Tahoe South Shore Tourism Forum to discuss changing market forces
For tourist destinations like Lake Tahoe, it’s about keeping pace with the competition. Evolve or get left behind might as well be the mantra for those in the tourism industry. In an increasingly competitive global market, it’s about what sets a destination apart from the rest — and sometimes a big blue lake isn’t quite enough.
As part of an effort to continue to address the region’s economy and future tourism focus, Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce and Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority will host their annual Future Ready South Shore tourism forum Tuesday, April 26.
The luncheon and presentation will include a series of speakers discussing pertinent issues concerning tourism within the Tahoe region.
“I’m excited about where we are right now and looking forward,” LTVA Executive Director Carol Chaplin said, describing topics for the forum. “I think the future is pretty bright.”
As to concerns moving forward, Chaplin and Strategic Marketing Group tourism industry consultant Carl Ribaudo both believe the region is on the right track, but there are still opportunities for improvement.
“Sometimes we fall into this mind-set that because we’re Lake Tahoe people will show up,” Ribaudo said, describing the increasing importance of cultural identity beyond outdoor offerings. “There’s more that we can do.”
When it comes to recreation tourism, Ribaudo explained that the market has become increasingly competitive. Destinations that create unique identities or experiences have an advantage. He will be among presenters at the April forum to discuss examples of other destinations that have capitalized on their unique culture.
“There’s lots of places to do these things now. Years and years ago we were one of the few in the recreation game,” he said. “We have to keep finding things that are more unique. Hopefully that’s Tahoe mountain culture.”
“We have a summer vibe that continues to evolve,” Chaplin added. When compared to some other destinations, however, she said, “We’re still catching up in terms of what our destination looks like.”
Both described recent advances in the region in terms of offerings like new restaurants, lodging and recreation opportunities and airline connections.
“We have a great natural product around us, but I don’t think we can lean on that too hard,” Chaplin said. “We really have to focus on delivering the experience.”
In addition to discussing regional identity, the forum will touch on catering to a developing millennial market and attracting more destination visitors from outside the region.
“If we don’t connect with the millennials, then we won’t be competitive in 10 years,” Ribaudo said. “Those destinations that do will have a leg up.”
In addition to Ribaudo, the forum will feature keynote speaker Lynn Carpenter, vice president of Visit California. She will address California’s statewide initiatives to attract U.S. and international visitation. Revenflo internet marketing company founder Jason Broadwater will also present on the unique character of the millennial market as well as misconceptions.
Chaplin said that word-of-mouth experiences through sites like Yelp.com are among keys to the future of tourism marketing.
The speakers will be followed by a forum and discussion with all three speakers and the audience.
The 2016 Tourism Forum will be held a Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, and includes lunch. Registration is from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Admission is $25 for Tahoe Chamber members and $40 for non-members.
More information is available at http://www.tahoesouth.com.