LTVA strategic plan builds framework for the future |

LTVA strategic plan builds framework for the future

Looking to the future, the otherwise battle-weary personnel at the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority sound excited.

The national economy is on the upswing along with consumer confidence, which bodes well for tourism.

Redevelopment, after years of sputtering along at Ski Run and plowing through planning at Park Avenue, is finally advancing. It is expected to revitalize Tahoe’s tourism image.

Funding, however, will continue to limit the LTVA’s marketing options but could also force open doors for more cooperative programs.

Moreover, the LTVA has its first long-term strategic plan and a framework to build the future to the year 2001.

The strategic plan introduced a new mission statement, imperatives and objectives.

Rather than the end of the process, the adoption of the plan in March is only the beginning.

“The strategic plan is the shell that you have to build on,” said LTVA Executive Director Ron Spellecy.

For the next few months, the LTVA staff, directors and committee members will huddle together to develop specific programs to put the strategic plan in motion.

“The key is to get the research necessary before taking steps,” Spellecy said. “Come Oct. 1 (the beginning of the fiscal year), we’ll be ready to go. It will be a well-thought-out plan designed to take us to the next level.”

“The outcome may not be what everybody wants to see,” said John Wagnon, the vice president of marketing for Heavenly Ski Resort and a member of the LTVA board of directors. “Strategic planning is never really wrapped up. It’s a process.”

The process began in October during a daylong brainstorming session with 40 members of the community. Larry Julian, president of the Julian Group, led the discussion. Joe Lathrup of the Orlando Consulting Group molded that material plus information from personal interviews into the strategic plan.

“When Lathrup came in asking questions, he found there were a lot of things boiling under the surface,” Spellecy said. “They were forced on the table by that.

“All these issues kept coming up and now they need to be dealt with. I’m not so sure everybody wants to deal with it.”

Issues include a definition of the LTVA’s partners and who the organization should be accountable to; whether the LTVA should focus on long-term solutions or short-term fixes; and what programs will be dealt to the LTVA or other organizations.

“Does it fit? Where does it fit into the puzzle?” Spellecy said of the questions to be asked. “We don’t want to make a judgment until we have the ability to know how it fits.

“I don’t profess to know all the answers but I have got a lot of questions. I’m looking forward to the time when/if we’re thought of by the majority of the community as being an asset,” Spellecy said. “I know we’ve got our work cut out. But I think we can be. We need some time.”

Chunks of research, the creativity of marketing specialists and the input of city and county officials are now being pieced together into the LTVA’s long-term marketing strategy.

“It takes time but it’s fun, if we can keep our sense of humor,” Wagnon said. “We’ve got to keep it in perspective. This is just marketing. We’re marketing something pleasurable – vacations, a spectacular place.”

The goal is a future to benefit the whole community.

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