Swinging for the Fences –
Golf Home Run

Genoa Lakes Golf Club’s new owner invested $8 million in improvements to the course and facilities. As a result he wanted to increase memberships to a higher-income demographic. The challenge was appealing to potential golfers in the middle of a recession and differentiating Genoa from the numerous other courses in the area.

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We created and executed a media relations program via a number of tactics, including:

  • Newspaper Tabloid: We coordinated with the Reno Gazette-Journal to produce a 12-page tabloid detailing the overall remodel and what could be expected at the new Genoa Lakes. We developed story angles, coordinated photo opportunities and drafted the advertorial copy that addressed all areas of operation. The tab was inserted into the edition of the newspaper two days prior to help build the attention.
  • Grand Opening: We created and executed a high-end gala, providing a news hook for media stories. We produced and managed 2,000 personal invitations to VIPs in the five surrounding regions (Carson City/Valley, North and South Lake Tahoe and Reno) to select appropriate business and community leaders. The invitation was designed to look like a golf tournament ticket with a lanyard to attach to a belt loop or jacket. It was made of metal and engraved with invitation copy. It reflected the quality and uniqueness of the occasion. 
  • Press Kit: A complete kit was developed with releases detailing the overall improvements, course history, fact sheet, owners biographies, key management biographies, golf school, food and beverage, shopping options, etc.

The campaign resulted with:

  • At the Grand Opening, eight (8) new members joined Genoa Lakes, resulting in nearly $100,000 in revenue.
  • Media coverage – four television stories, five regional newspaper stories and four radio stories – exceeded all set goals.
  • In three months since the Grand Celebration, daily fee play at Genoa Lakes increased 18%.
  • The boutique at Genoa Lakes exceeded all sales forecasts by 30% in the first three months of operation.
  • More than 1,000 VIPs attended the Grand Opening.

To position the Grand Opening as a business asset to the community, we enlisted personal contacts to invite prestigious politicians to the event. It resulted in major success: U.S. Senator Harry Reid, D-NV; State Treasurer Brian Krolicki; State Senator Lawrence Jacobson, R-Minden; State Senator Mark Amodei, R-Carson City; and all five Douglas County Commissioners attended.

Public Relations is all about telling stories. The following examples demonstrate how we approached opportunities with two recreation-based efforts:

Celebrity Golf is All About Being a Star

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John Elway interacts with the crowd
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Annika Sorenstam

To tout the vibe and buzz during the American Century Championship and to reinforce the new Tahoe South brand to the young, hip, cool party-goer, we hosted a writer from ESPN The Magazine for an exclusive first-person, behind the scenes look at the area’s most successful event. He had access to every function: the private players’ meeting, Pairings and Awards parties, outdoor concert tickets, private entertainment functions – we even had him tag along with Charles Barkley during the karaoke session in Harrah’s casino. We provided every stat imaginable, including number of shrimp for the opening night reception! The resulting 5-page feature was a PR firm’s dream. We couldn’t have asked for a greater story or stronger lead:

“I’m going to do you a favor. Put down this magazine right now and whip out your calendar. I don’t care if it’s on a PC, iPhone, iPad, fridge magnet, whatever. Just get the darn thing.

I’ll wait. (Sound of me waiting.)

Now check to see if you have any plans for the third weekend in July.

You do? Fine. Break ‘em. Because you’ve just won a four-day, three-night stay in fabulous Lake Tahoe. Okay, well, technically you didn’t win anything on account of you’ll have to pay your own way. But once you get there you’ll feel like you just won the lottery, American Idol and a lifetime supply of Wonka bars all rolled into one. You can have your Pro Bowl, your NBA All-Star Weekend, even your ESPYs. You can even have your Super Bowl – in New Orleans. When it comes to the greatest sports party on the planet, I’ll take the American Century Championship, the best kept secret in sports. You heard me. Celebrity golf, baby.”

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Lake Tahoe shores are packed with fans
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Is this baseball or golf?

The resulting five-page spread with photos highlighting the week has been leveraged repeatedly. LTVA and the tournament utilized the quote and linked the story to both sites, emailed a story link to their followers and WPR continues to utilize the feature to promote the event and the destination. The capper: writer Eddie Matz, cried when his wife wouldn’t let him come back the following year!