Visit Huntington Beach Event Sponsorship Application

Our Mission: Market and sell Huntington Beach’s Surf City USA  brand experience as the preferred quintessential California beach destination leading to increased visitor spending and enhanced quality of life for residents.

Funding: Our organization is funded by a private sector Tourism Business Improvement District (T-BID) 4% self-assessment on overnight accommodations that our 23 hotels have agreed to collect to promote tourism in Huntington Beach, and a small amount of private sector funding for specific programs.

Event Marketing in Promotion of the Destination: VHB and its board of directors recognizes that special events and festivals can provide vibrant experiences for visitors, showcase the destination to specific niche audiences with special interests, and help drive general brand awareness. Events can bring in non-Orange County resident overnight and day visitors to the destination, which supports local retailers, restaurants and activity providers.

We provide three levels of marketing and service support for events and festivals, as well as three separate tiers of funding support, depending on the event, its target audience, its status as an on-going or developing event, and its visitor-resident mix of customers.

Exclusion of Support for Event Operations: VHB is a destination marketing organization. As such, our mission, expertise and support are focused on marketing, public relations, social media, visitor information services and group housing/ bid assistance for events. We do not provide operational support or funds for events. We can make local referrals for assistance with outside contractors for these services.

Section I: Eligibility:

For event applicants to be considered for support from VHB, all applicants must clearly demonstrate that:

  • The event will attract non-OC resident day visitors (including estimated quantity) and/or overnight visitors (including estimated quantity) to Huntington Beach, California.
  • The event will have a measurable, numerically quantified positive impact on the local economy, including estimated visitor spending and resident impact.
  • VHB can offer complimentary access to our online event impact calculator for applicants to determine estimated economic impact, provided that they supply the supporting data inputs that are accurate and up-to-date. Staff contact: Tonya Imada:  
  • The submitting organization has adequate resources and financial standing to produce the event successfully. The organization is a legally registered for profit or not-for-profit corporation with a legal business license in Huntington Beach, California or within its home municipality. 


Applicants for funding by existing, ongoing event producers must also provide an audit statement or current financial statements including the last available balance sheet and profit & loss analysis from the most recent fiscal year.  Applicants for funding by new event producers need to provide a projected budget, including projected total revenues, expenses and net balance for the proposed fiscal year.

Section II: Marketing & Visitor Services Assistance Levels

VHB can offer a variety of support resources for local events that serve visitors. Here’s an overview:

Core Marketing Support Level 1:

  • Free listing on VHB's events calendar on our destination website, which receives over one million unique users annually.
  • Social media posts on our Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter feeds that reach engaged Surf City USA visitors both in destination and out of destination, as well as a local audience: FB: @VisitHuntingtonBeach  Instagram: #SurfCityUSA  Twitter: @HBSurfCityUSA
  • Complimentary referrals to the event through our visitor kiosk and call ins to the VHB office
  • Free inclusion of event submitted photography and/or b-roll video in our image library for consideration in destination promotions, VHB's website, social media postings, and distribution to media

Core Marketing & Visitor Services Support Level II:

Same as above, plus:

  • Free listing in our annual printed Huntington Beach Visitor’s Guide events calendar for larger visitor events and weekly visitor activities. Distribution: 90,000  
  • Staffed volunteer visitor information table at your event, coordinated in advance with our Director of Visitor & Partner Services, Nicole Llido:
  • Free inclusion of event in periodic destination e-news sent to targeted travel media outlets and their editors/ journalists; on-going media pitches with timely submission of event information and visuals to our PR/communications team
  • Free outreach to local hotels by our professional group sales staff to secure competitive bids for event accommodations rates, room blocks, event space and/or catering, and related services as requested

Core Marketing & Visitor Services Support Level III:

         Same as above, plus:

  • Free feature placement of event promotion on our website,
  • Free enhanced social media promotions, to be custom developed, such as Facebook Live at the event, digital influencer familiarization trip (FAM) to cover the event, VHB blogger coverage of event, feature in leisure visitor e-newsletter, etc.
  • VHB boosted Facebook posts paid for by VHB
  • Free story about signature annual events in HB Visitors Guide, subject to content deadlines and constraints
  • VHB consideration of hosting individual media visit/ FAM during targeted annual signature event as part of sponsorship
  • If event works well as a hospitality hosting venue for meeting planners, VHB's group sales team can consider activation of planner FAM or hosted day activity for targeted planners as part of sponsorship
  • Consideration of Surf City USA Shuttle Service support for weekend events during months shuttle season (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
  • Other customized support services considered on an individual application basis. VHB is a team of innovative, creative destination marketing professionals. We welcome “off the menu,” custom promotional ideas for major signature events.

