A new hotel in the works for Turlock will not only increase one of the City’s revenue sources, but also contribute to an expanding hotel economy expected to grow with the rest of the town’s amenities.
At their last meeting on Dec. 5, the Planning Commission approved a one-year time extension to a previously-approved 85-room, four-story hotel proposed on the 1.85-acre parcel at 4475 N. Golden State Blvd., in between Suburban Propane and Bonander Truck Sales. When complete, the La Quinta Inn & Suites will be the tallest building in Turlock.
While a La Quinta hotel may seem like just another business chain rolling into Turlock, the City’s Assistant to the City Manager for Economic Development and Housing Maryn Pitt explained how more rooms lead to more revenue. Turlock’s Transient Occupancy Tax, or hotel tax, is charged to travelers when they rent accommodations in a hotel, inn, or other lodging for less than 30 days. Turlock’s current TOT rate is 9 percent, which is consistent which other communities in Stanislaus County, and in 2018-2019 generated about $1.66 million.
With around seven hotels in Turlock and over 500 rooms available to rent, events at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, business trips and Stanislaus State draw visitors from all over. The new La Quinta could produce up to $125,000 in revenue from the hotel tax, though Pitt says raising the TOT would hardly make a dent in the City’s struggling reserves.
“People have said, ‘Well you should raise the TOT to fix the budget,’” Pitt said. “Raising it by one percent and going to 10 only buys us a couple hundred thousand dollars. That’s not going to fix anything.”
Still, adding to the City’s TOT revenue never hurts, Pitt added. There’s always a need for rooms in Turlock, and with the university growing each year, that trend isn’t expected to change.
“We’re always looking in terms of continuing to have a demand for hotels, especially as the university grows,” she said. “As a parent of a college student, when your child goes more than 100 miles away for school, if you want to see them then you’ve got to get a hotel room.”
Almost half of the most recent freshman class at Stanislaus State came to the school from between 90 and 150 miles away, Pitt added.
“With special events like graduation and other parents’ weekends, I see that as one of the huge opportunities for hotel growth in Turlock — the presence of the university and its production growth,” Pitt said.
In addition to parents visiting their children who attend Stanislaus State, which accounts for plenty of the rooms booked in Turlock hotels each weekend, the university also helps keep hotels full thanks to visiting collegiate sports teams who stay in town to play the Warriors. These visitors, as well as guests who stay in hotels during overnight shopping trips, account for fully-booked Fridays and Saturdays at hotels in Turlock.
Hotels are also full Mondays through Thursdays with business travelers, including companies with international presence like Sensient Natural Ingredients or Valley Milk. Companies from the domestic sector, such as Foster Farms, also have employees stay in Turlock.
“The only night where we have consistently low occupancy in Turlock is Sunday night, then it converts back to business travel from leisure,” Pitt said.
In addition to the La Quinta hotel, a Home2 Suites by Hilton is also being constructed on Lander Avenue next to the existing Hampton Inn. The La Quinta hotel was recently named one of the top pet-friendly hotel chains by USA Today, and the already-approved project is currently for sale and looking for a new investor.