Google eyeing Carson City outdoor treks

Carson City’s Visitors Bureau was contacted by Google to participate in a Google Trekker project regarding outdoor trails, the Visitors Bureau’s board learned Monday.

That word from Kyle Horvath of the bureau staff came during a report he and Joel Dunn, the executive director, gave on Carson City’s recent victory at USA Today in a survey involving which is the best state capital to visit. Nevada’s capital won first place after an aggressive social media campaign, beating out the second-place Alaska capital of Juneau and 18 other nominees. Horvath expressed excitement about Google’s interest.

“It’s really cool that Google reached out to us,” said Horvath, who reports regularly on marketing at the bureau board’s monthly meetings. He said the Google Trekker trail mapping and photography work is to be done with 360-degree cameras along outdoor treks that “you can’t see from a car.”

It’s part of what Dunn calls a re-branding of the city’s tourist image to emphasize outdoor attractions along with historic sites.

Dunn, in addition, reported revenues from lodging tax and other sources are exceeding earlier estimates at this halfway point in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. He said in 2014 the revenue stream, mainly from lodging tax, was anticipated to come in on an annual basis at $1.4 million. Now he figures, in large measure due to strong lodging revenues overall, that the amount should exceed $1.5 million.

The board approved his running half-year budget report without dissent. Dunn also went into detail on lodging revenues through November and said December also is going well. Amounts for the latest full month recorded were up nearly 20 percent or more, compared with the two previous years according to Dunn.

“We’re certainly seeing more room tax coming in,” he said. “We’re looking great.” He said with the Legislature coming next month, 2015 looks solid going forward.

Total November revenues for all hotels and motels were $945,868, up from $794,502 in 2013 and $773,635 in the same month of 2012, which respectively translates into 19 percent and 22 percent boosts.

For the top five lodging properties, the figures were $654,889 for November, compared with $555,503 and $542,890, respectively, in November of 2013 and 2012. That means the increase the latest November from a year earlier was almost 18 percent and from the same month in 2012 was more than 20 percent.

Generally speaking, the increase for all properties came from increased room rates, though occupancy slipped a bit when all hotels and motels were taken into account. The average room rate for all properties last November was $69.73, compared with $51.73 in the same month of 2013 and $52.89 for November, 2012.

For the top five properties, however, both occupancy and average room rates increased. Occupancy rates for those five exceeded 54 percent last November, up from 49 percent in that month of 2013 and 45 percent in November, 2012. Room rates in November for the quintet reached $81.67, up from $71.17 and $66.53 in November of 2013 and 2012, respectively.


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