Marketers plan golfers dream week |

Marketers plan golfers dream week

Rob Sabo
Northern Nevada Business Weekly
File photoThe Reno-Tahoe Open in REno and American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Stateline will be held the same week this year, July 12-18, opening opportunities for joint marketing campaigns.

Two joint marketing efforts by businesses that once were fierce competitors show a shift from conventional marketing tactics to ones in which businesses and events pool their marketing dollars and muscle.

The Reno-Tahoe Open and American Century Celebrity Golf Championship will be held the same week for the first time this year on July 12-18, and tournament executives recently announced a marketing plan that promotes the two events as a golfer’s dream week.

And the inaugural Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week packages upscale eateries from North and South Lake Tahoe and Truckee into a week of gourmet dining.

Although the Reno-Tahoe Open had drawn some criticism for moving its date to the same weekend as the always-popular American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, the PGA Tour event will benefit from not being held the same weekend as Hot August Nights, says Jana Smoley, RTO executive director.

Hot August Nights, far and away Reno-Tahoe’s largest special event, siphoned away attendance – and more importantly, it siphoned away sponsorship dollars, Smoley says.

The RTO also wasn’t adding to Washoe County room tax revenues, as area hotels already were booked from thousands of car aficionados.

“We have been begging off that date, and we got the option for this date in July,” Smoley says. “It happened to be the same week as the American Century, and we decided to roundtable and bring all the players in a room. It maybe is not perfect, but it’s what we wanted to do with it.”

Smoley says that combining the two events into one marketing effort makes sense because the fan bases for watching PGA golfers and celebrity golfers are different, and because it showcases two of the Greater Reno-Tahoe’s top golf offerings.

Restaurant Week

Pettit Gilwee, owner of Pettit Gilwee Public Relations in Tahoe City, says leveraging the marketing efforts – and dollars – of visitor’s bureaus and chambers of commerce offers much greater reach for Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week messaging.

“My feeling is that it would be a much bigger and better campaign if I had every single visitor’s bureau in Lake Tahoe and Truckee than, say, just North Lake Tahoe. More restaurants are participating, and you have more variety.”

Gilwee, who is spearheading the event Sept. 5-12, already has signed on 10 prominent Tahoe-region restaurants and expects to have at least 30 to 40 on board by Labor Day weekend. Participating restaurants will offer three-course meals for a fixed price of $20 to $40.

Gilwee will tap area chambers of commerce and visitor’s bureaus for marketing dollars for radio, print and online advertising.

“Their support is critical. They are doing a number of things to bring this event to the next level. That is not something I could do on my own – I don’t have the dollars or the contacts. What they bring to the table is so valuable to this campaign – you have a more powerful message than you would if you were out there on your own.”

Bill Hoffman, executive director of the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau, says the event will be popular with area restaurants because the days following Labor Day are normally soft, and the event offers the chance to draw additional revenues from visitors and locals.

“This is a chance to extend their season, and they are flush from the summer season so they are able to participate in advertising and marketing their portion of the event,” Hoffman says.