TBID Grant Application

Purpose

The purpose of this program is to increase visitation at Montana's Trailhead and support Billings' lodging partners by generating room nights.  Other partners such as local retailers, restaurateurs, transportation businesses, and tourism attractions also benefit from increased visitation. The program is designed to attract and grow new or existing events excluding meetings and conventions. If you are looking to bring a convention to Billings, please contact Visit Billings at 406-869-3731 or [email protected]. The execution of Visit Billings grant funding must be in line with the Tourism Business Improvement District's (TBID) mission to generate room nights for lodging facilities in the City of Billings, Montana by effectively marketing the region as a preferred travel destination.

Goals

  • To fund events that generate NEW hotel room nights, preferably in value season months. (October-April).
  • To fund events that reach potential visitors outside of Billings, preferably 125+ miles.
  • To fund events that have potential to increase the number of visitors or to extend the visitors stay.
  • To fund events that economically benefit the Billings community and Visit Billings Tourism Partners.

how it's funded

These funds are made available through the Billings TBID via area lodging partners. For every occupied room night, guests are assessed $2.00 which stays in Billings to aid in tourism promotion and marketing within the city.

NUMBER OF GRANTS AWARDED

There is no set number of grants that may be awarded in any fiscal year. However, the total dollar amount of grant funds awarded may not exceed the total amount of funds allotted each year by the TBID Board. To date the TBID has awarded grant funds as small as $750.00 and as large as $15,000.00 per event.

FUTURE FUNDING

Funds should be viewed as money to assist with events in the formative years and should not be viewed as a guaranteed continuous source of funding. Applicants will not be guaranteed funding after the first year of the award and will need to reapply in subsequent years.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Any organization or individual presenting an event that supports the Visit Billings Grant purpose and goals is eligible to apply for funding. Applying organizations or individuals must be prepared to meet the following criteria:

  • Provide proof of dollar for dollar match for the requested grant funds.
  • Proven ability to generate, track and report hotel room nights and economic impact of the event.
  • If 75% of the committed new hotel room nights listed on the application are not realized, 20% of potential grant funds will not be awarded.
  • Basic Marketing plan, budget form (use the TBID downloadable template on the grant application page) and event planning timeline must be provided with application submission.
  • Existing events must submit event history, including number of hotel rooms booked, and attendance.
  • Communication with hotels regarding hotel arrangements must begin with the Visit Billings Sales Manager.

FUNDING CRITERIA

Applicants that meet the eligibility requirements above may be awarded funding based upon:

  1. A proven or qualified ability to generate, track, and report hotel-motel room nights (Room Night Calculation: Number of Rooms x Number of Nights = Room Nights) and economic impact to Billings; and
  2. Available Visit Billings resources

Approved projects must agree to follow the rules and regulations set forth by Visit Billings as outlined below:

Advertising

  1. The words "Billings, Montana" shall appear on all printed and digital materials except when the event is advertised within Montana. In that case, the word "Billings" shall appear.
  2. Include the following information on print/digital projects:
    1. Visit Billings web site www.VisitBillings.com
    2. Visit Billings logo (Official Artwork will be supplied)
    3. Acknowledgement of grant on collateral: "Produced with support from Visit Billings funds."
  3. All marketing investments must be placed outside Billings to encourage potential visitors from surrounding areas to stay a night or longer at a Billings lodging facilities. For instance, a newspaper advertisement placed in a community outside a 125-mile radius of Billings would potentially boost overnight visitation more compared to the same advertisement in a newspaper in a town 50 miles away from Billings.

Print Advertising

  1. All print ads shall be coded to provide a means of evaluation through inquiry tracking.
  2. Copies of ads and original invoices must be provided before monies are released.

On-line/Digital Advertising

  1. Clicks from all on-line ads shall be monitored with the ability to report the statistics.

Television and Radio Advertising

  1. When appropriate, the words "Billings, Montana" shall be stated on all audio tracks produced which include speaking - except when event is advertised within Montana. In that case, the word "Billings" needs to be included.
  2. An affidavit of media buy shall be on file at the organization upon completion of the project.
  3. A copy of the audio/video tape shall be on file at the organization.
  4. Television advertising shall include the Visit Billings logo.

Other

  1. Funding will not be retroactive. (i.e.: Visit Billings will not pay for advertising/promotions/obligations/other contracted for by the event prior to grant being awarded).
  2. Other rules, regulations, policies, and procedures pertaining to this grant are at the sole discretion of Visit Billings.
  3. Grant recipients must provide a wrap-up report and samples of produced pieces to the Visit Billings staff upon completion (within 30 business days of event/convention closure). 20% of awarded funds will be withheld until this report is received.
  4. If 75% of the committed new hotel room nights listed on the application are not realized, 20% of potential grant funds will not be awarded.

Location

  1. Regardless of where an applicant is headquartered or physically located, 100% of the funding received from Visit Billings must be in support of programs or events providing a measurable benefit to the assessed hotels within the city of Billings.

APPLICATION DUE DATES

Application deadline is Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 no later than 5:00 p.m.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Step One: Eligible applicants must complete the standard grant application form and submit it by the application deadline. A Visit Billings staff member will confirm the receipt of your application within 2 business days via email. If you do not receive confirmation, please contact Visit Billings at 406-869-3725 or [email protected].

Step Two: The Visitor Services Manager will review all applications for eligibility after the deadline. Applications that do not meet all the criteria, are incomplete, do not include required event documents or are received past the deadline listed above will automatically be disqualified, and will be notified.

Step Three: All qualified applications will be submitted to the TBID Board of Directors for review and scoring. All applications that score a minimum of 70 points will be given an interview with the TBID Board of Directors and will be contacted by Visit Billings.

Step Four: Applicants must make themselves available for interviews at the June TBID Board of Directors meeting which takes place the second Thursday of the month. After applicant interviews have been conducted the TBID Board of Directors will deliberate to select successful grant requests. A Visit Billings staff member will contact each applicant to inform them of the outcome. All grants will be awarded by July 1st.

Before grants can be awarded, grant recipients are required to sign this agreement committing to meet all the criteria previously listed in this document. After the agreement has been signed, 80% of the grant will be awarded and the remaining 20% will be awarded when the complete post event report is received and approved. The report must be submitted to [email protected] no later than 30 days post your event end date. If the report is received past the deadline, and/or if 75% of the committed new hotel room nights are not realized, the remaining grant funds will not be awarded.

APPLICATION SCORING

Each application will be scored using identical criteria and can earn a maximum of 120 points. The point distribution is as follows:

  • Maximum 30 Points - New room nights generated
  • Maximum 15 Points - Event taking place in value season (October-April)
  • Maximum 10 Points - New event
  • Maximum 30 Points - Application responses
  • Maximum 20 Points - Budget Plan
  • Maximum 10 Points - Basic Marketing Plan
  • Maximum 5 Points - Event Planning Timeline
SUBMIT AN APPLICATION FORM FILL:
Event Information
Applicant Information
Financial Information
Application Questions
Documents to upload
Please export your document to PDF format prior to upload. The following upload fields will only accept PDF.
Download a template spreadsheet if desired: Download
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visitor guide

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