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January 25, 2015

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State revives tourism conference after two-year hiatus

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki

The Governor’s Conference on Tourism, the state’s largest gathering of tourism professionals, is back on the calendar after a two-year hiatus.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism today reviewed a proposed agenda for the Dec. 7-8 event scheduled at the Peppermill resort in Reno.

“I’m delighted that we can reconnect with that tradition,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who chairs the Tourism Commission.

State budget woes led to the cancellation of the conference in 2008 and 2009. The 2008 event was scratched two weeks before its scheduled opening when Gov. Jim Gibbons called a special session of the Legislature to address a budget crisis.

Tourism commission director Dann Lewis, who was hired in mid-2009, concurred that the cost of what had been a 2½-day event initiated by former Gov. Richard Bryan was not affordable, which led to the cancellation of the 2009 conference.

But tourism leaders statewide were disappointed with the cancellation of the conference, and the Tourism Commission asked Lewis to develop a scaled-down version of the event.

At today’s meeting, Lewis said the two-day event would include panel discussions and speakers on current tourism issues.

Tentatively, the agenda includes the economic outlook for Nevada’s target market; a profile of today’s traveler, including how booking and expenditure patterns have changed in the new economy; communicating with today’s traveler; matching media to today’s traveler; cooperative advertising and promotional programs; and a panel discussion featuring some of Nevada’s leading resort CEOs.

Lewis didn’t list any of the prospective presenters.

Bryan was schedule to be honored for his role in starting the conference at the 2008 event and is expected to be recognized at this year’s conference.

The cost of the conference is being cut with the elimination of a dinner on the evening of the first day of the event. A lunch is planned on the second day of the conference at which Nevada tourism awards will be presented.

In other business, the commission and its marketing committee reviewed the effectiveness of the state’s 2010 winter marketing and advertising campaign and received a report on this year’s spring and summer campaign.

JoLyn Laney, deputy director of marketing and advertising for the commission, said the winter campaign generated an estimated $6.2 million more tax revenue on an annualized basis than the winter campaign of a year earlier, despite having $500,000 less to spend for ads.

The commission staff spent $1.7 million for ads compared with $2.2 million for the 2008-09 campaign — $1 million for television and radio, $500,000 for online ads and $200,000 for print advertising. Most of the ads focused on Lake Tahoe as a winter ski destination.

Laney said one of the pluses of the winter campaign was that awareness of Nevada attractions increased to 39.2 percent of the target audience, up from 31.9 percent in 2008-09 and 22.8 percent in 2007-08.

The state advertised winter attractions in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix and Seattle. The ads had their best success rate in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas markets, Laney said.

By medium, the state’s best success was online and in television, but Laney said one of the growing channels is advertising through mobile telephone networks, and the state is at the forefront of that technology.

The state is in the middle of its $1.9 million spring and summer ad campaign, which dedicates $1 million to broadcast, $773,000 to Internet ads, $110,000 in print and $27,000 in mobile phone ads.

Most of the ads are directed at residents of Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Reno to call attention to attractions and events in rural Nevada. There also is secondary advertising in the Sacramento area, the San Francisco Bay area, Salt Lake City and Phoenix.

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