Carson hotels pitch Calif. sports trade |

Carson hotels pitch Calif. sports trade

Nick Coltrain

Several of Carson City’s hotels have taken a rare step of reaching out to those who bring in the potential patrons: sports tournament directors.

Representatives of five hotels, along with Carson City’s recreation operations manager and the Chamber of Commerce director, took a trip to Sacramento last week to find out how they can draw more tournaments to town.

The results were “extremely successful,” said Linda Barnett, general manager of the Carson City Hampton Inn and Suites. She speculated that the inroads the envoys made last week could lead to as many as 42 tournament weekends in one year in the near future – which would mean 42 weekends with higher room occupation.

She said the hotels in the area could really use the boost, as tournaments have dwindled in recent years. Two years ago, the list filled a legal-sized sheet of paper, and now they need to use a standard-sized sheet, she said.

“(The tournament directors) needed some stuff from us, and we were able to sit down with them and listen, and we’ve never done that before,” Barnett said.

She said the hotel managers and tournament directors talked about advertising costs and the rates they need in order to draw out families and fans in the struggling economy.

Ronni Hannaman, director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce, wrote in an email that she heard comments like, “We love Carson City and look forward to taking our business to the next level.”

Barnett touted the connections that Joel Dunn, the city’s recreation operation, has with the sports tournament world – she talked of seeing other cities being required to pony up $100,000 to attract the tournaments, a problem Carson City doesn’t have.

“Everyone is trying to get sports tourism, and they have to pay for it,” she said. “We’ve just been so lucky to have a parks and recreation department with such great relationships.”