New LTVA board member hopes to bridge the state line marketing gap |

New LTVA board member hopes to bridge the state line marketing gap

Sally J. Taylor

The appointment of Kevin Servatius to the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Board of Directors could bridge tourism interests across the state line.

Servatius, vice president and general manager of Harveys Resort Hotel/Casino and a member of the Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance, is the alliance’s appointed chairman of the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority.

The Gaming Alliance also appoints a member to fill one seat on the bistate LTVA. The alliance recently decided that seat should be filled with the standing chair of the TDVA.

In December, Servatius took the LTVA seat formerly held by Michael Bradford, president of the Lakeside Inn & Casino.

“(The joint appointment is) important for communications between the two organizations,” said Servatius, who also served on the LTVA board in 1992-93.

A 20-year veteran of the gaming industry, Servatius has worked for 12 years at Lake Tahoe. He has been general manager of various Tahoe properties for 10 of those years. Prior to taking the head position at Harveys, he worked as the general manager of Bill’s Lake Tahoe Casino and the general manager of Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

“I’m right in the midst of tourism,” he said, referring to both his work and board positions.

Servatius has also been involved in other community efforts including the board of directors for the Douglas County Education Foundation.

As a member of the LTVA board, Servatius sees the biggest challenge ahead as the need for adequate funding for promotions. Also needed, he said, is for the community to “embrace marketing Tahoe as a true destination resort; to reach into existing feeder markets and to explore new (distant) markets.”

With limited marketing funds far below other resorts, “that’s easier said than done,” he said.

Servatius, like his fellow new LTVA director, Dennis Harmon, also considers finding a new corporate sponsor for the Celebrity Golf Championship an important hurdle for the community.

“The players love coming here and the celebrities love coming here,” Servatius said.

Looking at a long-range focus for tourism, Servatius cited continued redevelopment as essential to the community.

“We need a 21st century product that will compete with other destinations,” he said, commending the city for its support and Douglas County for taking up the challenge of redevelopment.

The role of both the TDVA and LTVA in redevelopment is critical, he said.

“The two marketing organizations need to devise a strategic plan (to promote the re-created South Shore) while these products are being built,” Servatius added.

And working together is important.

“The TDVA believes strongly in marketing South Shore as one community,” he said, adding that guests do not see the difference between the Nevada side and California side. “The TDVA and LTVA have a joint mission to grow the market.”

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