My Turn: A look at marketing North Lake Tahoe
Businesses are closing, restaurants have fewer customers and lodges have more vacancies. One of the reasons is that for five years the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association has had serious issues marketing North Lake Tahoe.
It came to a total halt when they outsourced our telephone service to Oregon since October of 2006.
The purpose of my letter is to make you aware of how much money is generated by the North Lake Tahoe lodging suppliers each year. This money is to be used for marketing North Lake Tahoe and for infrastructure and the Resort Association is directly responsible for the budget and how it is spent.
The Placer County lodging suppliers collect 10 percent room tax (Temporary Occupancy Tax or TOT). Approximately $6.8 million is collected and paid to Placer County. Ninety percent of this money is collected from hotels, motels and lodges in Placer County at Lake Tahoe. Of this, 60 percent, or $4.1 million, is given to the Resort Association. The $4.1 million is divided into four categories: $1.73 million for infrastructure, $1.72 million for marketing, $500,000 for visitor support and transportation, and the rest is for Tahoe county services.
The Resort Association salaries for 10 people amount to $1.2 million, which is paid out of the $4.1 million that is generated by the lodging suppliers.
Sorry for all the numbers, but they are impressive.
As lodging suppliers, we are facing many problems in how North Lake Tahoe is marketed. One of my biggest concerns is our Web site that the Resort Association has recently rebuilt, http://www.gotahoenorth.com. It still has many issues that need to be worked out, but progress is moving very slowly and for six months we have discouraged customers by showing all too often, “no properties could be found,” while we have vacancies.
I see a lack of effort and carelessness by the Resort Association to spend our marketing dollars wisely. They seem to use endless reorganization as excuses. For years they marketed South Lake Tahoe with the North Shore. After they gave up on South Shore, they took on the State of Nevada. At least Nevada matches the Placer County marketing funds.
Yet all Truckee lodges in Nevada County are riding for free on our Web site, which is funded by Placer County bed taxes. If Truckee were to contribute their matching share, then these funds could be allocated towards managing our 800 (800 TAHOE4U) phone number. I have nothing against Truckee, but they should be financially responsible for their fair share.
In conclusion, can the North Lake Tahoe community really afford this carelessness by the Resort Association, who manages all this money?
Alvina Patterson is the owner of the Holiday House in Tahoe Vista.
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