‘Kids free’ is the focus of new tourism promotion | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Kids free’ is the focus of new tourism promotion

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Jonah M. Kessel / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ” The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority has kicked off its second promotion this year to help entice visitors to the South Shore.

The new Kids Stay, Eat, Play Free promotion will run through this month, and hopefully through April, LTVA Executive Director Carol Chaplin said. Right now she’s in the process of confirming business participation.

Heavenly Mountain Resort and Sierra-at-Tahoe are both offering vacation packages for visitors in which kids stay and ski free. About 20 other restaurants, businesses and lodging properties are participating in the promotion.

The campaign follows an LTVA promotion in February. Visitors could receive a 20 percent discount at participating lodging properties and restaurants for the month, Chaplin said.

The LTVA tracked the response to the promotion through Web site hits and anecdotal information received from participating businesses, Chaplin said. To kick off the promo, e-mails were sent to everyone in the LTVA’s database.

About 5,500 e-mails ” or 17 percent ” were opened, Chaplin said. From that number, about 1,100 views were transferred to Web sites of participating businesses.

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“For the first time out, it was good,” Chaplin said.

Murphy’s Irish Pub and the Rockwater Restaurant reported receiving about three promotion vouchers a day during February and other businesses saw a handful, Chaplin said. Since the vouchers weren’t specifically recorded, the LTVA didn’t receive hard numbers of the people who used the promotion.

But the good news is that the participating businesses received exposure that they wouldn’t normally get, Chaplin said.

So far the new promotion has received national press. The Chicago Tribune, Hartford Courant, Solano Magazine, San Jose Mercury News, Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram picked up the press release and ran news briefs and articles about the offers, Chaplin said.

This exposure is worth a significant amount of advertising dollars that the LTVA didn’t have to spend, Chaplin said.

Chaplin presented the February promotion results with the public relations committee, and everyone agreed that the promotions need to last longer than one month.

One of the ideas is to offer certain promotion two or three times a year.

“We’ll see what happens,” Chaplin said. “If the community is behind it, then we can get some traction.”

It all depends on whether businesses want to participate, Chaplin said.

Chaplin said the recent storms are also a positive development for tourism.

“It ensures visitors that there will be good snow conditions for spring break,” Chaplin said.