Week's success credited to marketing

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By David Giuliani

This year’s Heritage Week festivities drew many more people than usual, a success attributed to an effective marketing campaign, a businesswoman told the City Council last week.

Nancy Colalillo, owner of Tome on the Range Books, said her store was one of 20 organizations that worked to showcase the history and culture of Las Vegas during Heritage Week.

The groups provided 35 events and activities from Aug. 7 to Aug. 15, with the Places With a Past Tour anchoring the first weekend and the People’s Faire anchoring the second.

Colalillo said the success was the result of a marketing collaborative among local groups, Internet marketing and broadcast and print ads.

“Some people say that heritage tourism does not work in Las Vegas. Some say that tourism, period, doesn’t work for Las Vegas,” she told the council. ”Events and tourism, a clean and green industry, work very well for Las Vegas when well-marketed, and this past Heritage Week is a perfect example of superb marketing.”

The Places With a Past Tour, which brings people to historic sites, attracted 525 people this year, up 31 percent from the previous best year, Colalillo said. Eighty-five percent of the people were from out of town, and lodgers reported that they were 95 percent full the first two nights of Heritage Week, she said.

During the second weekend, the People’s Faire brought in 4,000 people on Saturday and Sunday, up 60 percent from 2009, Colalillo said. About 30 vendors rented rooms on Friday and Saturday nights during the People’s Faire weekend, and lodgers reported being 79 percent full those nights, she said.

For the free screening of “Red Dawn,” Fort Union Drive-in reported 100 more cars than normal, Colalillo said. For the Nat Gold Players’ three performances of the play “Over the Edge,” there were only 10 empty seats

Colalillo reported that the Heritage Week website had 649,000 unique visitors in a four-week period, more than the city’s tourism website (run by the Chamber of Commerce), which recorded 4,000 visitors.

“The take-away is that well-marketed events like Heritage Week prove that heritage and event tourism can work for Las Vegas,” she said. “It’s economic development that doesn’t require infrastructure, tax breaks or other giveways, just cooperation and planning.”