Basinwide approach to Lake Tahoe tourism |

Basinwide approach to Lake Tahoe tourism

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

Have you ever wanted to tell community leaders what’s the big idea?

The 2003 SMG Lake Tahoe Tourism Conference — the first lakewide effort — provides that opportunity May 13 at Embassy Suites.

The Big Idea competition will award trophies to those who come up with the best marketing thoughts for improving the visitors’ experience at Lake Tahoe.

The deadline for entries — which may include profit and nonprofit organizations — is April 4.

The South Shore conference — which is slated from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. — carries a theme each year. Last year, conference organizer Carl Ribaudo who runs Strategic Marketing Group in South Lake Tahoe, mentioned sponsoring a creative contest.

The idea stuck. This year’s theme is: “The New Tahoe Era: Ideas, Strategies and Products.”

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Ribaudo wants attendees to walk away from the conference grasping new opportunities on how to market the basin at a critical time for the travel and tourism industries.

Looming war, high gasoline prices and a sputtering national economy have left many in the field pondering the effect on business.

“I want them to understand what the new Tahoe era is,” he said, referring to a region at a crossroads. The area seeks a redefined identity with ski villages, capital investments and the changing profile of the lake’s communities.

Conference-goers are expected to learn about the Lake Tahoe tourism economy, current travel trends, the media’s perspectives and key challenges facing our world at 6,223 feet.

Also on the agenda, the results of a Tahoe opinion poll relative to marketing will be given. The poll was sent to more than 200 people asking for their insight on factors affecting Tahoe such as the impact of the U.S. economy on tourism levels here.

Beyond the main sessions, roundtable discussions will cover the latest from the gaming, skiing and recreation industries as well as news from the Reno/Tahoe International Airport.

Conference registration includes lunch and costs $125 for two people or $100 for three. Cancellations are accepted for full refunds before May 5.

Major conference sponsors include: Embassy Suites, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, Tahoe Daily Tribune,, HD 96 Publishing, Switchback Public Relations, Sunset magazine, Tahoe Quarterly and Resort Sports Network.

-Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at