North Tahoe conference center rates may rise
Users of the North Tahoe Community Conference Center may face increased fees as early as March if its owner approves new rates next week.The conference center in Kings Beach, owned by the North Tahoe Public Utility District, is currently operating at a deficit. In the 2005-2006 fiscal year, the center ran at a loss of $164,000. The center makes money only from booking fees and does not benefit from municipal subsidy, transient occupancy tax or business improvement district funds.Steve Rogers, general manager of the North Tahoe PUD, laid out a business model for the conference center that included new rates during a meeting Wednesday. The new focus of the conference center would be to increase sales across the board, with conference, wedding and social gatherings accounting for 75 percent of the revenue. Rogers said he hopes to increase revenue by at least $199,726 with the new model.I cant take the risk of running the current operation structure, Rogers said. We have to be aggressive. Rates will increase for weddings and social gatherings by 8 to 10 percent. Conference rates are proposed to stay the same, and community, non-profit groups, residents and government agencies would no longer enjoy discounts up to 70 percent. The business model also outlines internal changes that would occur, marketing strategies and partnerships to be made with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and Placer County. If approved at Tuesdays board meeting, the new rates would go into effect March 14. All conference contracts already made under the current rate structure would stay, Rogers said.Adoption of the ordinance implementing these rate and policy changes are a necessary first step to resolving the … operating deficit, the report stated.Rogers said the next step is to create a technical working group in the next two weeks that would develop a detailed business plan. He said the group would define details related to marketing strategies that include print and Web site advertising, cold calls, tradeshows, etc. There is still interest in seeking a private vendor to conduct sales for the facility, but no company has stepped up, Rogers said.Our concern is that being a smaller center, the cost-benefit relationship for you the customer simply isnt there, stated Robert Adamus of FLIK, a company that had discussed marketing the conference center, in an e-mail to Rogers. I would not want to engage into a relationship that becomes financially challenging covering travel expenses and consulting and/ or management fees. This type of arrangement puts both parties at odds from the very start and simply erodes, leaving a bad taste and no one better off.