December room-tax revenue was up 4.9 percent compared to 2017, closing out a strong year for collections. There were still 15 properties outstanding for the preliminary report.
The Town of Gibraltar had a particularly good December, registering a 15.7 percent increase from last year, behind only the City of Sturgeon Bay in dollars generated. The Town of Egg Harbor also showed gains of 18.2 percent. Percentage gains in winter months can be sensitive due to the relatively low values in collections, but they are important as the county strives to become a more year-round destination.
The City of Sturgeon Bay struggled in December, registering a 13.1 percent decline in collections from the previous year. Despite a deflated year in room tax for Sturgeon Bay, the city was still able to squeak out a 1.04 percent increase in annual collections.
And, despite a 1.4 percentage point drop in December occupancy rates countywide – down to 15.71 percent – a $14 increase in the average room rate – up to $115 – helped buoy collections. The report notes that occupancy-rate data may be inaccurate due to property owners listing vacant rooms that were not then part of their rental pool.
For those rooms that were available in December, property owners in the Village of Egg Harbor and Jacksonport saw more filled. Egg Harbor’s occupancy rate increased nearly six percentage points to 22.14 percent, although average room rates stayed flat at $98 per night. Jacksonport’s occupancy rate increased 7.5 percentage points to 14.57 percent, although the average room rate fell $35 to $146 per night.