Lake Tahoe and Reno's Alluring Meeting Offerings

This stunning destination is seeing a wealth of new meetings developments

Great Balloon Race Sierra Nevada Mountains

The best thing to enjoy about the Reno-Lake Tahoe area is the grandeur of its natural diversity, from the peaks of the Sierra Nevadas down to the dozens of beaches along Lake Tahoe's famously blue waters. Big business is making its mark too, as Reno is garnering attention as a high-tech frontier, thanks to companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Tesla's newly planned 13.6 million-square-foot Gigafactory battery manufacturing facility, just 30 minutes from downtown Reno. Not to mention the expansion of the drone industry also making forays into the area.

"There's a vibrant intensity of change happening in the downtown and surrounding areas," says John Leinen, vice president of convention and tourism sales for the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA). "Fueled by the rapid economic development created by Tesla, Amazon, Switch, and others, 50,000 new jobs and 65,000 new residents are projected for the region by 2020."

All of this growth is great news for the already robust meetings industry in the area. "This is important for planners because these developments are enhancing an already great meetings destination," Leinen says.

Finding lodging for a meeting or event is easy in Reno thanks to the more than 20,000 rooms available in places like the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, Atlantis Casino Resort, Grand Sierra Resort, and Whitney Peak, a charming boutique hotel in the city center. Reno boasts of average costs being 30 percent less than in competing destinations.

In addition to the well-known Reno-Sparks Convention Center, the Nevada Museum of Art recently unveiled a $6.2 million renovation (complete with views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains) to its rooftop event and meeting spaces. The museum's Nightingale Sky Room is 4,800 square feet and there is an additional 5,000-square-foot area named the Stacie Mathewson Sky Plaza with an on-site kitchen to feed up to 400 guests.

Foodies don't need to fear mealtimes in Reno -- there is a wide range of dining options, from western-style steak houses to devotees of the local-food movement. Try Sassafrass, in nearby Carson City, for an eclectic menu made up of whole foods and beverages from local farms, wineries, bakeries, and coffee roasters. Beer drinkers can indulge in a site visit to one of Reno's two dozen craft breweries.

With air service capacity up by 14 percent since 2014 and new, nonstop service on the rise, Reno is reachable in just a few hours from major U.S. cities. "This is a great time to bring meetings to northern Nevada, and it's only going to get better," says Leinen.


South Lake Tahoe
Tahoe South continues its $500 million revitalization with a range of new retail space and restaurants, plus new and renovated accommodations. Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa should appeal to those seeking an untraditional approach to a work-related retreat.  

"South Lake Tahoe offers the ultimate opportunity for finding meeting locations that take attendees outside the traditional meeting room where they can incorporate teambuilding, re-energizing, reconnecting, and establishing more of an 'un-meeting' environment," says Lisa Gallup, director of sales and marketing at Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa. The 73-room Lodge & Spa offers meeting spaces for groups of 30 or fewer, making it ideal for board meetings and retreats. "We provide an exclusive setting and great opportunity for intimate retreats up to larger buy-out options."

The recently renovated, 3,700-square-foot Castle Rock Event Space at Ridge Tahoe Resort is another choice location for groups. The resort, home to picturesque views of the Sierra Nevada range, reports that there are many prime dates still available for 2016 and 2017. Castle Rock provides on-property teambuilding activities including hikes, snowshoe trips, and scavenger hunts, plus direct access to Heavenly Ski Resort.

"Tahoe is truly a perfect year-round location for meetings and groups," says Gallup. "The local resources we can offer groups that exist right in our backyard continue to grow each year."
North Lake Tahoe
Over the last five years, North Tahoe resorts have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into new facilities, new lodging units, and upgraded meeting locations at lakefront hotels and ski-in-ski-out luxury accommodations, says Jason Neary, director of conference sales for North Lake Tahoe CVB. The area offers 30 meeting locations to choose from, more than 7,000 lodging units to stay at, and more than 200,000 square feet of meeting space.

