North Tahoe tourism promotion heads to public forum | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe tourism promotion heads to public forum

Andrew Cristancho
Sierra Sun

The organization charged with marketing North Lake Tahoe will turn to the public this afternoon to talk about the organization's promotion of the area.

The organization charged with marketing North Lake Tahoe will turn to the public this afternoon to talk about the organization’s promotion of the area.

The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association meeting is the second of three public forums, according to Director of Tourism Andy Chapman.

The first forum held last fall was held to address the “direction of the organization,”

Chapman said. The second, held today at 1 p.m. in Kings Beach, will get public input for a “extensive review of the organization’s marketing efforts,” the organization said in a news release.

“The more participation the better. We want to hear from our constituents,” Chapman said.

The next step, according to the release, is to vet the information at the next resort association board meeting on March 5, at the Tahoe City Public Utility board room.

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Participants in the third forum, to be held in Tahoe City on March 25, will also focus on the organization’s marketing and plans for fiscal year 2008-09 which begins July

1, Chapman said.

Small hotel owners like Alvina Patterson have been critical of the organization’s marketing efforts in the past, saying they cater to large destination resorts like the Resort at Squaw Creek and Northstar. Patterson, who now serves on the association’s lodging committee, plans on following the workshops closely.

“I feel the obligation to turn [it] around ” otherwise we will all fold and we will be all Marriotts around the lake,” Patterson said.

But Chapman said the goal for the resort association is to represent all their members equally.

“We market the destination,” he said.

Patterson wants more marketing in the San Francisco Bay Area, a place where local merchants make their “bread and butter,” she said.

Chapman acknowledges the concern and said one of the largest debates within the association is the “drive [market] vs. destination market.”

“I think there is misconception that we do not put dollars into the weekend driven markets,” he said.

But the Tahoe economy could not be sustained by only marketing to the tourists within driving distance, he said.

While acknowledging that the Resort at Squaw Creek has been well represented by the resort association, Director of Sales and Marketing Les Pedersen, said there is always room for improvement on how to market the area.

He said he hopes the forums boost hotel occupancy.

“Also, looking at marketing equity across the North Lake Tahoe region, so everyone gets the benefit of what they pay into [transient occupancy tax],” Pedersen said.

The success of tourism marketing efforts are often judged by a higher rate of bed taxes that have been collected lately, Patterson said.

But she argues that the rise in bed taxes could just mean more expensive rooms, like those that are found at large resorts, are being rented.

Lodging properties in the area pay a 10 percent “bed tax” to Placer County, and a portion of the money is returned to the resort association for marketing purposes.