New strategy for Kings Beach’s conference center | SierraSun.com

New strategy for Kings Beach’s conference center

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun

The North Tahoe Public Utility District will face hard decisions in the next couple weeks as it develops a business plan and new strategy for the North Tahoe Community Conference Center.

“There will be an increased attention to the conference center so it can hold its own,” said Steve Rogers, general manager of the North Tahoe Public Utility District.

During a conference center steering committee meeting Thursday, Rogers laid out recommendations to help the center move toward profitability from its current state of operating at a deficit. In the 2005-2006 fiscal year, the conference center ran at a loss of $164,000.

The goal is to have the conference center recover $60,000 immediately by setting new rates, modifying its discounts and focusing on marketing the facility.

Government agencies like the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Placer County benefit from 60- to 70-percent discounts on room rates, which Rogers said needs to change. He also proposes an 8 percent increase for wedding and social gatherings. He also stressed the need to attend trade shows to attract larger conferences to the center.

“The conference center has only been able to be self-sufficient on its own for a small number of years,” Rogers said. “We need a business plan and to make some management changes to bring in revenue.”

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Rogers also said Placer County and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association need to help finance the conference center. The center only makes money from booking fees and does not benefit from municipal subsidy, transient occupancy tax or business improvement district funds that could be available.

“We need acknowledgment by those people at this critical juncture,” Rogers said.

Steering committee members acknowledged that conferences were an important component to the center, but expressed concern that local government agencies and organizations would not use the center if prices rose.

“We just need more conference business,” said Nora Daniels, conference center director.

Another option Rogers and his staff are looking into is whether to have a private vendor operate the facility. Rogers is scheduled to meet with private concessionaires this week and next.

He said the next step is to develop a business plan. The conference center steering committee will meet again in two weeks.