want to learn more? Check out our TBID FAQ Sheet.
Why is a TBID Needed?
The landscape for destination marketing is very competitive, and history has shown that if a destination can no longer compete for top-of-mind awareness, the economy of that destination will suffer.
72% of TBIDs are formed due to a loss of city/county funding or insufficient existing funding to compete with other destinations for visitors.
The TBID funding approach has been used successfully in other destination areas throughout the country to provide the benefit of additional room night sales directly to payors.
How Are Funds Collected and Used?
The City is responsible for collecting the assessment on a monthly or quarterly basis (including any delinquencies, penalties and interest) from each lodging and ski resort business located in the boundaries of the BBLTBID. The City shall take all reasonable efforts to collect the assessments from each lodging and ski resort business.
Visit Big Bear spends the bulk of it’s marketing investment during the shoulder seasons through creative campaigns, including the Falltacular and Adventure Season! A variety of channels are used to inspire visitation at the right time to the right audience.
These funds are stable, dedicated funds for destination marketing that allow local businesses to have a greater direct impact on how marketing dollars are being used to promote the destination.
Unlike other forms of funding (say TOT), TBID money cannot be used by government programs.
What Are TBID Benefits?
The BBLTBID immediate goal is to increase overnight bookings within the City of Big Bear Lake and increase lift ticket sales at Big Bear Mountain Resort.
Marketing programs implemented and managed by Visit Big Bear are designed to increase overnight stays and promote assessed businesses as destinations for tourism, events, and commerce.
Who Manages TBID Funds?
Revenue is managed by Visit Big Bear - a 501c6 non-profit destination marketing entity - who reports directly to an advisory board.
Visit Big Bear serves as the BBLTBID’s Owners’ Association. The Owners’ Association is charged with managing funds and implementing programs in accordance with the Plan, and must provide annual reports to the City Council.
Unlike other forms of funding (like TOT), TBID money cannot be used by government programs.
Who Is Assessed?
Lodging Payors: The annual assessment rate for lodging businesses is three percent (3%) of gross short-term (stays less than 31 days) room rental revenue. Based on the benefit received, assessments will not be collected on stays of more than thirty (30) consecutive days. Assessments pursuant to the BBLTBID shall not include room rental revenue resulting from stays pursuant to contracts executed prior to April 1, 2016.
Ski Resorts: The annual assessment rate for ski resort businesses is two percent (2%) of lift ticket and annual pass revenue. Lift tickets and annual passes that are valid at multiple ski resorts will be assessed for that portion of the sales price of the lift ticket or annual pass that is attributable to the ski resort(s) within the BBLTBID boundary.
Are you an Assessed Property?
Get your TBID assessed property on BigBear.com here.
The First 5 Years
In the founding of our TBID in 2016, the City of Big Bear Lake received Petitions from 50%+ of the assessed lodging / ski resorts within the City boundaries. The City approved a Tourism Business Improvement District that included a 3% assessment on hotel room sales and 2% on ski lift tickets. Over the past years, Visit Big Bear has invested in marketing the shoulder season through a variety of channels:
- KTLA sponsorship of the weather report to promote upcoming events and activities to do in Big Bear Lake.
- Billboard advertising on major highways in the Inland Empire.
- Radio advertising with iHeartMedia, sponsoring the travel and weather reports in San Diego, Las Vegas and more.
- HULU and other connected device advertising reaching millions of consumers with non-skippable programming
- Advertorial content in Westways magazine
- Co-op programs with Visit California and Brand USA
- Digital marketing on social platforms and Google Display Network
- Native content regularly published and promoted on BigBear.com
2021-31 Big Bear Lake TBID Goals
Looking ahead for the 2021-2031 district years, marketing, advertising and promotion efforts will continue to focus on overnight visitations during the shoulder seasons (Spring and Autumn), ski and mountain biking lift ticket sales, and increased exposure in growing and untapped market segments.
What We've Accomplished
The Big Bear Lake Tourism Business Improvement District has been working on community businesses' behalf since April 1, 2016. These are some of the results and accomplishments Visit Big Bear has achieved.
