Big Things Happening in Reno and Lake Tahoe

A strong economy is good news for this area's meetings

Tahoe Reno Balloon festival

Reno and Lake Tahoe are booming, with tech firms moving in from California and putting a luster on the meetings, incentives, conventions, and events (MICE) market, according to Mike Larragueta, vice president of sales for the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA).

"The meetings market in Reno-Tahoe has a lot of momentum right now," he says. Aside from the burgeoning tech hub, "we're seeing an uptick in the population as well as professional meetings and events, and we've expanded our national reach with regional offices in northern and southern California, as well as Chicago. These factors are contributing to steadily increasing air service, which is also helping us attract more MICE business to northern Nevada."

The market is healthy enough, in fact, that the RSCVA has begun looking at expanding the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Chicago-based Johnson Consulting, which previously worked on the area's National Bowling Stadium, is heading the review of market demand, cost analysis, funding options, and economic impact.

That expansion, if it happens, is well into the future, but right now the RSCVA has hired international venue management firm SMG to oversee its four facilities: the convention center (with more than a half-million square feet of meeting and exhibit space), the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center, National Bowling Stadium, and Reno Events Center.

"The Reno-Tahoe market is healthy, thriving, and, with the addition of SMG as our facilities management partner, poised for further growth in the future," Larragueta says.

There's plenty of activity on the hotel front as well, with both the iconic Cal Neva Resort & Casino and Sands Regency purchased recently, and a Hampton Inn & Suites and a Residence Inn by Marriott opening at the Sparks Marina.

Eldorado Resorts, having recently wrapped a $50 million renovation of the Eldorado Resort Casino, Silver Legacy, and Circus Circus -- all connected by indoor walkways and collectively offering more than 4,200 rooms and 182,700 square feet of meeting space -- has undertaken a $25 million project that includes a new spa and restaurant.

The Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, with more than 1,900 rooms, wrapped a multimillion-dollar renovation that included its more than 200,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and a remodeling of the pool area.

The 1,400-room Nugget is undergoing a $25 million renovation project that includes its 110,000 square feet of meeting space, rooms, and the public spaces.

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This article appears in the May 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.