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County approves $364,575 Pahrump tourism budget

The town’s ability to advertise the area to potential tourists received a boost last week, as the board of county commissioners approved its fiscal year 2017 budget at its meeting last week.

At its Aug. 16 meeting, the board approved nine Nevada Commission on Tourism grant awards and approved a project budget for tourism for the fiscal year 2017, including nine grant-funded programs, totaling $364,575.

In total, $89,000 came from the tourism grants and county grant matches, with the remaining $275,000 being paid for by Fund 25220 Pahrump tourism room tax.

Tourism director Arlette Ledbetter explained the importance of the grants and the approved budget.

“What we really want to do is provide the consumer with relevant content,” Ledbetter explained. “Providing them useful content so that they can plan their trip.”

A major portion of the non-grant-funded projects was related to media buys, as $125,000 was budgeted for that.

Projects that will be paid for through the budget are certified folder displays, Nevada Magazine and Ride Guide, Nevada Visitor Guide, amplified storytelling, integrated insert, prospecting and site retargeting, Good Sam Travel Guide and Directory, public relations and projects related to tourism.

With the millennial generation making up a large part of the tourists these days, Ledbetter said the tourism department is targeting their demographic more in its advertising efforts.

“A lot of our ads have turned into content marketing… the millennial generation isn’t really interested in a corporate ad,” she said. “We kind of switch from pitching our products, to providing a service to the traveler.

“We want to give them consistent, valuable information that they can plan a trip by.”

Further targeting the millennial generations, the town recently delved into a newer form of media to draw travelers to the Pahrump area.

The town hired Las Vegas-based MG Studios to film various videos that are used online to promote the town.

“We had them come in on a state grant and film drone media and 360 footage and we picked four venues to highlight,” Ledbetter said.

The tourism board chose the lake and the high performance track at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, ATV offroading and Pahrump Valley Winery.

“We chose those sites because we thought they would captivate the domestic international travel,” she said. “Although we still focus on the RV and all age demographic, we have put a little emphasis on the millennial.”

“Experience is the key,” she said. “The traveler is looking for an experience… with the state’s new tagline, “Take home more stories than souvenirs,” that is really what the new generation of travelers is looking to do. They want to do something unique and unusual and take that story home.

“I think with these videos we can get them right there inside that car, on that jet pack or in the ATV or right there in the winery having a dining experience.”

An area where the tourism department has thrived with the help of public relations firm BrainTrust, showing that the money they use from the grants like the ones they were just approved for, is earned media.

Earned media is gaining publicity through promotional efforts other than advertising, like public relations and social media work.

So far in 2016 Ledbetter said the town of Pahrump has accumulated just over $4 million in earned media.

“Earned media is calculated through impressions,” she said. “So for print it would be the circulation numbers, for TV it would be their Nielsen viewership, for radio it would be their listenership and for websites it would be their unique monthly visitors. The publicity value would equate to it as if you were to buy that time or space how much it would have cost.

“We do use PR platforms like Cision and TV eyes that associate those values.”

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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