They’re separated by 438 miles of striking, but quiet, mostly barren desert, yet Las Vegas and Reno both boast a plethora of exciting, vibrant and unique options for financial and insurance meetings.
“The financial and insurance sectors are highly valuable customers to Las Vegas,” says Laurae Clifford, senior director of convention sales, destination group sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “The destination has been supportive of and heavily involved in organizations such as Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP) since its inception. We understand this market well and what the organization and attendee needs are.” She continues: “Whether the organization is looking for a five-star restaurant, such as the new Carversteak at Resorts World, to entertain important partners or sponsors or for a bucket-list experience, such as SPEEDVEGAS [featuring supercar driving, off-road jumping and wheel-to-wheel go-kart racing], to motivate their top performers, it can all be found in the heart of the most action-packed hospitality hub in the country.”
Stephanie Glanzer, CMP, senior vice president and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International, lauds the city’s constantly evolving offerings for financial and insurance meeting groups. “Las Vegas has always been a city that continues to reinvent itself,” she says. “Each time attendees return to the destination, even if their events are annual, their experience is completely different. They might discover a new restaurant, a new show, a new attraction or even entirely remodeled rooms.”
Reno has also been evolving, and now has something to offer for every type of meeting group, including an abundance of recreational opportunities, says Mike Larragueta, vice president of sales for the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA). “With a diverse lineup of gaming and non-gaming properties, more than 15,000 hotel rooms and event venues of varying sizes and capabilities, the possibilities are endless,” he says. “As a four-season destination with great year-round events, skiing in the winter, and hiking and water sports in the summer, it’s always a good time to host a meeting in Reno Tahoe.
John McGinnes, executive director of sales at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, says Reno is especially well-suited to financial and insurance meetings. “Knowing how stressful these particular segments can be, there is no better place to decompress than Reno,” he says. “Have you seen how beautiful our backyard is? We simply call it Lake Tahoe.”
Two of Las Vegas’ greatest assets for planners are its sheer scale and centrality. The destination features more than 100 daily direct flights and a majority of the resort corridor is within 5 miles of Harry Reid International Airport (LAS). Also, the city offers more than 14 million sf of meetings and events space. “There is also an excitement when you are planning a meeting in Las Vegas that sets the tone for your attendees and gears them up for a successful meeting,” says Sara Broderick, director of regional accounts, Midwest for Wynn Las Vegas.
Caesars has a strong presence in Las Vegas, with Caesars Palace Las Vegas offering 3,975 guest rooms and 300,000 sf of meeting space; CAESARS 3 offering more than 300,000 sf of space; Harrah’s Las Vegas, offering 2,540 guest rooms and 25,000 sf; Paris Las Vegas, offering 2,916 guest rooms and 140,000 sf; The LINQ Las Vegas Hotel + Experience, offering 2,252 guest rooms and 31,034 sf; and Flamingo Las Vegas, offering 3,460 guest rooms and 73,000 sf.
“Caesars Palace is an icon among Las Vegas hotels, having successfully hosted tens of thousands of meetings, including those in the financial and insurance fields,” says Abby Hobbs, CMP, director of sales, Las Vegas for Caesars Entertainment. “Its luxury, combined with the flexibility of meeting space in our conference center, world-class entertainers, like Adele, and one-of-a-kind dining experiences, like Brioche by Guy Savoy and Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen, make it a top-tier choice for financial and insurance group meetings.”
Citizens Inc.: Security Plan brought a group of some 125 attendees to stay and meet at Caesars Palace in early spring, hiring American Guest, a company that coordinates corporate meetings in several U.S. cities, to help plan their visit.“The program began with a reception at Cowboy Club, where boots and the bluest jeans complemented the food, dancing and other fun activities,” says John Williams, president of American Guest. “On day No. 2, the group was offered several out-of-town options to choose from, with jeep rides in Red Rock Canyon and Eldorado Canyon, and Hoover Dam in the mix. The day also included an al fresco lunch at the famous Beer Park along The Strip. Our ‘discovery calls’ helped us appreciate the client’s goals and style, so the reception at the Cowboy Club and post-team meetings at the Beer Park were strong fits that ticked the client’s boxes.”
