A new statewide program anticipates that six community projects throughout rural Nevada will benefit from the emerging co-ed travel market, and conference delegates will welcome a break from the bright lights of the strip.
The Nevada Department of Tourism is launching a 10-year plan to lure convention and convention visitors away from Las Vegas to other areas of the state.
Travel Nevada 3D has identified several projects that will receive advisory services for at least seven months, and access $2 million in funding from the US Economic Development Administration, as part of the American Rescue Act.
The project leader believes there’s room now for them to take advantage of mixed travelers, as more employees add time off to conferences and business meetings as they embrace remote work.
“Not many business travelers are looking for a gamble-type experience,” said Courtney Plumer, director of destination development for Travel Nevada.
“With so many mixed work and home-based work schedules, many business travelers are looking for places they can work from for a while, where they can take their families and get an Airbnb or apartment in a place that meets their needs. Many people are into outdoor recreation. So our rural communities are able to provide that kind of escape.”
Think long term
There are six joint ventures: White Pine County; Black stone; Lincoln County, Nevada Indian Territory (aimed at promoting cultural awareness and identity); Boulder City, Carson City, Carson Valley, and Virginia City (which joined forces).
Each will be directed by a local steering committee representing business and community stakeholders interested in promoting tourism. Working with advisory firm Better Destination, they will eventually put together a 10-year plan, to develop their visitor attraction and expand their economies through tourism.
There is an emphasis on outdoor recreation, nature, culture and the arts throughout.
The program is a world apart from previous projects in the region. MGM Resorts, for example, has set up hotel rooms as offices during the Covid-19 pandemic. This initiative did not last long even during the emergency order and strict Covid implementation, Las Vegas subsequently emerged as the most popular business travel destination in the US in 2021.
It continued its march as a popular business destination until 2022 as well, with 2 million people attending conferences and events from January to May.
So it’s no surprise that the city’s outliers now want to redirect some of these travelers in their direction.
“A lot of our rural destinations actually have a lot of the things that business travelers are looking for,” Plumer added. “And it’s accessible from our headquarters. If you’re coming to Vegas on business, it’s easy to head to Lincoln County where some of our best mountain biking trails are.”
The program will also teach Las Vegas concierges and other hospitality professionals to become “battlefield insiders” for destination promotion.
Plumer downplayed the risk of some sites being overrun with tourists, because the program puts businesses and communities at the center and will work through any capacity and infrastructure issues.
According to Bloomer, there will be site visits over the coming months, to perform analysis on visitation and visitor fragmentation, and to identify any gaps in amenities.
“At the same time, we are doing a lot of capacity building and education activities with them. And enabling them to be flexible and vibrant destinations.”
More evidence that flight duration for business travel is still on the rise, with a new survey revealing hybrid work and work-from-anywhere policies behind the increase.
Advantage Travel Partnership, Britain’s largest consortium of independent travel agents, has taken the pulse of members of its travel agencies, and one in three reported an increase in the length of business travel.
The reason is the continuation of hybrid work and “work from anywhere” policies that enable travelers to stay at a destination longer, according to the latest business impact survey, published Thursday.
This week, Marriott International executives also said they believe the pandemic increase in travelers with mixed business and leisure trip purposes will now have a long-term impact on the hotel business.
A new report from mobility platform Mobileo this week said hybrid working is also the most popular business model in the UK. “Most organizations have favored the hybrid model since the pandemic,” she said, citing research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development that more than three-quarters of organizations use this model.
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