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Who will market Tahoe?

Michael Schneider

Douglas County commissioners will make their monthly pilgrimage to the Tahoe Basin Thursday for more discussion on the feasibility of county marketing efforts.

Commissioners are still trying to decide if an individual marketing plan for the county to lure tourists to Tahoe is best, in light of feuding factions in the Tahoe marketing community. However, all parties seem to have put down their proverbial weapons in an effort to get along.

Commissioner Bernie Curtis said that after a presentation made by casino representative Skip Sayre, director of marketing for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, the commission “pretty much approved the plan” last Thursday “with some small reservations.”



Sayre said the commission told him the plan was what they wanted to see and called the proposal a “done deal” at this point. He said the new marketing plan will begin implementation in February but the item is still agendized for possible action.

The plan calls for an even split of money for the three areas where tourism promotion dollars are spent: marketing in Northern California, destination marketing in other areas of the West and special events such as the annual Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.



Sayre said two new aspects of the plan, which he said all the entities such as the LTVA and Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority have agreed upon, include more aggressive marketing in Northern California and a destination marketing plan.

The new aspects of the plan will use both public and private funds in an attempt to attract more visitors to Lake Tahoe and make up the 10-percent losses in casino wins and room occupancy the South Shore has suffered though in the last decade.

In what Sayre called a “two-pronged effort,” Tahoe will be marketed through television, newspapers and magazines in the traditional Northern California market as well as marketed aggressively in other areas.

The destination marketing plan will call for advertising in Southern California newspapers and magazines as well as advertising in specific cities throughout the West which are served by air carriers that offer nonstop service to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Sayre said the advertising plan will also explore entering into partnerships will various airlines to market Lake Tahoe.

The second part of the plan is expected to cost about $550,000 with $100,000 of that coming from private funding.

The entire marketing program is expected to cost around $2 million.

Curtis pointed out these funds are not available for the county to use for what it deems necessary, but must be used to promote tourism in the South Shore of Lake Tahoe.

“It’s not money we have a lot of control over – other than withholding it,” Curtis said.

Also on Thursday’s agenda are the proposed appointments of numerous Douglas County citizens to various county commissions and committees.

Twelve citizens have entered into the running for four spots open on the Douglas County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife. These 12 join the four incumbents seeking reappointment.

Eight residents, including two incumbents, have applied for the two vacancies on the county’s Planning Commission.

Three residents have applied for the three vacancies on the Ratemaking Committee, and only one resident has applied for the three vacancies on the Water Conveyance Advisory Committee. However the three incumbents have indicated they will serve again if asked.


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