by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | February 15, 2013

Yesterday, Feb. 14, the Washington, D.C.-based American Hotel & Lodging Association announced it had completed its long-awaited 2012 U.S. Lodging Tax Study, and The Hotel Insider got a sneak peak. At the destination level, where competition among cities for group business is fiercer than ever, the lodging tax ultimately can be a deal-breaker for meeting planners as they weigh a city's potential appeal to attendees.

The report, which was compiled by Smith Travel Research and funded by AH&LA, includes a breakdown of the state lodging tax for all 50 states, as well as the total tax rate — the sum of all lodging and sales taxes collected at all levels, including state, municipality and other levels — for 182 cities, including the top 25 markets as based on room supply. Interestingly, only 20 states collect a lodging tax, and Overland Park, Kan., which is not on the top 25 list, had the highest rate at 17.5 percent.

Here's a snapshot of the lodging tax rate at 10 cities ranked among the top 25 markets:

Atlanta, 16 percent
Boston, 14.4 percent
Chicago, 16.39 percent
Houston, 17 percent
Miami, 16 percent
New Orleans, 13 percent
New York City, 14.75 percent
Orlando, 12.5 percent
San Diego 15.5 percent
Seattle, 15.60 percent

In addition to these taxes, a number of cities have additional flat-fee taxes per room night. For example, New York City levies a $2 per-room-night tax and a $1.50 Jacob Javits Center per-room-night fee; New Orleans assesses $1 to $3 per room night, and Seattle adds a $2 per-room-night Tourism Assessment Fee. Where do all the monies raised from these taxes go? According to the report, 41 percent are allocated exclusively for tourism-related purposes. An additional 16 percent are split between government and tourism, with the lion's share going to tourism.

The upshot: Planners should know what they'll be dealing with, taxwise, when they consider a destination.