One way to get event funding in San Diego is with a tourism marketing grant from the San Diego Tourism Marketing District.

Every year, the SDTMD collects an assessment on each hotel room night at its member hotels creating a pool of funds for marketing events or supporting programs throughout the year that bring more overnight visitors to stay in district hotels.  

Events and programs that the SDTMD has funded in the current fiscal year include sporting events like the national amateur tennis championships or the San Diego Crew Classic as well as cultural events like the San Diego Bay Food + Wine Festival. Yours could be next!

In this article, you’ll find great tips to help you secure event funding in San Diego:

  1. Checklist on how to get event funding
  2. Steps to submitting a funding application
  3. Application tips and workshop details
  4. Why should you get event funding in San Diego?

Let’s dive in:

How to Get Event Funding in San Diego: Checklist

Think your event might be a suitable candidate? Great! Here’s a checklist for securing event funding in San Diego with a SDTMD grant:

  1. Is your event in the City of San Diego?
    The district’s boundaries are the City of San Diego. So, only events that drive visitors to the City of San Diego and the district’s member hotels, which are those with 70 rooms or more, will be considered.
  2. Will a marketing grant increase the number of overnight visitors in the District’s hotels?
    Be creative. Could you add a second or third night to an event to give attendees or participants a reason to spend the night? Would your event potentially be larger and attract more overnight guests if you had some assistance with the marketing budget and the ability to get the word out?
  3. Is your promising event new and needs some assistance to get it launched?
    Assuming it’s intended to be an annual event, it may be suitable for a grant application from the SDTMD. In the past, the SDTMD has helped incubate ambitious events that have evolved to become signature events for San Diego from Kaboo to Wonderfront and the Holiday Bowl to Breeder’s Cup.
  4. Are you confident that an investment in your event marketing or marketing program could drive major room night bookings?
    The SDTMD measures the return on investment from each grant measuring incremental room night revenue from each event funded. Check out our past annual reports to learn about our ROI measures and performance.

Next Step: Submit an Application to Get Event Funding   

The SDTMD awards grant funding each year to applicants who can demonstrate the ability to generate incremental room night stays at TMD assessed hotels and a measurable return on investment (ROI) on TMD dollars. The typical time like looks like this:

  1. October — General Application Available
  2. October — Application Workshops (all applicants encouraged to attend)
  3. November — Applications Due
  4. January — Applicant presentations at SDTMD Board Meeting
  5. March — Funding decisions made at SDTMD Board Meeting
  6. April/May — TMD presents budget for City Council approval
  7. June — TMD issues contracts

The San Diego Tourism Marketing District will begin accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2025 funding beginning October 11, 2023 via our online submission system.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 17, 2023. Applications received after the deadline will not be accepted for annual funding requests.

Click here to learn more and start your application.

Helpful Funding Application Tips: Attend an Application Workshop

SDTMD strongly recommends that all applicants attend one of its workshops prior to completing the application. What you’ll get:

  • An overview of the application process
  • Insight on criteria used to select events for funding
  • An introduction to the online submission system
  • Q&A opportunity with financial and tourism marketing measurement experts

Virtual workshops will be held on Wednesday, October 11 at 10 a.m. and Friday, October 13 at 1 p.m. Register in advance by emailing Executive Director Colleen Anderson.

Why Should You Get Your Event Funded?

Hotels with 70 rooms or more within the City of San Diego are assessed a two percent fee on each room night. SDTMD uses these dollars to support the marketing and promotional efforts of a variety of programs, services and special events that help increase room night sales. How does this help?

It helps the local San Diego economy

Aside from San Diego’s great weather, food, people and culture, having your event in the city helps the local economy.

San Diego’s economy depends on tourism. It helps create thousands of jobs for our residents, billions in economic activity for our businesses, and millions in hotel taxes for the city. Visitor spending supports jobs for residents and results in important tax revenues for the City to support services that make San Diego such a great place to live, work and visit.

It helps improve the City

Having fun and diverse events creates a buzz that brings more out of town visitors to the City.

Moreover, guests who stay multiple nights in San Diego create a ripple effect with their dollars spent, impacting not only lodging businesses, but multiple other commercial entities, including restaurants, entertainment, transportation and shopping retailers.

This also includes public safety, road repair and other City services that are funded through taxes collected by the City on hotel room nights.


For more details on application guidelines, types and supplemental funding information, visit our application page.

Learn more about the San Diego Tourism Marketing District here.


Recommended Posts