Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2004 | 10:51 a.m.
Two Las Vegas tourism entities -- the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and VEGAS.com -- won prestigious national marketing awards Monday.
The Washington, D.C.-based Travel Industry Association announced its 2004 Odyssey Awards to 11 travel operations, including VEGAS.com for its domestic travel marketing campaign and the LVCVA for domestic travel advertising for its "What happens here, stays here" campaign.
The two local operations and the other nine winners will be recognized in a TIA marketing event in Phoenix Oct. 28.
The Greenspun family owns both the Las Vegas Sun and VEGAS.com.
A committee headed by the vice president of hotel sales for the Loews Hotels chain judged entries in the Odyssey Award competition.
"The businesses and organizations both inside and outside of the U.S. travel and tourism industry can all learn from what the winners have done and are doing," said Felicia Fisher, chairwoman of the TIA Odyssey Awards judging committee.
In a news release, the president of the organization said the winners used innovation to stand out among other entries.
"The industry continues to be filled with some of the nation's most creative and ambitious minds," TIA President and Chief Executive William Norman said. "By embracing change and pushing beyond the status quo, they have set a new standard and raised the bar a little higher for all of us."
Bruce Bommarito, executive director of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, said the TIA awards are among the industry's most prestigious because the organization represents all components of the $552 billion travel industry.
"It's the prominent industry association," Bommarito said. "There's nothing of that magnitude that encompasses so many aspects of travel."
Bommarito applauded the efforts of the Nevada winners, including the controversial LVCVA ad campaign, which some critics contend conveys a tawdry image that scares some visitors away.
"To measure the success of a campaign, you have to ask, 'Does it work?' " Bommarito said. "Anywhere you go, you'll hear people talking about what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and it all goes back to that 'What happens here, stays here' campaign."
"To be recognized by the TIA speaks to the power of our most recent 'Vegas Stories' ad campaign," LVCVA spokeswoman Erika Yowell said. "It was attention-grabbing enough to get the accolades of this prestigious national organization."
The VEGAS.com domestic marketing campaign revolves around the Internet travel Web site's successful "It's who you know" campaign aimed to make the average Las Vegas visitor feel like a VIP. The campaign capitalized on television ads, advertising partnerships with AOL and the Los Angeles Times, a VEGAS.com-branded credit card and a full-service destination Internet site developed in Spanish.
"We're honored to be recognized for our creative approach to marketing and are proud that our methods have resulted in such strong growth," VEGAS.com President Howard Lefkowitz said.
Other 2004 Odyssey Award winners include the Missouri Division of Tourism; the California State Automobile Association; ARAMARK; Tauck World Discovery; the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau; the Arizona Office of Tourism; the Greater Cleveland Convention & Visitors Bureau; InterContinental Hotel Group's Holiday Inn brand; and Avis Rent A Car.