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TDVA becomes marketing organization

by Sally J. Taylor

The Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority Board of Directors on Wednesday took some baby steps toward becoming a marketing organization.

Bruce Redig of Charter Advertising Design presented the board with conceptual designs adaptable to a variety of advertising formats, including signs, magazines and Internet. The designs were extensions of an initial contract to develop advertising for display at the Reno/Tahoe International Airport.

“Our intent,” said TDVA staff member Steve Teshara, “is to have something the board can look at and have ready to go” for future advertising efforts.

Until recently, the TDVA, which held its first meeting in November, has focused on developing its organizational structure and working with the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority for tourism promotions. In April, the board approved funding for banners to promote South Shore events in the Reno airport, its first direct advertising venture.

In response to the Charter Advertising concepts, the TDVA board was particularly taken by the slogan, “Where luck comes naturally,” and it’s effective combining of Lake Tahoe’s natural features and gaming.

“I love it,” said board Chairman Kevin Servatius, senior vice president and general manager of Harveys Resort Hotel/Casino.

With suggestions for art design changes, the board authorized Charter Advertising to continue the conceptual work with that slogan, keeping costs within a $10,000 legal limit before bids are required. Charter’s current contract uses funds allocated by the board for “development” purposes, according to Teshara.

In other business:

n The board approved $40,000 from the next fiscal year’s budget, which begins in July, to help overcome a shortfall in the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority’s 1997-98 marketing plan. Because the LTVA’s fiscal year ends in October, the funds would apply to the current plan.

The LTVA marketing plan, developed with TDVA input, was based on overly optimistic estimates of funds from Douglas County room taxes, explained TDVA Director Skip Sayre, the director of marketing for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and part of the team that developed the plan.

“The marketing plan we have in place is important,” he said in support of the additional funds.

“The $40,000 in additional TDVA funds will offset proposed cuts in the Northern California (summer) marketing plan,” explained LTVA Director Terry LeBan.

With assurances that the LTVA would not be back next month asking for additional funds, the board unanimously approved the request.

n The board declined to support a request for $600 for advertising already purchased in the Carson Valley Almanac to promote the Minden-Tahoe Airport. They did, however, leave the door open for future collaboration.

“I’d personally be more comfortable, working toward the future, to have input before advertising is purchased,” said Douglas County Commissioner and TDVA Director Steve Weissinger.

While affirming the importance of the airport to Douglas County, the board felt the request did not fit into the organization’s mission statement, which is to increase room nights and gaming revenue.

The board requested more information and dialogue on the airport and the part it plays in tourism.

n The next meeting of the Tahoe-Douglas Board of Directors is scheduled July 8 at 6 p.m. at the Douglas County Administrative Center in Stateline.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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