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TDVA targets regular gamblers

The Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority Board of Directors sharpened its focus on Thursday during a half-day planning workshop.

“We made great progress,” TDVA Chairman Mel Thomas, general manager of Caesars Tahoe, said following the workshop. “I thought we enhanced our focus.”

“We kept coming back to the idea that we’d like to focus on the FIT gambler,” he said referring to the “frequent independent traveler” with a propensity to gamble.



Board member Jim Rafferty, senior vice president of corporate marketing for Harveys Resort & Casino, encouraged the board to reorganize its master plan.

“Reconsider organizing around the customers rather than the plans that come our way,” Rafferty said.



“The goal of that way of thinking is a matter of “focus. It’s how you focus the energy of the organization.”

The board’s identified target customer – the FIT gambler – was considered distinct from the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority’s focus on the FIT, although both organizations often work together.

“This is an opportunity to do something that wouldn’t come from the LTVA. It’s too multi-constituent,” Skip Sayre, director of advertising for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, said referring to the LTVA’s bistate nature in contrast to the TDVA’s focus on Stateline.

In its relationship to the community, the five-member board consisting of four casino executives and one county representative expressed concern that it is sometimes perceived as an “800-pound gorilla” that forces its own way.

“You can’t get away from the perception of being a gorilla,” said board member and Douglas County Commissioner Don Miner. “Sometimes the 800-pound gorilla becomes the leader and sets the pace,” he added, encouraging more involvement in redevelopment efforts.

As a result of the discussions, board members decided to take a closer look in the future at such programs as airport advertising, destination marketing, events, Internet promotions, and corporate sponsorships, paying particular attention to how they fit into the sharper focus of the organization.

The board also worked on an orientation packet to give to organizations interested in seeking funding from the TDVA for programs and events. They want to emphasize the TDVA’s focus on a few major projects that provide measurable results of increased tourist visits and gaming revenue.

The planning workshop was facilitated by Steve Lewis, with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Service in Douglas County.

The next regular meeting of the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority is scheduled for March 8 with the location to be determined.


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