RSCVA targets tech-savvy skiers with text messaging

What good is great snow if nobody knows?

Exactly. So the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority wants skiers to sign up online to have snow alerts sent to their cell phones.

As a tie-in to its "Reno-Tahoe, America's Adventure Place" promotion, the RSCVA a few days ago launched an interactive element to its Web site that lets people sign up to receive the alerts at

The hope is that when skiers see an alert about great snow, they'll drop everything and go, says Lynnette Bellin, Internet marketing and visitor services manager.

And when the ski season winds down, special event alerts will start up, she adds.

"Text messaging is working really well in Europe, but isn't here yet," says Bellin, who credits David LaPlante, president of Reno-based Twelve Horses, for pushing RSCVA to be on the cutting edge of marketing technology.

"Reno-Tahoe skews its marketing objectives towards a younger demographic, which have an active lifestyle and mentality," says Deanna Ashby, executive director of marketing for the RSCVA. Bay Area residents are considered to be tech savvy.

But first, how to reach those cell-phone users who might want to sign up?

RSCVA is placing ads in traditional TV and print media. The ads run in the Bay Area and Sacramento, plus in national outdoor magazines. It distributes promotional pieces at ski hills and even sends them on the road for distribution by traveling University of Nevada, Reno basketball teams.

Twelve Horses' proprietary MessageMaker software enables communications via email, fax, voice and mobile text with consolidated tracking, reporting and permission management. Its limitation, says Robert Payne, marketing manager, is that the short messaging service limits posts to

160 characters.


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