July 28th Update: The Office of the Governor has delayed the application dates for the TTIRP. Application dates are as follows:
- Hotels may apply for the program between October 1, 2022 and October 22, 2022.
- DMOs may apply for the program between July 6, 2022 and August 7, 2022.
August 11th Webinar: The Office of the Governor opened registrations for it’s August 11th Webinar for lodging properties. The webinar will be held on Thursday, August 11, 1 pm – 2 pm Central time. Register for the webinar here. It will be recorded and available for viewing later.
The Texas Governor’s office released information on how to apply for recovery funding allocated to the State of Texas from the American Rescue Plan Act. THLA’s guidance on applying for the Texas Governor’s office grants that are available to the hotel and travel industry through the “Texas Travel Industry Recovery Program” (TTIRP) grant program is as follows:
The TTIRP was created by the Texas Governor’s office in order to distribute the federal relief funds appropriated by the Texas Legislature in 2021 to the Texas hospitality and travel industry. TTIRP grants are capped at $20,000 per applicant.
The goal of the TTIRP is to reimburse hospitality and travel related businesses for losses they incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in early July of this year, the Governor’s office will begin accepting applications and distributing TTIRP funds to applicants in 5 phases. The deadlines for application vary depending on the type of business NAICS code attributable to that industry. There are 5 categories/phases for grants, each with associated NAICS codes that indicate the types of businesses that are within that category. The Governor’s office has not yet launched the TTIRP website that will provide further explanatory information, but we will immediately send out the link once the website is launched.
The deadlines pertinent to our membership are as follows:
- Category 1: Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s (CVBs). A maximum $8,550,000 in total is allocated to this category. The TTIRP application window for category 1 is July 6th, 2022 – August, 7th, 2022. We are still seeking clarity from the Governor’s office on which types of DMO entities may be eligible. The Governor’s office is still developing guidance regarding which types of DMOs may be eligible for funding. For example, the Governor’s office is working on guidance on whether a city department or a chamber of commerce that functions as a CVB will qualify for these grants. The Governor’s office plans to address this issue, post clarifying information and host another webinar on this specific category in the coming weeks. We will work with the Governor’s Office to advocate for the eligibility of CVBs to secure this grant funding and keep you posted on the status.
- Category 3: Traveler Accommodations (Hotels and bed and breakfast establishments). A maximum of $42,750,000 in total is allocated to this category. The window for lodging entities to apply for these grants is between October 1, 2022 and October 22, 2022. The Governor’s office is planning to host a webinar on August 11, 2022, at 1 p.m. specifically for category 3 applicants (hotels) to further explain the application process for this category of TTIRP grants. We will send the link for the webinar and a reminder for this event as that date approaches.
Applicants for TTIRP grants must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible:
- Must be an entity with an associated NAICS code listed in one of the 5 governor’s office noted categories. Hotels fit under the NAICS Code that is associated with Category 3.
- Applicant must be a privately owned entity (no publicly traded companies). We anticipate that it will not be a disqualifying factor that a hotel is privately owned but associated with a publicly traded brand company. We are seeking further clarification from the Governor’s office regarding this requirement.
- Applicant must operate within the state of Texas. If you operate a lodging business within Texas, you meet this criteria.
- Applicant must be a business that is open to the public or provides services primarily for in-person events. Again, Texas lodging businesses will meet this criteria.
- Applicant must be able to demonstrate a negative economic impact due to COVID-19. We are seeking clarification from the Governor’s office as to the method by which a hotel should show this “negative economic impact.” It appears that the Governor’s Office is likely to consider how your total sales numbers were impacted by COVID.
- The applicant’s business must have been in operation prior to January 20, 2020.
Application for TTIRP grants will be submitted through a web portal online, which will be located on the website for the TTIRP once it is launched. The applications will be reviewed not only for eligibility, but also for accuracy and completeness. Therefore, it is imperative that applicants submit a complete application.
The Governor’s office indicated that the following documentation must be submitted along with your application. However, we will note that more information and specific rules will likely be released in the coming weeks, and we are seeking clarification from the Governor’s office as to the details. It is advisable that you begin gathering the following documents:
- Texas Sales and Use Tax Returns 01-117 or 01-114. We are seeking clarification as to the year of tax return that must be provided.
- Most recent Federal Employer’s Quarterly Tax Form 941.
- Invoices for reimbursement. We are seeking clarification as to what type of invoices must be submitted.
- Veteran’s service or benefits letter if applicable. Veteran’s status is not required to apply but will likely provide a higher eligibility score, and we are seeking clarification as to the application of this criteria if there are multiple owners of a hotel.
Priority will be given to applicants who did not previously receive any “federal assistance.” Receipt of a PPP loan is considered prior “federal assistance,” but it is not likely to be a disqualifying factor for receipt of this grant due to the sheer number of businesses that received PPP loans. However, it is possible that receipt of a prior PPP loan may have a de minimis impact on actual grant amounts. A preference for grant awards is also provided for veteran owned businesses, small businesses, and businesses in certain rural communities.
TTIRP grants are primarily intended to reimburse payroll and other expenses and losses incurred as a result of COVID-19. If these payroll and benefits costs do not amount to the $20,000 cap for grants, other costs associated with efforts to mitigate viral spread and promote guest health and safety against COVID-19 may also be an allowable expense under the TTIRP. Additionally, the Governor’s office indicated that TTIRP grants may also be used to reimburse losses relating to certain rental and utility payments. Again, we are seeking clarification and will provide further information once available.
If approved, applicants will receive their grants via paper check in the mail.
The TTIRP website will include a step-by-step tutorial video regarding the application process as well as FAQ’s that will be geared to be helpful to applicants. Follow this link for the TTIRP home page; https://gov.texas.gov/business/page/texas-travel-industry-recovery-grant-program.
THLA will keep you updated and issue further instructions as the program rules and criteria are further rolled out.