Here is a rundown on transit-occupancy tax (TOT) and how a city bidding for a convention comes out ahead.
1. Bustling City bids $10,000 for JW's to have their convention for 3 weekends.
2. Each convention brings in 3000 people from out of town (those needing hotels).
3. 3000 people need 1500 rooms (on average).
4. 1500 rooms @$60/night = $90,000 x 2 night stays = $180,000 x 3 weekends = $540,000
5. $540,000 in sales for all hotels involved are taxed 7-11% (tax goes to consumer on top of price of room) - this is TOT.
6. $540,000 @9% = $48,600
7. This $48,600 goes to the city where the TOT was generated, and then used (typically) for promoting more tourism.
As you can see, in this hypothetical case, an initial investment of $10,000 is a very smart move for this city (if the convention managers accept).
This doesn't even take into consideration the benefit of local resaurants, which really like it, and participate in funding various associations which share expenses in promotions and so forth. Of course, the conventioneers do put a burden on infrastructure, like transportation, and this has to be figured into the equation. A big this also, is water - but another fee is usually added on to the hotel bill for this. A lot goes into making sure a city can handle this kind of event, as you can imagine, and there is opportunity for money to change hands and palms to be greased, but is very rare since there are so many people involved and it is a relaitvely exposed process.