LA starts $3m blitz to infuse life into struggling hotels

LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Visitors and Convention Bureau (LAVCB)

has launched a hotel and entertainment promotional package aimed at

filling empty rooms throughout the region.

Valued at more than $3 million, the initiative kicked off last

week with a press release and advertising in "drive markets," extending

to neighboring states such as Arizona.

PR for the campaign will be handled by a newly formed committee of

representatives from participating businesses and government agencies.

One hundred nine hotels are involved, as well as 80 restaurants, and 11

promotional organizations such as the LAVCB. That committee has met

twice so far, and will initially focus on creating media events with

partners such as Universal Studios and Amtrak in different areas of the

state, according to Robert Barrett, VP of marketing for the LAVCB.

"It's a huge collation that formed in less than two months," said


"It's a remarkable, incredible response to the situation we find

ourselves in."

Since the September 11 attacks, occupancy rates in the area have fallen

dramatically, leading to more than 4,000 layoffs in the hotel


Barrett said that loss could reach 40,000 jobs by June if travel levels

remain depressed.

The promotion centers on a two-nights-for-the-price-of-one deal.

Participating properties range from the ultra-swanky Ritz Carlton in

Marina del Rey to modest mid-city Best Westerns.

Consumers taking advantage of the deal will also receive the LACard,

giving them two-for-one admission to attractions such as the LA County

Museum of Art, as well as discounts at restaurants and clubs.

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