The results of a months-long feasibility study on the impacts of potentially expanding the Reno-Sparks Convention Center (RSCC) were presented to the RSCVA Board of Directors at its June 28th meeting. Johnson Consulting of Chicago, which administered the study, detailed how a future expansion of the center would help diversify demand in the economy, acting as a powerful hedge against economic downturns and drive higher room rates in the Reno Tahoe area – while attracting additional convention business to the region. The study also suggested that expansion and upgrades to the RSCC would likely double the number of facility events. Two unique expansion options have been presented, varying in cost from $164 million to $273 million. The larger version adds over 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, plus additional meeting rooms. The expanded size would be able to accommodate nearly 80% of the trade shows held in the USA and position Reno Tahoe as a key convention destination in the west, while leveling the competitive playing field with other western cities that vie for this business. Meetings, conventions and business events contribute 500,000 – 600,000 room nights consumed annually in Washoe County. To maintain and grow that market, the destination has to stay competitive. Nearly a dozen nearby destinations are currently upgrading and expanding their convention facilities, from as little as $125 million in Sacramento to as much as $1.4 billion in Las Vegas and Seattle. San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Phoenix and others all have pending projects, too. As it has been more than 16 years since our last major expansion of the RSCC, it is anticipated that a significant investment is needed to maintain our current convention and trade show clientele and to grow and accommodate this market segment into the future. If the RSCVA obtains approval from the RSCVA Board of Directors and other necessary stakeholders, approval will then be sought from the Nevada State Legislature. An expanded center could be completed and ready for use by the end of 2022 or early 2023. The RSCVA will keep you up-to-date on any important news regarding the potential expansion of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Increased business and meetings travel also helps support growth in air service, an endeavor in which the RSCVA is heavily invested. Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RTIA) recently announced that Sun Country Airlines will begin nonstop service to Portland, Oregon beginning in November. This is another win for the entire Reno Tahoe tourism and business community, and the RSCVA is thankful for the great work the RTIA has done over the past five years to bring air service back to near-record levels. Other news from our most recent Board meeting can be found below. Thank you for your continued support of the RSCVA.
RENO-TAHOE AIRPORT AUTHORITY BOARD SEAT CONFIRMED
In a unanimous decision, the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority’s current representative to the RSCVA Board, Nat Carasali has been chosen to serve an additional two-year term. Mr. Carasali was one of three RTAA Trustees recommended for the seat. The RSCVA thanks Mr. Carasali for his service on our Board and for his tireless contributions and efforts.
GROWTH TRENDS CONTINUE IN TOURISM CATEGORIES
April 2018 proved to be another strong month for taxable revenue in Washoe County, registering a 4.6% increase (to $31.3 million) as compared to last year. The same month also reported a robust average daily rate with a 9.7% increase (to $109.06) compared to April 2017. Tourism sales goals and room nights were also strong during April 2018, registering notable increases in sports-produced room nights, groups/conventions actual room nights and a number of concert events at Reno Events Center.
GOALS & OBJECTIVES FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018-2019 PRESENTED
In another unanimous vote, the RSCVA Board approved the recommendation for the RSCVA President & CEO goals and objectives for FY 2018-2019. In terms of visitation and destination awareness, the goals for the upcoming year include an average 2.2% increase (to 1,278,000 total room nights) in visitor growth from three primary markets: the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles basin and the Seattle area. Along with maintaining exemplary satisfaction ratings from meeting planners and event producers for events held at RSCVA facilities, the second strategic priority calls for an increase in convention and group future room nights booked, to a figure of 280,000. Regarding RSCVA leadership and organizational health, the plan sets out to maintain an effective executive management team, while keeping excellent employee satisfaction and community involvement.