GUEST COLUMN: Setting the record straight on the LTVA |

GUEST COLUMN: Setting the record straight on the LTVA

As the new year approaches, the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority would like to update the community on the successes of 2011. As the executive director for the past three years, I’ve received numerous questions from folks about the LTVA and its initiatives. Care to take a test drive with us by playing a game of True or False.

The LTVA’s primary mission is to drive overnight visitation to the destination. TRUE.

While we certainly recognize the day trip guest is important, the overnight guest, particularly the destination guest, affects the collection of taxes and generates positive economic impact.

LTVA focuses on the Northern California drive market. TRUE.

The Authority recognizes Northern California as the primary drive market and easier to stimulate visitation in recent recession years. But, the LTVA is tasked with generating exposure and buzz for the destination not only in Northern California, but also the domestic fly markets and internationally. We do this through collaborative regional partnerships to leverage limited funds in national and international markets.

The organization utilizes only traditional advertising to reach potential visitors to the area. FALSE.

Through a strategic marketing plan LTVA utilizes advertising, online, special events, public relations, social media, trade shows, partnerships and visitors centers to position the destination as one that combines scenic beauty with world-class outdoor recreation, upscale resort amenities, headliner entertainment, nightlife and gaming.

LTVA makes significant contributions to the community. TRUE.

The American Century Championship Golf Tournament provided $100,000 for 27 organizations. The LTVA also strives to utilize local businesses for products and services for various events, projects, media opportunities and promotional efforts. For instance, the 2011Amgen Tour of California Overall Start utilized many business partners including local artists, website designers, marketing/PR partners, apparel companies, lodging properties, restaurants and caterers, bakeries, etc.

The LTVA staff makes independent decisions about the budget, projects, contracts, etc. FALSE.

The LTVA depends upon representatives from its various constituencies: lodging, recreation, attractions, retail, and government to provide input. The Marketing Advisory Committee does much of the heavy lifting in regard to market research, budget allocations, creative direction, etc., and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for review and approval. Public Relations and Sales Committees provides direction for initiatives. Staff receives direction from the tourism professionals in our community.

The Authority is funded only by transient occupancy tax. FALSE.

The LTVA receives no TOT from the City of South Lake Tahoe. The South Lake Tahoe Tourism Improvement District on the California side of the bi-state destination was formed to provide marketing funds previously granted by the City. The District is comprised only of lodging properties that agreed to self-assessment for the purpose of marketing the destination. Representatives from the SLTTID have Board seats. The Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority on the Nevada side provides the largest portion of the LTVA’s revenues. Additionally, the LTVA pursues grant funding to supplement the budget. includes information on opportunities, promotions, meetings and ways to get involved. TRUE.

Launched in January 2010,, is our direct communication vehicle with local businesses and community members. The site includes information on LTVA Committees and Meetings, Opportunities, Industry News and Press Releases, and Resources and Community Links.

The online strategy only focuses on Facebook ad buys. FALSE.

The summer advertising online campaign, includes banners, video, paid search and e-newsletters, performed incredibly well: the campaign a click-through rate of 0.33% – over 5 times the industry average of 0.06%. We benefited from over 12 million impressions and almost 40,000 clicks. Paid search drove close to 82,000 clicks, representing a 30% increase from 2010. Visit the new website, live as of December 12. One of our biggest initiatives to date, this site becomes the foundation and the powerhouse behind our online presence.

The LTVA doesn’t work with its North Shore counterpart to market Lake Tahoe as one destination. FALSE.

The LTVA and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association are collaborative on many initiatives, including promotion of air service into Reno Tahoe International Airport, the High Sierra region through Visit California (the CA State tourism organization) on special events like the Amgen Tour of California and in international markets such as Australia, Great Britain and Brazil.

We look forward to working with you to benefit the Tahoe South community. TRUE.

Stay tuned for series of editorials in the coming year on our new brand, winter campaign and updates on events, programs and LTVA’s initiatives.

– Carol Chaplin

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