HOT Fund Application
1. Eligibility: Groups, organizations, or businesses who wish to apply must be an organization or corporation governed by a board of directors. The applicant must demonstrate that the associated event or project will be open to the public and directly enhance and promote the tourism, convention, and hotel industry by attracting visitors from outside of Huntsville and into the city or its vicinity. Marketing efforts for the event must have a focus on an audience outside a radius of 50 miles from Walker County.
2. Application Requirements: Applicants must provide the following documents for their application to be considered.
- HOT Fund Reimbursement Grant Application
- HOT Fund Reimbursement Grant Agreement Form
- Event or Project Marketing Plan – should include target audience, list of media to be used, timeline and proposed event budget.
3. Use of Funds: The Texas Tax Code Chapter 351 provides a set of rules that states how HOT funds may be used. Ever expenditure of hotel occupancy tax (HOT) revenue must directly enhance and promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry. Use is limited to the following:
- Funding the establishment, improvement, or maintenance of a convention center or visitor information center
- Administrative costs for facilitating convention registration
- Advertising, solicitations, and promotions that attract tourists and convention delegates to the county or its vicinity
- Expenditures that promote the arts. Please note that it is not enough that a facility or event promotes the arts; state law requires that the expenditure also must be likely to directly promote tourism and the hotel and convention industry.
- Funding historical restoration or preservation programs
- Certain sporting event related expenses
- Signage directing tourists to attractions frequently visited by hotel guests.
- Transportation systems for tourists
4. Evaluation Criteria: The HOT Board will use the following categories to evaluate applications:
|Program Quality||30%||Does the applicant’s organization have a thorough strategic marketing plan for the event or project?|
& Overnight Stays
|30%||How many people are expected to attend and how many of those in attendance will be staying overnight in Walker County?|
|Promotion of Tourism||30%||Does the marketing plan for the event or project focus on an audience outside a 50 mile radius of Walker County?|
|Event or Project History||10%||Special event or project funding may be limited to a three (3) year cap. After three (3) years of a successful event or project the applicant must show an increase in hotel stays year-to-year. If the applicant’s event or project does not increase in hotel stays it may be considered a community event and become ineligible for funding.|
5. Award of Funding: Upon evaluation of all applications, the HOT Board will award funding based upon the budget provided by City Council. The total funds available at any given time may restrict the City’s ability to fully fund a reimbursement grant.
6. Reimbursement Process: All applicants that are awarded funding from the HOT Fund Reimbursement Grant must submit a Post Event Form and supporting receipts before receiving reimbursement. Failure to submit a Post Event Form and supporting receipts will result in the ineligibility for reimbursement and future funding from the HOT Board. The City of Huntsville reserves the right to decide the following:
- How funding will be dispersed.
- If partial or full awarded funding should be reimbursed based upon review of the post event form.
- Deny the award of the HOT Fund Reimbursement Grant if the event or project is canceled.
A budget worksheet is recommended and available here: https://huntsvilletexas.com/DocumentCenter/View/862/Event-Budget-Worksheet