Costco markets travel to Reno
Northern Nevada tourism may get a boost this year from an unlikely source – Costco.
Costco Travel, a subsidiary of the nationwide warehouse club, last month signed a deal with America West Airlines to offer its 43 million Costco members exclusive vacation packages to Las Vegas and Reno/Lake Tahoe.
“Our members indicated they wanted access to vacations to two of the most popular leisure destinations in our country, Las Vegas and Reno/Lake Tahoe, and we have delivered,” said Court Newberry, president of Costco Travel in a prepared statement announcing the deal.
The travel packages are available now to Costco members via a toll free telephone number (877) 849-2730) and will be available through the company’s web site (www.costco.com) before the end of the month.
Costco advertises the packages in its stores, but doesn’t book them there.
The packages offer discount pricing on hotel, airfare and car rentals.
In Reno, the partner hotels are Circus Circus, Eldorado, Reno Hilton and Silver Legacy; in Lake Tahoe the participating hotels are Harrah’s and Harvey’s.
Sixteen hotels are offered in Las Vegas.
As a wholly owned subsidiary of Costco Warehouse Corp., Costco Travel doesn’t break out its sales figures or booking volume, according to Newberry.
While airlines commonly book package tours, it’s unusual for a discount retailer to be marketing them, said Deanna Ashby, executive director of advertising and marketing for the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.
While packages typically generate discount-minded travelers, Ashby said those consumers are an important part of the mix for northern Nevada hotels.
Tour packagers typically book rooms early, she said, and that gives hotel operators greater flexibility in their yield-management strategies.
Like airlines that sell seats on the same flight at different prices, hotels use computer programs to figure how they can get the most revenue from a room on a given night.
Then, too, Ashby said the reach of the Costco marketing effort provides yet another boost to the RSCVA’s efforts to attract tourists.
“The exposure is what is particularly important to us,” she said.
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