If you are not applying for funding for your event, please skip to section V.

Section III: Funding Applicants Overview

The number of sponsorships and funding available for event sponsorship by VHB is restricted and may vary from year-to year depending on budgetary limitations.

In general, VHB sponsorships shall not be considered as long-term commitments in order to encourage independent viability of events as well as support for new initiatives.

An organization can apply for funds for up to five consecutive years; however, there are no guarantees that a sponsorship will be carried over from one year to another. Sponsorships that continue beyond one year should normally expect a 20% decrease in funding each year. An exception may be made if the event organizer can clearly demonstrate through measurable results that the event or activity is substantially increasing its return on VHB’s investment to the City’s tourism community, particularly its accommodations providers that pay TOT/ T-BID funding.

Sponsorships may include in-kind services, direct cash payment; or a combination of both. Due to California anti-donation laws, gifts are not permitted (? Check this in CA). Good call.

There must be a clear value received by VHB for any event sponsorship. For example, groups or individuals coordinating and executing a public event or activity shall accomplish one or more of the following objectives:

  • Promote tourism by bringing in overnight guests to our hotels. (See specific minimum requirements within each funding level).
  • Improve or enhance the quality of destination experiences for visitors as well as quality of life for residents in Huntington Beach
  • Create direct economic impact to the City through spending in accommodations, restaurants, retail shops, tours and attractions, event fees, parking fees, jobs support and taxes generated
  • Provide a meaningful sponsorship recognition and marketing benefits package to VHB that helps our organization achieve its goals

Section IV: Budgetary Limitations and Submission Response Timing

Any consideration for sponsorships is predicated on budgetary limitations. Event sponsorship funds are limited. It is essential that prior to making any awards, VHB has the necessary funding to carry out its main mission and objectives. Therefore, the amount set for sponsorships will vary from year-to-year.

VHB will accept applications during two pre-determined time periods each fiscal year.

Applications will be reviewed by a nine (9) member task force of board members and staff selected by VHB’s chairman and CEO annually, scored by the agreed evaluation criteria, and recommendation for sponsorship funding agreed upon by the task force. The task force chairman will then submit the funding recommendations to the VHB Executive Committee and/or full Board of Directors for final approval and fund distribution.

These general distribution guidelines will be followed:

  • No more than 60% of available funds will be awarded in each year’s first funding cycle, to retain adequate funds for cycle two
  • Recipients of Level II and Level III funded sponsorships are required to submit verification of expenses paid for by VHB invested funds to receive their payment disbursement.  
  • Any unawarded funds may roll over into the next fiscal year to be used by Visit Huntington Beach as needed for general destination marketing programs.
  • Once the budgetary limits are depleted, no additional requests will be considered until there is a new fiscal year funding cycle.


Applications for event marketing support and sponsorships should be sent to Visit Huntington Beach: (add email)

Link to application: (add link)

Core Marketing Support Level I applicants will have their information processed immediately and can expect a direct response from staff within five (5) to ten (10) working days.

Core Marketing & Visitor Service Support Level II applicants can expect their application processed within ten (10) to twenty (20) working days and expect a request for a phone conference or in-person meeting with VHB staff to align agreement details and information exchange.

Core Marketing & Visitor Services Support Level III applicants can expect their application processed within fifteen (15) to thirty (30) working days and expect a request for an in-person meeting with VHB staff to develop a customized support program.


