As we near the end of 2017, it is my pleasure to provide a brief update on a development that has been in consideration by the RSCVA and two other public agencies for nearly two years. On December 12th, the nine-member RSCVA Board of Directors voted to move forward for the public’s benefit with the finalization of terms and the creation of a contract that would transfer this organization’s ownership of Wildcreek Golf Course. As indicated distinctly in the RSCVA’s five-year strategic plan, the RSCVA’s efforts must be concentrated on attracting visitors through expanded marketing programs, as well as increased sales programs in the meetings, conventions, sporting events, and trade show market segments. Transferring the 212-acre Wildcreek site to Washoe County and the Washoe County School District will be good for the overall community. WCSD intends to build a new modern high school on 75 acres of the property, partially satisfying the dire need for more schools in the region. The remaining acreage is being retained by Washoe County and is intended for use as open park space, plus a nine-hole executive style golf course with a driving range and clubhouse, too. The RSCVA Board of Directors is very pleased with this result, as this property will continue to serve the local community in a more meaningful way, providing a healthy learning environment where children in Washoe County can grow into the leaders of the future. The following includes some highlights from the RSCVA’s December Board of Directors meeting. As always, the RSCVA appreciates your dedication to the strength and vitality of the entire Reno Tahoe region, both economically and culturally. We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season. All of us at the RSCVA look forward to serving the community throughout the new year.
RENO TAHOE PREPARES FOR CHINA
Outbound travel from China is increasing at a rapid pace, with more than 127 million Chinese hitting the roads and skies of the world this year – the single largest number of travelers anywhere from one country. By 2020, the number is estimated to be 200 million Chinese travelers annually, worldwide.
Here in the western United States, more than 49,000 nonstop airline seats each week from China land on our western shoreline, primarily in nearby Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
With nearly the population of the entire United States, China’s middle-class now tops 300 million people. It is only a matter of time that we’ll see more visitation from China here in our region.
The RSCVA is making it a strategic priority to attract visitors from this growing leisure market segment. The RSCVA Board of Directors unanimously approved the staff recommendation to retain PHG Consulting, a subsidiary of Preferred Hospitality Group, to represent Reno Tahoe in China.
The company will serve as the Authority’s sales and marketing arm to promote and sell the destination to the Chinese consumer, travel trade and media, while also advising our resorts, hotels and attractions on how best to prepare and serve the needs of the Chinese visitor and market.
CONVENTION AND TOURISM SALES
The Reno Tahoe destination realizes nearly 600,000 meeting and convention driven room nights on an annual basis. This market segment is expected to grow further as our area resorts continue to invest in their properties, as airlift continues to grow with more air seats, and as the destination continues to benefit from a healthy economy.
This year, the RSCVA has expanded its sales presence nationally by adding new regional sales offices in Atlanta, Sacramento and Las Vegas, augmenting other offices in Washington, DC, Denver, Portland and Southern California.
The RSCVA is prioritizing room night growth over the next five years by partially directing funds to increase representation in new markets, as well as further emphasizing convention sales, especially to the tradeshow segment.
The RSCVA’s overall tourism strategy is to enhance sound, strategic and creative tourism sales and marketing programs to position Reno Tahoe as a premier western U.S. resort destination via highly targeted partnerships, tradeshows and communication programming.
BRAND MARKETING UPDATE FOR 2017
Following the May 2017 rebranding of Reno Tahoe, which included an aggressive marketing campaign focused primarily in the Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco Bay Area, website traffic to VisitRenoTahoe.com indicates the new brand is positively impacting target markets.
The relatively new advertising markets of Los Angeles and Seattle are showing web traffic increases of more than 450%, and Bay Area web visits remain strong, as it is traditionally our most heavily targeted market.
Recent reporting also indicates that millennials (ages 25-34) are the most regular traffic source on the site, spending 13% longer on average than other segments. On the heels of Reno Tahoe’s May 2017 rebranded marketing campaign, more than 1.9 million visits were recorded to VisitRenoTahoe.com within the first six months of launching the new website. .
RSCVA WELCOMES NEW BOARD MEMBER—MARK STERBENS
Mark Sterbens, Senior Vice President & General Manager at Nugget Casino Resort, was appointed to the RSCVA’s nine-member Board of Directors, representing the Nevada Resort Association. Mr. Sterbens replaces outgoing Board Member John Farahi – CEO of the Atlantis, whose second two-year term expires at the end of December.
The RSCVA thanks Mr. Farahi for his longtime service, tireless effort and commitment to the RSCVA Board of Directors and Nevada’s tourism industry.