Truckee lodging revenue grows but hotel occupancy still low

Hannah Jones

Visit Truckee — a brand created by the Truckee Chamber of Commerce — for the first time in the town’s history hit key hospitality metrics, including a 53% average hotel occupancy rate. However, this is still lower than the state average of 75%.

“While the baseline metrics are a milestone for success, we believe there is room for improvement in accuracy,” said Colleen Dalton, director of tourism for the Truckee Chamber of Commerce.

Unlike other destination cities across the state, Dalton noted that Visit Truckee does not have decades of marketing behind it. In 2015 the Truckee Chamber of Commerce worked to form a Tourism Business Improvement District, which collects an additional 2% on lodging in addition to the 10% Transient Occupancy Tax. Of the money collected from the business improvement district, 88% is allocated to sales and marketing.

Truckee reached a record breaking $42 million in lodging sales last fiscal year with $4 million in Transient Occupancy Tax revenue. Statewide, visitor spending increased to $140.6 billion, with the tourism industry providing nearly 1.2 million jobs in 2018, according to Visit California.

In order to drive tourism to Truckee the organization uses social media, marketing on their website and email newsletters of which there are currently 28,000 subscribers, up from 19,000 last year. It’s reached 59,000 followers on their social media channels, making 11 million impressions last year. On its website it’s had 450,000 sessions last year, up from 95,000 in fiscal year 2015-16.

Though outdoor recreation is what draws many visitors to the area, Dalton said they are working on marketing other aspects of Truckee.

“While outdoor recreation is our bread and butter, it is highly unpredictable,” said Dalton. “We focus on reasons to come that are not climate dependent.”

These include special events that cater to Truckee’s arts and culture scene.

Visit Truckee currently has three strategic plans. A sales and marketing plan, an organizational plan focusing on the organization’s mission and values, and a destination development plan.

“Now more than ever Visit Truckee needs to look 10 plus years out with a destination development strategic plan that is highly collaborative with the town, districts and community,” said Dalton.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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