At the February 22, 2018 Board of Directors meeting, the RSCVA Board and staff enthusiastically elected to move forward with engaging SMG, an international convention and entertainment venue management company, to begin operating four facilities currently managed by the RSCVA. Included in the proposed management agreement under negotiation are the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center, National Bowling Stadium and the Reno Events Center. The RSCVA is proud and elated to be a catalyst for this milestone transition that is slated to bring better quality and consistency of customer service, industry best practices, efficiencies and financial improvements amongst other key benefits. Professional management for venues such as ours in Reno is not a new concept. SMG alone manages 76 convention centers, including North America’s largest—the McCormick Place in Chicago, at 2.6 million sq. ft. of exhibition space. The company also manages one of the world’s largest convention centers, located in Shenzhen, China, at over 4.3 million sq. ft. Large convention centers in San Francisco (Moscone Center), Long Beach (Convention & Entertainment Center), Salt Lake City (Salt Palace) and Denver (Colorado Convention Center) are a few SMG-managed facilities near us. Add to this impressive roster the management of 13 athletic stadiums, 70 concert arenas and 67 theatres and performing arts centers, and it is easy to understand the credentials, sophistication, depth and experience a company such as SMG brings to our destination. As we prepare our region of Nevada for future growth and vitality in the decades to come, it was essential for the RSCVA to identify a company who has extensive prior experience with facility remodeling, expansion and new construction. The RSCVA’s selection brings a company that has developed 30 new or expanded convention centers in the past 15 years. Our convention center is undergoing a remodeling refresh in preparation to welcome Interbike and other trade shows later this year. Concurrently, the RSCVA and community will analyze the feasibility and ostensible need for a convention center expansion. Having SMG and their strong management teams, industry scope, reach and experience as our partner will prove to be a fruitful alliance and strong benefit to our destination.
RSCVA TO CONTRIBUTE TO DOWNTOWN BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
The RSCVA Board of Directors voted unanimously to assist in funding the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) in the amount of $100,000 for the first year of the program. The BID may seek another year of funding after presenting results to the RSCVA Board of Directors upon favorable completion of the first year of operations. Based on a model employed in other cities around the country, BID was created to increase safety and neighborhood cleanliness while addressing homelessness and vagrancy in downtown Reno. The program will rely on a team of trained ambassadors, rather than the Reno Police Department, to provide a service combining elements of assistance and social work, while also addressing quality-of-life issues for the community’s transient population.
Convention, meetings and sports industry sales are currently on track to meet the RSCVA’s annual goal of booking 260,000 room nights this fiscal year. For the first six months of the 2017–2018 fiscal year (July–December), the RSCVA sales department has produced nearly 160,000 room nights of future business, showing a 12.9% increase year over year. Highlights from the tourism sales department show that travel agent bookings are up more than 30% in that timeframe, and visitor volume has increased 6.3%, helping to drive a year-over-year increase of 14.3% in taxable room revenues. In line with the RSCVA’s five-year strategic plan, industry-association sponsorships have been significantly reduced and some resources reallocated to sales representation in new markets. This has been accomplished through key additions of a trade show sales manager in Las Vegas, a local corporate and community sales manager based in Reno and a sales manager based in Chicago.
RSCVA TO CONTINUE PARTNERSHIP WITH STRATEGIC SERVICES FIRM OnSTRATEGY
The RSCVA’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a new contract for one year with strategic services firm, OnStrategy. Originally contracted in December 2015 to develop a five-year strategic plan for the RSCVA, OnStrategy has been instrumental in keeping the plan on track through its expertise and timely reporting, which provides, amongst other services, the RSCVA and participating hotel properties with data on visitors to the Reno Tahoe region, the effectiveness of marketing expenditures, and market performance analyses of local hotel properties.
CONVENTION CENTER FEASIBILITY STUDY UNDERWAY
Chicago-based Johnson Consulting has been authorized by the RSCVA Board, at their January meeting, to carry out a feasibility study on the potential expansion of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center (RSCC). The feasibility study will cover market demand, expansion characteristics, cost analysis, economic impact and funding options. Johnson Consulting was chosen based on their track record, client history, proposed project timeline, fee structure, robust analytical modeling and approach to expansion cost management. The firm is familiar with our region, previously acting as operational consultants for the National Bowling Stadium. The possible expansion of the RSCC—the first in 17 years—will greatly increase Reno Tahoe’s ability to accommodate larger conventions and trade shows that in turn favorably impact hotel occupancy throughout the destination.
RENO TAHOE TO HOST NATIONAL VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
The Reno-Sparks Convention Center will be home to the USA Volleyball Boys’ Nationals tournament, June 24–July 5, 2020, and is expected to bring an estimated 20,000 room nights to the destination. Reno Tahoe was chosen to host the event based on our region’s prior success with similar events, our long-standing relationship with USA Volleyball and our proximity to the West Coast.
BOARD MEMBER BILL WOOD REAPPOINTED
RSCVA Board Member Bill Wood was reappointed in January by the Board’s elected officials to serve a second two-year term. General Manager of the Crystal Bay Casino, Wood’s appointment was nominated by the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau. Wood has been recognized for his hard work and dedication to Reno Tahoe throughout the last two years and the RSCVA is looking forward to his contributions during his subsequent term.
SPECIAL EVENT PARTNERSHIP FUNDING SECURED
The RSCVA Board of Directors approved in January a $500,000 budget available for the allocation of special event partnership funding. Created with annual special events in mind, the funding program is a financial resource for events to broaden their advertising and promotional efforts outside of Reno Tahoe, to entice overnight visitation. Special events are critical to showcasing Reno Tahoe’s appeal to visitors, and help to increase hotel room occupancy, boost destination awareness, and enhance the overall visitor experience.
Fennemore Craig, P.C. has been selected to represent the RSCVA in governmental affairs through June 2019. The $62,500 contract will allow the RSCVA to develop appropriate legislative strategies, facilitate key coalitions, identify potential impacts of proposals, and communicate with key government stakeholders. Fennemore Craig, P.C. and its team of lobbyists specialize in collaborating with public organizations such as the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Richard Bryan—former U.S. Senator, Nevada Governor and University of Nevada Alumnus of the Year—is currently a director at the firm.
RSCVA INVESTMENT POLICY APPROVED
A policy guiding the investment of the RSCVA’s idle cash fund has been approved by the RSCVA Board of Directors at its January meeting. In accordance with recommendations of the Government Finance Officers Association and in compliance with Nevada Revised Statutes, the new policy is expected to increase revenue between $70,000 to $100,000 per year. The policy will determine investment objectives, delegation of authority, standards of prudence, eligible investments and transactions, internal controls, reporting requirements and custodial procedures necessary for sound management and investment of RSCVA funds.