At 20, Conference Center sees North Shore support
Twenty years ago this May, the North Tahoe Community Conference Center opened its doors as a meeting space for the first time.
And a growing partnership between the conference center, local businesses and agencies is looking to keep the facility open for another 20 years. The North Tahoe Public Utility District board of directors passed a resolution at their meeting last week formally recognizing the conference center’s 20-year anniversary since it was renovated from a bowling alley in 1988.
At the meeting, the district also approved an adjusted fee structure for the conference center’s room rental rates and accepted a $15,000 grant from the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association to give the conference center’s Web site and marketing materials a cohesive and fresh, modern look.
“The purpose of this grant is to take our very dated materials and take them up to speed to reflect the type of marketing we’re proposing,” said Public Works Manager Lee Schegg.
The resort association’s grant joins another $20,000 the NLTRA earmarked for the conference center to purchase a software program that will eliminate paperwork and increase the business’ efficiency in keeping records, billing and updating their database.
“These assets are needed to enable the conference center to go out and compete for business,” said Alex Mourelatos, chair of the conference center’s technical working group.
The resort association’s grant contributions join the North Tahoe Business Association’s decision to dedicate staff time to work with the conference center staff on marketing strategies, as well as support from the local businesses and lodging
Mourelatos is working to establish a teaming model that will link local lodging businesses to conference center bookings, increasing shoulder-season revenue for the businesses and giving the conference center a competitive edge.
“It’s really exciting to see a collaboration of the PUD, local businesses, the NTBA, NLTRA and Placer County and the lodging community ” all coming together to improve the performance of the conference center,” Mourelatos said.
Conference Services Director Nora Daniels said she feels honored by all of the support rallied for the conference center, which has struggled in recent years to just break even financially ” an expense the North Tahoe Public Utility District has covered.
“I think what’s exciting for me right now is that so many local agencies are getting involved,” Daniels said. “And realizing all over again how important this facility is to the Kings Beach area, the North Shore area, especially with all the redevelopment on the horizon. It feels good to me to have the support of all the people who are volunteering their time to help get [the conference center] back on track.”
Daniels said updating the marketing resources, which were designed at least 15 years ago, is key.
“Marketing to me, yes, is definitely the first step,” she said. “And the Web site in particular. We need to keep up with technology and the new generation.”
The adjusted fee structure drastically discounts Tuesday and Thursday evening room rentals for local community and nonprofit groups within the resort triangle. Where the building’s 2,000 square foot Lakeview Suite is typically rented out for $925, up to four hours use, the discounted rate will allow community groups to rent the entire space for $116 an hour from 5 to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays year-round.
“The building is staffed and not being utilized as much as it could be,” Daniels said. “So we’re attempting to both benefit the community and fill our space.”