Today is the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is ready to reel in tourists with strategies that have twists on campaigns that have worked well in the past.
It is rolling out a Spanish-language version of a “What happens here, stays here” ad. It also is running a television ad in London steeped in British humor that most Americans won’t get.
Domestically, the LVCVA is cranking up the marketing of the lasvegas.com website with further adventures of its pitch man, Las Vegasdotcom, portrayed by actor Craig Geraghty.
No one is pushing the panic button just yet, but in the first quarter of 2013, visitation fell slightly below 2012 levels, meaning that Las Vegas will need a good summer to hit the elusive goal of attracting 40 million tourists.
For the first three months of the year, the city attracted 9.7 million visitors, just less than the 9.76 million from the first quarter of 2012. That’s so close that the extra day for Leap Year in 2012 is the difference between being ahead of last year’s pace and being behind.
Two other key tourism indicators are up in the first quarter, with citywide occupancy up 0.6 percentage points while the average daily room rate was up 1.5 percent to $111.52.
With the unanimous approval of the LVCVA’s $270.3 million budget this month, $92.2 million will be spent on advertising. At a recent board meeting, the public got its first glance at new international and domestic spots.
The new Spanish language “What happens here” ad, which will air in Mexico and Brazil, shows a group of young men partying with a silver trophy. The group hoists the hardware at Caesars Palace, in a car on the Strip, at the Tao nightclub and at the Canal Shoppes at the Venetian. In the last scene, we discover that it wasn’t a trophy at all as one of the partiers places some flowers back into a silver vase at a hotel. The ad is tagged with “Lo que pasa aqui, se queda aqui.”
Cathy Tull, the LVCVA’s senior vice president of marketing, warned board members that they might not find the British TV ad very funny.
Using the tag, “Leave your stiff upper lip at home,” the camera scans rooms in a house where randomly placed upper lips are on tables, counters and nightstands as rain pours in the background.
“What can I tell you, it’s British humor,” Tull said. “Our London people say the public loves it.”
Domestically, the LVCVA is making ad buys in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Phoenix, Denver and Dallas.
Will the multimillion-dollar marketing blitz deliver the tourism numbers the city needs to fill its 150,000 hotel rooms?
We should know in a few months.