The Union on How Nevada County Spent Tourism Dollars

Russ Steele 

The Union explores how the County and City of Grass Valley spent over $269K to attract tourist to Nevada County. Some of that money has not yet been spent, and we are waiting to see what the results are. It is clear that all attempts to come up with a coordinated regional effort fell flat.  In the usually political correct manner the resources were spread around, without a clear plan including some performance measures build in to assess progress.  Details HERE.

 In November, county supervisors bypassed the standard process of asking for proposals in awarding the Regional Chambers of Commerce a $50,000 contract to promote the county.

One month before, supervisors admitted they failed to follow through on establishing a committee dedicated to tourism promotion. 

“I am embarrassed on behalf of the board that we didn’t set up the committee,” Supervisor Hank Weston said during an October meeting.

Supervisors also admitted they did not have a clearly articulated strategy on how to introduce visitors to the area’s historical, recreational or cultural qualities. 

Yet they authorized about $120,000 in contracts during that meeting.

I have to agree with Will Grenz, scattering money about and then expecting some positive results without any methods for measuring success is at best dumb and worst a clear demonstration that we lack real leadership in Nevada County.

Nevada County resident Will Grenz called the approach “schizophrenic,” saying the government lacked objective measures by which to judge various proposals. Grenz previously managed contracts for Boeing Co.

I have established some performance parameters in the NC Tourism Tab above. Take a look and let me know what you think.  As the sites get more visitors they will crack the minimum visitor barrier and we can start tracking the number of daily, weekly, and monthly visitors. Right now Grass Valley tourism web site cannot register any visitors, due to the small sample. Nevada County is only a little better off. Here are some rough estimates, again due to the small sample size.  The gonevadacounty.com had 167 unique visitors in Sep, 353 in Nov and 805 in Dec.

For some contrast this blog had 3,792 unique visitors in December, of which 2,295 were returning visitors. No one is paying for these visitors, it is a totally non-profit operation. It seems to me if the County and City are paying for visitors they should be able to exceed the number of visitors to this volunteer operation by several factors.  Stay Tuned.

Exit Questions:  What do tourists really want to know about Nevada County?  Does the County and City have right information on the web sites in an easy to access fashion?  Have you ever visited gonevadacounty.com or gograssvalley.com?  What do you think?

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About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

One Response to The Union on How Nevada County Spent Tourism Dollars

  1. Barry Pruett says:

    Yes. The County paid for a strategic plan from Switchback (Trcukee) and kind of dropped the ball in implementing it. Right now, the regional Chambers are working on the implementation of the Switchback plan.

    It is exciting to see the transformation of the regional Chambers. While each local non-profit focuses on only its little niche, the Chambers are really the only non-profit with an all encompassing agenda.

    All of the different chambers of commerce in our county are collaborating and working together as never before. Even Ted Owens, not a big supporter of the regional Chambers, indictated that he was pleased to see such collaboration. The leadership from the regional Chambers and a willingness to work together will certainly be a story for 2012.

    Russ…you keep shining the light. I talked to someone from the chambers yesterday that said they were reading your blog.

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