Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Nevada Development Authority have signed a two-year agreement with options that allows the NDA to man a booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s entrance hall to recruit companies to the city.
The new NDA booth is scheduled to debut today at the opening of the International Communications Association’s Infocomm 2010 that expects attendance of about 32,000 people.
The LVCVA is not charging rent for the 16-by-8-foot booth, which includes five video monitors and is expected to be manned by up to four NDA employees at a time.
The booth is part of NDA’s continuing effort to diversify Southern Nevada’s economy by encouraging companies not engaged in gaming or tourism to develop a presence here.
“I can’t begin to tell you how great this is for us,” said NDA President and CEO Somer Hollingsworth. “I don’t even want to put a price tag on its value. It’s through the roof.”
Hollingsworth said the booth is important because more than 2 million people will pass by it in a year. It’s located near a high-traffic area near the Convention Center’s food court.
LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said representatives of the two Southern Nevada organizations came up with the idea of the permanent booth while commiserating over the state of the economy.
“We both had challenges in the economy and Sommer and (NDA board chairman) Glenn (Christenson) got together and did a little brain-storming about the possibility of joining together in a partnership,” Ralenkotter said. “That’s how it started and from there, we just went forward with a few ideas and concepts.”
Christenson is a former LVCVA board member.
Ralenkotter said the booth would give the NDA the opportunity to pitch Southern Nevada as a location for business to companies visiting the city for conventions and trade shows. But he also said the LVCVA could pick up some leads for convention business shared through the NDA presence.
It would be up to the NDA, Ralenkotter said, to determine during which conventions the organization would want to man the booth, but Hollingsworth said that between now and the end of the year, “we’ll try to hit every one.”
Because of the massive size of the Convention Center — at 3.2 million square feet, it is one of the largest meeting halls in the world — NDA officials could greet several different industry leaders exhibiting there on the same day.
“You never know who’s attending that convention that could be a potential client,” Hollingsworth said.
Ralenkotter and Hollingsworth said it was the first time the two organizations had formally agreed to a partnership and the first time, to their knowledge, that a development authority had teamed with a convention and visitors bureau.
Hollingsworth said the NDA has set up a temporary 10-by-10-foot booth in some locations in the past when on a road trip to Southern California or the East Coast and gotten floor passes to attend some local conventions for recruitment purposes.
The five video monitors at the booth will include three that run continuous-loop content about conducting business in Southern Nevada, the lifestyle of the community and entertainment in the city. Some of the videos feature Las Vegas illusionist Lance Burton. Two other video monitors include interactive content about the city and its business opportunities.
“We’ve learned how important it is to diversify our economy,” Hollingsworth said. “You don’t want to be all tech or all manufacturing, which is why being in front of so many industries is important to us. We’ve never had a Google come here, and we’re not going to be the headquarters for AT&T, but that next tier of companies is getting better and better and it’s only a matter of time before one of the big companies takes notice.”