Editor’s Note: A look back at the career of LVCVA chief executive, Rossi Ralenkotter
The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority has revealed Rossi Ralenkotter will be stepping down from his role as chief executive of the organisation next month.
Over the last decade, as chief of the tourism body for the famous destination, Ralenkotter has been responsible for marketing and branding Las Vegas and southern Nevada as the world’s most desirable destination for leisure and business travel.
Under his leadership, the LVCVA launched the most successful branding campaign in tourism history, which is best known for its oft-repeated tagline: “What happens here, stays here.”
It was recognised as the number one campaign by the voting public and was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2011.
On his watch, Las Vegas itself has been recognised as the World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination for the past five years by the World Travel Awards.
The accolades have come as the destination continues to transition away from a gaming-led destination to a more MICE focused market.
The LVCVA also owns and operates the Las Vegas Convention Centre.
As Ralenkotter steps down, he has left in place plans for the development of the location.
Work is poised to get under-way on the largest infrastructure project in its history, with a complete renovation and expansion planned.
The project will add 1.4 million square feet of new space, with at least 600,000 square feet of usable exhibit space.
It will allow Las Vegas to attract more business and permit existing clients to continue to grow their conventions.
With Ralenkotter’s oversight, Las Vegas remains the world’s trade show capital, hosting 54 of the largest 250 trade shows.
Ralenkotter began his career at the LVCVA in 1973 (45 years ago) as a research analyst.
Prior to becoming president and chief executive in 2004, he was the authority’s executive vice president and senior vice president of marketing.
Before joining the LVCVA, Ralenkotter worked for a local telephone company and served in the United States Air Force.
He has been a resident of southern Nevada for more than 60 years.
Ralenkotter was named the inaugural chairman of the department of transportation’s National Advisory Committee on travel and tourism infrastructure.
He was also a technical advisory committee member of Nevada governor Brian Sandoval’s Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee.
He is a member of the board of directors for Brand USA and a past chair of the board of directors and current board member for the US Travel Association.
Ralenkotter recently completed his term as chair of the Travel & Tourism Advisory Board for the United States department of commerce and remains on the board.
He earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Arizona State University in 1969 and a master’s degree in business administration from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 1971.
He was honoured 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.
He is a member of the Las Vegas Ad Club, which inducted him into the Las Vegas Advertising Hall of Fame for lifetime marketing achievements.
He also received Lifetime Achievement honours from the American Marketing Association and the Travel & Tourism Research Association, and was most recently inducted into the UNLV Lee Business School’s Nevada Business Hall of Fame.