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Keep funding Lake Tahoe marketing effort

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

If you build it, they will come.Profound words – and true, especially as they relate to Tahoe’s tourist economy, but with a twist: If you build it up, they will come.

With the post-Sept. 11 economic rebound, now is the time for Lake Tahoe and its private interests to look at past successes in marketing for tourism, and build on them for the future.

Collaborative marketing efforts, like the “Blue World” image campaign last year, work to bring tourist dollars to the economy. Tourist dollars in the economy keep people working and improve quality of life here.

The Blue World campaign brought name recognition to an area that has sometimes played second fiddle to places like Colorado, Hawaii and the California Coast. Local ski resorts saw the benefit of mass marketing this winter, posting big gains in skier traffic from the Bay Area, and from farther away, including overseas. The tourism industry is hopeful that this summer will also see an increase in visitors.

At last week’s Strategic Marketing Group Lake Tahoe Tourism Conference, industry professionals touted the benefits of collaborative marketing to the tourist economy. Nevada has also done it well, bucking a national trend by posting big gains in tourism. Pooling resources produces results. When tourists come here for the skiing, boating or outdoor adventure, they spill into the casinos and restaurants. They fill the hotel rooms and rental properties. Their dollars trickle down into residents’ pockets.

It’s not enough for the casinos to ask tourists to bring their luck to the blackjack tables – Californians can get that where they live. And it is certainly not enough for individual tourist-driven businesses to ask tourists to come for their individual amenities. Lake Tahoe is our selling point. They’ll come for the place, and stay for the extras, whether it’s concerts downtown, nightlife or even the celebrity golf championship.

During lean times, marketing is often the first thing to get cut, but lean times are when marketing can be most effective. One example of a step in the right direction is the city studying the possibility of a business improvement district to further fund marketing efforts.

Like with almost any business, marketing is an investment in the future, and Lake Tahoe’s future success will almost certainly hinge on its success in drawing visitors to the area.

If we build it up by investing in brand awareness, the tourists will come.


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