LVCVA starts new ad campaign with one-stop shopping website

9 January 2013

LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has launched a new advertising campaign to drive traffic to a one-stop shopping website that will allow Las Vegas visitors to book air flights, hotel reservations and shows at a single point of purchase.

The LasVegas.com website is designed to increase the number of casual travelers to Las Vegas who want more transparency, authenticity and cost-certainty when booking trips, said Billy Vassiliadis, chief executive of R&R Partners, the Las Vegas-based ad firm hired by the visitors authority to create and promote the website.

"People want more certainty. They want to know what they're spending their money on," Vassiliadis said.

The new ad campaign, which started this week, includes humorous TV spots built around a 45-year-old white male accountant who is named "Mr. Las Vegasdotcom." Vassiliadis showed the TV spots to visitors authority board members Tuesday morning at the board's monthly meeting at the Cashman Center. The commercials also can be seen at LasVegas.com.

"The goal is to get people to LasVegas.com," Vassiliadis said. The visitors authority's website used to be VisitLasVegas.com.

The first four TV spots follow "Mr. Las Vegasdotcom" at locations such as a Department of Motor Vehicles or a high school reunion and humorously show people peppering the character with questions about hotel accommodations and show tickets.

Mr. Las Vegasdotcom explains to people in the commercials that they need to log onto LasVegas.com to find their information about shows, hotels and restaurants.

Vassiliadis said the ad campaign and website are specially crafted to reach the demographic of 41 million casual travelers outside of the Las Vegas core tourist audience. Vassiliadis described that casual traveler demographic as the "persuade" audience.

The website also will give Las Vegas tourists insider information on topics such as new restaurants, new hotel expansions and parties, he said.

The convention authority also will be able to use the website to capture data on Las Vegas tourists and then communicate to them directly to fine-tune any messages or information on the website, he said.

"There isn't the waiting time to react," Vassiliadis said.

The total cost of the Las Vegasdotcom ad campaign is $20 million, inclusive of production costs and the advertising buy from January to June, said Courtney Fitzgerald, a visitors authority spokeswoman.

A Greenspun unit is the e-commerce provider for the LasVegas.com website, powering the e-commerce technology and maintaining contracts with the individual suppliers, she said.

Greenspun also granted the visitors authority the use of the domain name. The visitors authority is responsible for the marketing, design and maintenance of any non-e-commerce content, she said.

R&R Partners tested the new website on focus groups in San Francisco, Seattle and Toronto and learned that travelers appreciated the simplification of using a single site when booking travel plans for Las Vegas, Vassiliadis said. He began working on developing the website four or five years ago.

Board member Shari Buck, who is the mayor of North Las Vegas, asked about how content will be picked to appear on LasVegas.com.

Vassiliadis said the website will be inclusive of all tourist information.

In an interview with the Review-Journal, Vassiliadis said he did not see LasVegas.com competing against travel booking websites because it's a website dedicated entirely to Las Vegas.

"It's not competing. It's providing another option," he said.

Board members lauded the new website.

"This is going to be a game changer," said board member Cam Walker, a Boulder City council member.

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