Rossi Ralenkotter received a heap of praise and thanks Tuesday for his work as president and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and was allowed to keep his job.
As far as a salary increase or bonus pay, forget about it. He'll have to live with his base salary of $258,000 a year, at least for now.
The convention and visitors authority's compensation committee recommended and approved a salary freeze for Ralenkotter and general counsel Luke Puschnig following Tuesday's regular board meeting at the convention center.
It's the third year of no pay increases for managers at the tourism agency.
Committee Chairwoman Susan Holecheck said the pay structure could be revisited in January if the economy recovers.
A drop in room tax revenue has left the convention and visitors authority with a lean budget that's cut into advertising and marketing expenditures, Ralenkotter said.
The authority's budget and statistical report for the period ending June 30 showed annual tax revenue of $154.2 million, a decrease of 12.7 percent, or $22.5 million, from fiscal year 2009.
It's the second straight year of decline, and year-to-date room tax is down 25 percent, or $66.5 million, from 2008. The average daily rate of $70.95 is down 12.3 percent from $80.91 in 2009.
Ralenkotter said it's the most "challenging budget situation" in the authority's 50 years of existence.
"We recognize in these economic times, all of us have to be part of this," the tourism executive said. "We're in this as a team and we have to pull together until the revenue returns to prerecession levels. We need to be out there selling Las Vegas. That's our No. 1 objective right now."
Ralenkotter went over each of his goals for the year, highlighting a 1.5 percent increase in visitor volume and 81 conventions with 1.4 million attendance generating $40.5 million in revenue.
He said the authority maintained an aggressive advertising and public relations initiative to overcome negative perception about Las Vegas being an unsuitable location for meetings and conventions.
"On the advertising side, we changed our campaign strategy about five times in the last 24 months," Ralenkotter said. "We're looking at the trend, the shift from airline to automobile traffic, so we've adjusted our strategy in that way."
The authority collaborated with Nevada Development Authority to build a booth in the convention center concourse to promote Nevada's business climate; installed a stop on Paradise Road for the ACE rapid transit bus; and worked with a number of airlines to bring new flights to Las Vegas.
Those flights include the first direct service from Paris by XL Airways, three additional flights a week from Montreal on Westjet, and five new flights from Mexico City on AeroMexico.
At the regular meeting, the authority's board of directors approved payment of $4.47 million tax collection allocation for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, a 4.4 percent increase from the year-ago period.
Clark County got the lion's share of $1.85 million, with Las Vegas collecting $1.3 million, North Las Vegas $466,445, Henderson $585,404, Boulder City $98,387 and Mesquite $178,886.
The board also approved a request from the marketing department for $168,000 travel expenditure to attend the World Travel Market in London in November. The four-day convention is widely considered the premier event for the travel industry, Ralenkotter said.
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at email@example.com or 702-383-0491.