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RSCVA aims to grow visitation with Reno Tahoe USA campaign

By Bob Conrad

RSCVA NEWS RELEASE:

RenoTahoeORANGELogoThe Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) announced today that the organization will launch a new marketing strategy in order to attract more visitors to the destination.

The RSCVA is repositioning the destination in such a way that potential visitors better understand what unique attractions and amenities Reno Tahoe has to offer. By introducing the area to a fresh group of consumers the RSCVA will strive to increase the number of visitors to Reno Tahoe, increase the number of rooms/nights booked and increase the demand for Reno Tahoe, allowing local casinos, resorts and hotels to get competitive rates for their properties.

The RSCVA now has a new destination logo.

The personality and tone of the new marketing strategy is proudly unapologetic, confident, energetic, demonstrates a big sense of humor and embraces the quirky and fun.

“With so many travel options available to potential visitors and in light of the current economic climate facing the U.S. we had to take a hard look at ways to differentiate Reno Tahoe from competing destinations.”

“With so many travel options available to potential visitors and in light of the current economic climate facing the U.S. we had to take a hard look at ways to differentiate Reno Tahoe from competing destinations,” said Ellen Oppenheim, RSCVA president and CEO. “Research conducted over the past year has identified that RSCVA marketing messages must more effectively connect with potential visitors on an emotional, experiential level – not simply sell all of the features and amenities offered in the destination.”

This new marketing strategy is in a position to succeed because:

  • It is utterly true
  • It is informed by the past and projectable to the future
  • It can be applied to both Reno and Tahoe
  • It is differentiated – only this region can lay claim to such an attitude
  • It is motivating – it tells the target how to act and what is expected of them, rather than focusing on the location
  • It is purposefully simple
  • It is aspirational
  • It can apply to any activity and any frame of mind

“For potential visitors searching for an authentic experience in a pre-packaged world, Reno Tahoe is truly the only destination in America that delivers a refreshingly offbeat experience, every time,” said Mark Williams, managing director for Mortar, the creative agency that developed the new RSCVA marketing campaign. “Reno Tahoe has always celebrated the original, the eccentric and the unconventional. This destination has to give its potential visitors what they are looking for in a getaway. The new marketing strategy will allow us to give them what they want, today, and deliver on the promises we make.”

The new marketing strategy is based on comprehensive qualitative and quantitative research. The campaign approved today by the RSCVA Board was tested extensively with more than 11,000 consumers. It demonstrated that a bold and different approach motivated potential visitors to come to the region.

Extensive input from regional stakeholders, RSCVA Board members and consumers has also been taken into consideration over the duration of this project.

Research

The RSCVA embarked on a market segmentation study in January 2009 in order to target new markets that have either never been to the destination, ‘first timers,’ or ‘need reintroduction’ – meaning they have not visited Reno Tahoe in two or more years. These new target markets emerged out of the RSCVA core market (San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Central Valley) Research that was completed in the Fall of 2008.

“First timers” are a younger, ethnically diverse group who look for fun and excitement in a getaway, tending to be attracted to places like Las Vegas and Tahoe.

“Needs reintroduction” are older, more typically caucasian and often retired, with the time and resources to explore a wide variety of getaways for relaxation and interest.

Additionally, the RSCVA conducted research in 11 key Fly Markets in partnership with the Regional Marketing Committee (RMC). Fly Markets surveyed included: Los Angeles, Orange County, Chicago, Portland, Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Dallas, New York and Vancouver. This research was completed in the Fall of 2008.

“In interviewing more than 11,000 potential visitors in the Core Drive Market and 11 key Fly Markets, research identified that the region’s new target markets will gamble and visit casinos while in the area, said Michael Thomas, executive director for marketing, RSCVA. “However, gambling is not the main reason why this group would be motivated to visit Reno Tahoe. Both are more defined by what they don’t know about the area than what they do know, and both have generally positive perceptions of the destination.”

Common traits identified among first timers and needs reintroduction include: positive perceptions of Reno Tahoe, fun seekers, sharers of experiences, easy-going, gambling is just another fun activity, seekers of good value, unpretentious and searching for authenticity, appreciate the destination for its quirks, Web savvy and constantly curious explorers.

In all markets, perception of the Reno Tahoe area is generally positive, with consumers in nearer fly markets more aware of the area and more positive than those farther away.

Budget

To date, the RSCVA has spent $132,300 on this project.

Next Steps

The RSCVA along with its partner, Mortar, will develop a campaign tagline and present it to the RSCVA Board Marketing and Sales committee. Once approved by the Marketing and Sales committee, the updated tagline will be presented to the full 13-member RSCVA Board of Directors.

This new marketing campaign will require a long-term commitment by the RSCVA and key stakeholders.

In the coming months the RSCVA will work to develop a cooperative marketing plan with key stakeholders. Furthermore, a local outreach effort will begin in order to help the local community get involved with the new marketing strategy. The Reno Tahoe USA campaign launch is targeted for early 2010. A regional and national public relations campaign integrating this new strategy will introduce Reno Tahoe to potential visitors in key markets.

For more information on the RSCVA’s new marketing strategy please visit http://update.visitrenotahoe.com.

Additional information

  • Tourism and Hospitality is critically important to the economy of Northern Nevada. In Reno and Sparks, 34,500 jobs are in the Leisure and Hospitality sectors of the total workforce of 199,500. This represents 17 percent of the workforce directly employed in tourism-related jobs. (Info from DETR Research and Analysis Bureau, March 2009 statistics)
  • To date the RSCVA has conducted approximately 23 public meetings to inform key stakeholders and community members of the new marketing strategy.

About Mortar being selected to work with the RSCVA on this project:

January 2009:

  • 85 firms were proactively solicited to respond to the RSCVA Marketing and Advertising RFQ – including 22 from the Reno-Sparks-Lake Tahoe areas.
  • The RSCVA promoted the RFQ through the official public channels government agencies are required to use when going out for RFQ. More than 20 responses were submitted. Six finalists were selected to present based on their proposal – three were from out of market; three were from in-market; ultimately one in-market firm dropped out.
  • In January 2009, top qualifying agencies were interviewed by a nine-person panel.
    • The panel included the Chair of the RSCVA Marketing Committee, RSCVA executives, and regional tourism and hospitality stakeholders
  • At the conclusion of that process Mortar was the agency selected and hired by the RSCVA in January 2009.

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