New Las Vegas tourism boss: ‘We need to look at who our customers are going to be in the future’

Steve Hill, who championed tax increases for the convention center expansion and new stadium, takes over Sept. 1

David Becker/Las Vegas News Bureau

Steve Hill, president and chief operating officer of the LVCVA and chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority speaks during Caesars Entertainment Community Review reception at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino Monday, March 5, 2018, in Las Vegas.

Steve Hill has already played a significant role in shaping the future of Las Vegas tourism.

Hill led the charge for a room tax increase to partially fund the Las Vegas stadium (Hill is director of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority) and the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion project. Additionally, while he was the director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, he helped lure Amazon, Apple, Tesla and other major companies to Nevada.

Now, he is facing a new challenge.

The Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority board of directors last week appointed Hill as chief executive officer of the authority, where he will replace longtime head Rossi Ralenkotter, who retires Aug. 31. Hill has worked for the authority since January as its chief operating officer.

“Rossi will tell you this; this is not a one-man show,” Hill said. “I think I can do a good job with the organization.”

Ralenkotter will stay on with the LVCVA in a consulting capacity for 18 months, which will help Hill’s transition into his new role. Hill's compensation will be determined at a September board meeting; Ralenkotter was making $440,400 a year.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, who appointed Hill to the Office of Economic Development and the Stadium Authority, said he had no doubt Hill was the right choice to become just the third CEO of the LVCVA in the last 27 years.

“As an entrepreneur, Steve Hill helped build many resorts on the Strip and as the inaugural leader of my Office of Economic Development, he helped make Nevada an attractive place to build businesses, bringing some of the world’s most innovative companies to the Silver State,” Sandoval said in a statement. “I know Steve will be equally successful at the LVCVA; he is the right person, at the right time to lead the organization.”

Hill is taking the reins of the authority during an economic boom. In addition to the stadium and convention center projects, Hill pointed to construction of Resorts World Las Vegas and The Drew (the development on 24.5 acres on the north Strip; formerly Fontainebleau).

“There’s real momentum, which we haven’t had in about a decade,” he said.

Hill said focusing on the millennial demographic will help ensure the future success of Las Vegas.

“We need to look at who our customers are going to be in the future, mainly the millennials, and learn how to be as attractive to them as we are to everybody else who has preceded them,” he said.