The Visitor Center in Bend, OR

About Visit Bend

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about Visit Bend?

This list includes ten of the most frequently asked questions about our organization. If there’s something you’re wondering that isn’t on this list, please contact us for more information.

Who makes up the Visit Bend team?

A: Visit Bend is made up of a dedicated group of Bend-based staff, volunteers, and board members who live, work, and raise their families in Bend. Go here to meet our team. Go here to meet the Board.

What does Visit Bend do?

A: Visit Bend, a primary caretaker of Bend’s brand, is a destination marketing organization under contract with the City of Bend. Visit Bend uses social media storytelling, a robust website, and a variety of marketing, advertising, and public relations tools to attract visitors and encourage them to connect with our community.

Why was Visit Bend created?

A: Like many towns in Oregon, Bend relies on tourist dollars to keep our city’s economy healthy. Oregon’s boundless beauty draws guests from around the globe, and with no statewide sales tax, lawmakers devised a system to ensure visitors can help support services like police and fire in the towns they visit. The result is a state law dedicating a significant portion of transient room tax revenue to fund those vital community services, while another portion gets funneled to destination marketing organizations (DMOs) across the state. Visit Bend is one of those DMOs tasked with ensuring a healthy flow of continued tourism revenue for our community and economy.

Who pays for Visit Bend?

A: Visitors do. Every time someone stays in a Bend hotel, vacation rental, or other type of short-term lodging, they pay a transient room tax (TRT). A portion of that tax revenue funds Visit Bend.

What happens to room tax revenue collected for short-term lodging in Bend?

A: Anyone staying in a Bend hotel, vacation rental, or other short-term lodging pays a 10.4% tax to the City of Bend. There’s an additional 1.5% statewide transient room tax (TRT) that goes to Travel Oregon, which is the statewide tourism bureau.

Of the 10.4% hotel tax collected by the City of Bend, Visit Bend receives 31.2% that’s earmarked for marketing our destination to potential visitors. The City uses the remainder of the tax money (68.8%) for its General Fund as well as Public Safety, which includes police and fire. In fiscal year 2018/2019, the City retained $6,999,471 from TRT revenue.

How much does Visit Bend make?

A: Nothing. Visit Bend is a not-for-profit entity, so all room tax revenue received goes directly back into serving its mission.

What is Visit Bend’s annual budget, and how can this money be spent?

A: Visit Bend has budgeted to receive $2.1 million from transient room tax revenue in fiscal year 2020/2021. An additional $150,000 comes from retail and advertising sales, bringing the organization’s total projected budget to $2.25 million. To see Visit Bend’s FY 20/21 Business Plan, go here.

Oregon’s state laws and Bend’s city code are strict about how Visit Bend can spend the money it receives from room tax collections. By law, the funds must go toward the promotion of tourism. The portion of room tax dollars that go into the City of Bend general fund are not restricted by this law.

What’s the difference between Visit Bend, Visit Central Oregon, and Travel Oregon?

A: Travel Oregon is the statewide tourism bureau, funded through statewide TRT (transient room tax revenue). They’re responsible for promoting Oregon as a whole, especially to international customers.

Visit Central Oregon is the regional destination marketing organization tasked with marketing unincorporated areas of Deschutes County, along with parts of Jefferson, Wasco, and Crook Counties. This includes resorts outside regional city limits, including Brasada, Pronghorn, Sunriver, Tetherow, and Seventh Mountain Resort. They are a not-for-profit organization that receives funding through TRT collections in the unincorporated parts of the region, and from Travel Oregon.

Visit Bend is the destination marketing organization serving the community of Bend and the businesses within the Bend city limits. Visit Bend is a not-for-profit funded through citywide TRT collections.

What is Visit Bend’s connection to the city’s arts & culture scene?

A: In 2013, Visit Bend spearheaded an effort with Bend’s arts and culture community to lobby for a 1.4% increase in the tax visitors pay when staying in a Bend hotel room. Visit Bend used this money to create the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund (BCTF), which became one of the largest arts and culture granting organization in the Pacific Northwest. Each year, Visit Bend sets aside 7.5% of the TRT revenue the organization receives and deposits the money into the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund. Since the creation of the BCTF, Visit Bend has distributed more than $1 million to arts and culture organizations, particularly those aimed at attracting visitors during Bend’s slower times like fall and spring.

Where does Visit Bend advertise, and who is its target audience?

A: By law, destination marketing organizations like Visit Bend advertise to people who reside at least 50 miles outside the city limits. Most of Visit Bend’s marketing efforts are aimed at potential visitors living within an eight-hour drive radius. Visit Bend’s primary target is families, with most messaging aimed at females age 25-44 with at least two children at home.