Lodging Association meets
Trying to reduce the impact of slow summers, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe General Manager Joe Hasson told a packed room of lodging managers that he wants to fill their rooms.
“The first thing we see and hear from tenured people is this is not the summer we think it’s supposed to be,” Hasson said Thursday at the monthly meeting of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association. “I’d like to extend an offer to tug on my sleeve and tell me what I can do to get customers. I need to hear what your needs are.”
Ironically, Harrah’s has been filling its rooms – even on midweek days, Hasson said. But Harrah’s and Harveys Resort & Casino want more customers on the gambling floors, and they need lodging available on the California side to pull it off.
Part of that equation involves the convention center that Harveys Casino Resorts proposed to build, some lodging managers told Hasson.
Many have been waiting to see if Harrah’s will take over where Harveys left off.
Hasson would not commit to the wedge-shaped redevelopment project planned at Stateline, which calls for 100,000 square feet of convention/meeting space. At first glance, he sees the project as “intriguing.”
“I’m going to look at it with a sharp pencil. The question is what dollars, what commitment, what brain power and what partners,” he said. “My company will put its dollars where it will get the greatest amount of return.”
Hasson reminded the group that Harrah’s has shown it hasn’t shied away from investing in the Lake Tahoe property. With the $675 million acquisition of Harveys a week ago, a chunk of those dollars went into the Lake Tahoe property.
He called on those who rely on tourism as the lifeblood of their business to join Harrah’s in finding a way to reinvent the marketplace.
“It has become imperative for us to reinvent ourselves. We’ve got to reinvent ourselves because every other competitive market is (doing so),” he said, listing Atlantic City, Las Vegas and New Orleans as formidable competitors.
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