Marketing - 2016-2020
- 40 billion earned media impressions
- 93.8 million digital impressions
- Over 5,000 media placements
- 27.1 million impressions through KTLA broadcast advertising and on KTLA.com
- 6 million impressions on NBC San Diego and NBCsandiego.com, NBCLosAngeles.com
- 2,332 Radio spots on more than 40 stations, resulting in 21.8 million impressions
- 500,000 “over-the-top” video ads on connected devices (Amazon firestick, Roku)
- 61.9 million impressions on digital billboards in the Inland Empire
- 10.3 million impressions on Google Display Network
- 159,460 Paid Search Impressions
- 4.5 million impressions on social media
- 67,619 YouTube Video plays
Relaunch of BigBear.com
- BigBear.com was renovated in 2019, improving the mobile and visual look of the site.
- 3.8 million users visited BigBear.com
- 5.4 million sessions
- 16.4 million pageviews
- Due to Marketing and advertising from TBID funds, BigBear.com has grown to be the No. 1 source of information for visitors looking to plan their trip to Big Bear Lake.
The Visitor Center - New Location, Stronger Impact
- Visit Big Bear has enhanced the experience of our visitors by assisting more than 227,732 visitors in our Visitor Center since 2016.
- Our new location has tripled the amount of visitors Visit Big Bear staff greets on a weekly basis, totaling 98,382 since this fiscal year.
- Visit Big Bear staff have also assisted with visitor inquiries by phone, Chat and email. Staff have answered more than 100,000 calls, Chats and emails.
Tourism Occupancy Tax (TOT)
- The Tourism Occupancy Tax is an 8% tax by the City of Big Bear Lake on the rental of lodging.
- More than 30% of the City of Big Bear Lake’s revenue is funded by the TOT.
- For each dollar spent on marketing our destination, four dollars are returned to the City via TOT.
- TOT and TBID funds have grown annually by an average of 12.5% since the TBID began in 2016 – for an overall increase of 58%.
- Overall, the TBID has created a 38% ROI (Return on Investment) of additional lodging revenue from the TBID expenditures for marketing, advertising, events, etc.
- $11,582,237 in additional lodging revenue was received by TBID payers.
Marketing & Advertising
Keeping up with industry trends, technology, and incorporating new ways to attract and communicate with our visitors will be critical to our success. Big Bear Lake is Southern California’s Premier 4 Season Resort and the gateway to the San Bernardino National Forest.
Visit Big Bear will continue to spend the bulk of it’s marketing and advertising funds during the shoulder seasons through creative campaigns, including the Spring Adventure Season and Falltacular Celebration.
A variety of media channels are used to inspire visitation during the shoulder seasons. We will also be expanding our Social Media presence and continuing to have the #1 website in BigBear.com.
Expanding Signature Events
Events Sponsorship will continue to be a key piece of attracting new and old visitors. Signature Events include – Spartan Race, Fox US Open of Mountain Biking, Big Bear Lake Comedy Festival, Big Bear Lake Film Festival, Tour de Big Bear Bike Festival, Grizzly 100, Kodiak 100, Grand Fondo, Big Bear Lake Brew Festival, Special Olympics Polar Plunge, National Trails Day, Fishin for $50K, Big Bear Grill and Chill, Big Bear Chili Cookoff, and our annual 4thof July Fireworks Show.
Care For Big Bear
Visit Big Bear is excited to grow the CARE for BIG BEAR campaign, providing leadership for responsible and sustainable tourism in Big Bear Lake and the surrounding National Forest.
Care For Big Bear has implemented a number of projects over the 2021 year including community trash cleanups, business partnerships to address broken sled litter, and support for the Mountains Foundation projects. More programs are coming soon!
Meet The Board
Loren Hafen, President
Owner, Holloways Marina
Nick Lanza, First Vice President
Owner, Big Bear Vacations
Clayton Shoemaker, Second Vice President
Senior Marketing Director, Big Bear Mountain Resort
Jo Ann Cecil, Treasurer
Vice President, Destination Big Bear
Danielle Goldsmith, Director
Owner, Goldsmiths Sports
Robert Manning, Director
General Manager, Marina Resort
Christie Brewster, Director
Owner, Robinhood Resort