North Tahoe is dedicated to supporting the natural resources surrounding it. A new spin on the farm-to-table trend is the line-to-table fishing and dining experience offered by the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, which provides visitors with a fishing license, bait and tackle, and access to the pristine fish-filled lake waters. After an afternoon of fishing, the catch will be delivered to the resort's Lone Eagle Grill to be prepared by an expert chef.

According to Neary, there is no shortage of lodging and convention deals of which groups can take advantage through Spring 2017. The average cost for rooms is between $100 and $300 a night depending on location and season. The Basecamp Hotel in Tahoe City is a recent addition to the lengthy list of places to stay; with 24 boutique rooms, it is a five-minute walk from Downtown Tahoe City. Groups planning a visit during the upcoming winter season will find opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as downhill skiing.

Group rates can be found at Nordic ski centers and sports shops in the surrounding area. Neary suggests trying out a dog sled or horse-drawn sleigh ride as a nod to Lake Tahoe's past. After a direct flight to Reno, it is a short 45-minute drive from the airport to North Lake country. "North Lake Tahoe is a meeting mecca with remarkable variety, spectacular settings, and endless activities," Neary says.  



Questions or comments? Email [email protected]



This article appears in the October 2016 issue of Successful Meetings.

ESSENTIAL Tool Box
LARGEST MEETINGS FACILITIES
Reno-Sparks Convention Center (500,000 sf); Reno Events Center (auditorium seating for 7,000)

Room Tax:

Reno, NV: 13 to 13.5 percent
Lake Tahoe, NV: 13 percent
Lake Tahoe, CA: 10 percent, plus $3.00 per night

PINNACLE AWARDS GO TO:
• Visit Reno Tahoe
• North Lake Tahoe CVB
• Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, Reno, NV
• Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Reno, NV
• Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, Reno, NV

WHERE TO…
PLAY - Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge's Treetop Adventure Park (North Tahoe)
Go high up into the sky and take teambuilding to the extreme at Granlibakken's on-site adventure park, the first aerial park in California. Enjoy a trek through the forest from heights of 15 to 50 feet in the air.

DRINK - The Depot (Reno)  
Drink beer, sample spirits, and take in history at this craft brewery and distillery. The three-story brick building built in 1910 was the former headquarters for the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway. Today, the restaurant on site serves up craft beer and small-batch spirits like whiskey, gin, and bourbon.

STAY - Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa (South Tahoe)
The accommodations and meeting spaces here create a more rustic environment. The intimate, completely lakefront property with 73 rooms (all of which boast fireplaces and terrific views of the lake) has a day spa, outdoor hot tub, and seasonal swimming pool.


North Lake Tahoe
Over the last five years, North Tahoe resorts have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into new facilities, new lodging units, and upgraded meeting locations at lakefront hotels and ski-in-ski-out luxury accommodations, says Jason Neary, director of conference sales for North Lake Tahoe CVB. The area offers 30 meeting locations to choose from, more than 7,000 lodging units to stay at, and more than 200,000 square feet of meeting space.

North Tahoe is dedicated to supporting the natural resources surrounding it. A new spin on the farm-to-table trend is the line-to-table fishing and dining experience offered by the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, which provides visitors with a fishing license, bait and tackle, and access to the pristine fish-filled lake waters. After an afternoon of fishing, the catch will be delivered to the resort's Lone Eagle Grill to be prepared by an expert chef.

According to Neary, there is no shortage of lodging and convention deals of which groups can take advantage through Spring 2017. The average cost for rooms is between $100 and $300 a night depending on location and season. The Basecamp Hotel in Tahoe City is a recent addition to the lengthy list of places to stay; with 24 boutique rooms, it is a five-minute walk from Downtown Tahoe City. Groups planning a visit during the upcoming winter season will find opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as downhill skiing.

Group rates can be found at Nordic ski centers and sports shops in the surrounding area. Neary suggests trying out a dog sled or horse-drawn sleigh ride as a nod to Lake Tahoe's past. After a direct flight to Reno, it is a short 45-minute drive from the airport to North Lake country. "North Lake Tahoe is a meeting mecca with remarkable variety, spectacular settings, and endless activities," Neary says.  



Questions or comments? Email [email protected]



This article appears in the October 2016 issue of Successful Meetings.