Tahoe enjoying fruits of its Labor Day
In its second year, the Labor Day Lake Tahoe special event is on its way to accomplishing its purpose: the creation of an end-of-summer anchor event that attracts more visitors who stay longer.
The major features of the event are the Great Lake Tahoe Sternwheeler Race on Saturday and Sunday’s Spectacular Fireworks Show. This year premiered the Lake Tahoe Big Ol’ Fishin’ Derby on both Saturday and Sunday and a host of smaller events.
Labor Day Lake Tahoe was originally created through a joint effort between Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority and the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority as well as other community tourism interests, who wanted to see visitors come to the lake for the full three-day holiday.
“Everybody (in lodging) that I’ve talked to has shown an increase in business over the weekend,” said Pete Mac Roberts, president of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association and manager of Viking Motor Lodge. “Last year was OK but not spectacular. This year was much better. Saturday and Sunday, we were virtually sold out. Friday was strong, better than last year.”
Mac Roberts said that people checking into the motel also showed an increased interest in the specials events for the weekend.
The Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority is compiling Labor Day numbers for an official report. A preliminary look suggests business is up for the weekend, according to Steve Teshara, executive director for the TDVA and Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance.
“It looks like the Labor Day event had the positive impact on tourism that we anticipated it would,” Teshara said. “We should be in a positive position to make the targets as far as our indicators are concerned.”
The staff of specific lodging properties also reported increases.
“We were very strong for Labor Day,” said Todd Majoris, director of marketing for Lakeside Inn & Casino. “We definitely had guests staying over. Sunday night, we were full.”
Harveys Casino & Hotel reported a record weekend, according to Jim Rafferty, senior vice president of corporate marketing.
“We had a great Labor Day weekend,” said Rafferty, who hopes to see the holiday grow into an even longer event.
A Horizon Casino Resort, “everybody was very, very happy,” Evelyn Berg, special events coordinator, said of the weekend overall as well as that property’s fireworks party.
“We’re very pleased with the increase we’ve shown the last two years,” said Skip Sayre, director of marketing for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.
One of the specific goals of the event was to increase the number of visitors who stayed Sunday night rather than returning home early.
It appears to have succeeded.
“Sunday was great,” Sayre said. “It worked very well for us.”
Caesars Tahoe sold out both Saturday and Sunday, as they did the year before, according to Sue Hyde, Caesars vice president of marketing.
“We did see a blip last year,” Hyde said of the increases for the weekend.
Hyde added that Friday occupancy still remains a little weak.
“Overall, the weekend was a little soft in the hotel,” she said. “Friday was soft for us, but the casino revenues were up.”
Whether the event accomplished another goal, to attract attention and visitors to the fall events at the lake, remains to be seen.
But for what it did accomplish, Labor Day Lake Tahoe is considered a success.
According to Mac Roberts, “it was a real good-end-of-summer bash.”
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