As President/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), Rossi Ralenkotter truly represents the definition of a destination marketing "lifer." He began his career at the LVCVA 40 years ago as a research analyst. Prior to becoming President/CEO in 2004, he was the Authority’s Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President of Marketing. Under his leadership, the LVCVA successfully launched “Vegas Stories,” the most successful branding campaign in tourism history. The campaign is best known for its oft-repeated tagline, “What happens here, stays here.™” The LVCVA owns and operates the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center. With Ralenkotter’s oversight, Las Vegas remains the world’s trade show capital, hosting 60 of the larges 250 trade shows.
Rossi Ralenkotter (Far Left) with Ken O'Connell, Thalia Dondero and Jim Avance at McCarran International Airport in 1979
As President/CEO of the LVCVA, Mr. Ralenkotter has embarked on a new three-year vision plan to lead the destination through unprecedented economic times. The plan includes global sales and marketing strategies designed to aggressively market Las Vegas while also ensuring efficiency and flexibility.
"First and foremost, be a good listener. This helps you understand what someone really wants or what the real issue is. I spend a great deal of my time just listening to people…whether it’s clients and stakeholders telling me about an issue or how I can help my staff by offering solutions. Second, be true to your word so people know they can count on you. Third, do the research and knowing the situation inside and out."
Rossi Ralenkotter (Second Right) meets with the Japanese Delegation in 1988 with Las Vegas Mayor Ron Lurie
Ralenkotter is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents, Destination Marketing Association International, the American Society of Association Executives, and the Hotel Sales Marketing Association. He also is Chair of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association. Mr. Ralenkotter recently completed his term as Chair to the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board for the U.S. Department of Commerce and will remain on the Board.
Rossi Ralenkotter in the Helldorado Parade in 2006 (Photo by Brian Jones)
Highly respected among both inside and outside of the travel industry, Ralenkotter was named “Employer of the Year” by the Employee Service Management Association in 2006, one of the “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” by Meeting News in 2005, and in 2004, he was selected “Co-Brand Marketer of the Year” by Brandweek magazine. Ralenkotter was also named one of the Outstanding Young Men of America, listed in Who’s Who of America. Additionally, he served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Tourism.
Rossi Ralenkotter throws out the first pitch during Major League Baseball spring training game in 2010. (Photo by Brian Jones)
Ralenkotter has been recognized and honored with UNLV’s Distinguished Nevadan Award in 2009 and UNLV Alumni of the Year in 2008. He served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force with the 468th Medical Service Flight. As member of the Las Vegas Ad Club, Ralenkotter was also inducted into the Las Vegas Advertising Hall of Fame for lifetime marketing achievements. He also received Lifetime Achievement honors from the American Marketing Association and the Travel and Tourism Research Association.
Rossi Ralenkotter greets Sir Richard Branson at McCarran International Airport to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Virgin Atlantic non-stop servcie to Las Vegas from Gatwick Airport in London in 2010. (Photo by Darrin Bush)
Images courtesy of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Las Vegas News Bureau