Should States Keep Their Tourism Accounts In-State? Nevada Doesn’t Think So

According to The Reno Gazette-Journal, the Nevada Commission On Tourism will not be awarding its account to an agency in their state. Of the four finalist agencies for its account, all are located outside of Nevada.

Valerie Glenn, the CEO of the Reno-based Glenn Group, said it’s a shame no Nevada companies made the short list for such a large contract, including her company.

“All things being relatively equal, there should be a process in place to use some common sense that would lean toward supporting businesses in Nevada,” Glenn said. “Especially given our economic situation and our governor’s stance on promoting economic development and job creation.”

Clearly, the commission can do what they want. But is it right? It’s not as if Nevada agencies don’t know how to do tourism work. Should states (and other local/regional tourism boards) have an obligation to keep their accounts local? Should the RFP process be any different for government accounts than it is for other clients?

Then there’s the “only the locals know” argument:

Bill Marion, the principal at Purdue Marion and Associates, said advertising and public relations firms in Nevada are used to marketing to a global audience but also have the knowledge to sell rural Nevada. “You need to have eaten in a Basque restaurant; you need to have gone to a cowboy poetry gathering,” he said.

It should be noted that promoting rural Nevada (as opposed to Vegas and the like) is a significant part of the assignment. So is he right? How much experience–and experiencing–do you need to accurately convey the virtues of a destination client?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.