Funding applicants will receive a confirmation of receipt of their application via email within ten (10) to twenty (20) working days, along with a schedule for the next round of bi-annual funding sponsorships evaluations by the task force.  Applicants for funding greater than $5000 will be called upon to make a formal presentation to the VHB Event Task Force. They may also be asked to present to VHB staff, VHB Executive Committee and/or full VHB Board of Directors. 

Each group or organization making a request for submission will be required to submit a completed application as well as plans for permitting and marketing. Applicants for funding of $1000 or more are required to submit additional budget or most current financial statements/ audit documents (see tier requirements). The request for sponsorship will be ineligible for funding if any section of the application process is incomplete.

Section VII: Funding Tiers

Tier 3 Sponsorship under $1000  will be considered when all previously defined eligibility requirements (see Section I) as well as the following criteria are met:

  • Sponsorships are existing or new events and activities that take place in our Huntington Beach community
  • VHB’s participation provides an opportunity to nurture and support those that have supported or are important to the VHB and the hospitality and tourism industry
  • No event shall be considered unless there is a minimum window of at least 30 days prior to the proposed event

Sponsorships at this level will be awarded internally by VHB’s CEO and are not subject to review by the Event Sponsorship Task Force.

Tier 2 Sponsorship will be considered between $1001 - $5000 when all previously defined eligibility requirements (see Section I) as well as the following criteria are met:

  • An event budget is included at the time of the sponsorship application
  • No event shall be considered unless there is a minimum window of at least 90 days prior to the proposed event
  • The proposal includes a marketing plan with a detailed section on how this event will be marketed to visitors along with the budget, implementation strategy, and plans for securing appropriate permits
  • The proposed event or activity fits into the overall destination brand position that is the focus of VHB’s well researched destination marketing strategy, appeals to our targeted visitor markets, and reflects well on the City. See our annual marketing plan at: (link to current VHB marketing plan on our website)
  • The event or activity has the potential to bring to Surf City USA at least 100 room nights that can directly and specifically be attributed to the event
  • The event is for the betterment of HB’s hospitality and tourism industry

Tier 1 Sponsorship will be considered above $5,001 when all eligibility requirements (see Section I) as well as the following criteria are met:

  • A strategic plan is presented at the time of the sponsorship application
  • No event shall be considered for this level of sponsorship unless there is a minimum window of at least 120 days prior to the proposed event
  • The proposal includes a well-defined marketing plan with a detailed section on how this event will be marketed to visitors, including visitors that align with VHB’s key experiential pillars (multi-generational families, laid-back luxury travelers and action sports visitors), as well as an overall budget, implementation strategy, and plans for securing appropriate permits
  • The event or activity must fit into the overall branding Visit Huntington Beach is using for attracting visitors and must reflect positively on the City
  • The event or activity must have the potential to bring to Huntington Beach at least 500 room nights
  • The event or activity fits into the overall destination brand position that is the focus of VHB’s well researched destination marketing strategy, appeals to our targeted visitor markets, and reflects well on the City. See our Annual Business Plan
  • The proposed event or activity should be somewhat unique. VHB is not interested in providing support at this level for events that are similar to events that can be found in every other city
  • The event is for the betterment of the hospitality and tourism industry in Huntington Beach

Special Sponsorships: Occasionally an opportunity comes along to host a major signature event or activity. The cost may be higher than is normally allocated to event sponsorships the cost benefit far exceeds our normal parameters. These are viewed on a case-by-case basis and a determination is made depending on the overall benefit and its direct impact to the tourism industry, City of Huntington Beach and VHB's annual program of work or Strategic Plan.

Section VIII: Timeline and Application Link

In-Kind Marketing Only and Level I funded Events may make submissions starting February 1, 2019 for events occurring on or after March 1, 2019.

Level II or III Funding Applicants: Any individual, group or organization wishing to submit a request for Cycle One in FY18-19 sponsorship must complete and submit an application form to Visit Huntington Beach no later than 5:00 PM on September 28, 2018. Insufficient data or an incomplete application will disqualify any applicant. All applicants for this cycle, approved or not approved for funding, shall be notified no later than November 1, 2018, with funding available on or after November 30, 2018.

FY 2018-19 Cycle Two Timeline: Spring 2019, to be announced

Click here to download the application (link to come)