American Guest recommended the group hold a gala event at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center, a venue that is Cleveland Clinic Cancer Research Center’s nonprofit site in Las Vegas. “Designed by the famous Frank Geary, the venue had all the glamour and sparkle for a gala,” Williams says. “Income from the event supported the hospital and its research into cancer cures. It was truly ‘giving back’ for a great cause while having an outstanding evening.”
Williams says the group was impressed with Las Vegas. “Certainly, the location of the program in Las Vegas was a major hit,” he says. “It was their first major post-COVID program for travel, and that was welcomed by all. One-hundred percent of the invitees participated, confirming the strong pull for the destination and activities.”
The Caesars Las Vegas campus, which includes Harrah’s, The LINQ and Flamingo, also provides planners with plenty of options, especially for large conferences that don’t fit under one roof in other markets. “The campus provides multiple indoor and outdoor meeting options, branding opportunities and unique group experiences, all within a short distance of Las Vegas Convention Center,” Hobbs says.
Dining possibilities abound at the Caesars properties, with several high-profile spots opening at Paris Las Vegas recently. Nobu at Caesars Palace, inspired by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, opened next to Bobby’s Burgers, a fast-casual concept from Bobby Flay; Lisa Vanderpump unveiled her vision of French cuisine at Vanderpump à Paris; and Martha Stewart debuted her first-ever restaurant, The Bedford, a replica of her 1925 farmhouse inspired by her legendary gardens and love of French cooking.
Hobbs says Caesars makes a special effort to help planners facilitate meetings at its properties. “We work alongside the planner to make the process as easy as possible, from offering one contract that incorporates any and all of our Las Vegas properties — which not only increases a group’s overall buying power, but also reduces the number of contracts the planner has to deal with — to offering the planner and group VIPs special Meeting Planner Diamond status with Caesars Rewards, which allows them to enjoy the perks of being a Caesars Entertainment VIP during their conference.”
MGM Resorts offers robust convention spaces at properties such as Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, with 3,211 guest rooms and 2.1 million sf of meeting space; MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, with 4,996 guest rooms and 850,000 sf; and The Mirage Hotel & Casino, with 3,044 guest rooms and 170,000 sf. While many planners are aware of those properties, some don’t realize the company also offers luxury experiences at Bellagio Resort & Casino, which offers 4,445 guest rooms and 200,000 sf; ARIA Resort & Casino, offering 4,004 guest rooms and 500,000 sf; Vdara Hotel & Spa, offering 1,394 guest rooms and 16,500 sf; and Park MGM, offering 3,068 guest rooms and 77,000 sf, that provide a convenient way to build out dynamic, creative programming across multiple resorts.
The most significant development at MGM Resorts this year has been the addition of luxury resort Cosmopolitan Las Vegas to its portfolio, which allows it to expand its offerings for premier meetings and events within close proximity to Bellagio, ARIA, Vdara and Park MGM. “This Luxury Meeting District is particularly attractive to our smaller and mid-size corporate groups, which make up a large part of our business,” Glanzer says.
In addition to indoor facilities, MGM’s properties offer outdoor experiences catering to groups of all sizes, whether it’s an employee recognition party for 10,000 at the 11-acre Mandalay Bay Beach, or an intimate cocktail reception for 300 on Park MGM’s Central Park Terrace.
During the past couple of years, MGM Resorts also has rolled out significant digital enhancements, including fully mobile digital check-in, digital queues at restaurants, mobile ordering at pools and full-in house capabilities to accommodate hybrid events. “This allows guests to customize their experience and provides them with options on how much or how little interaction they want to have with our employees and other guests,” Glanzer says.
Recently, planners have come up with some creative ideas of how to utilize MGM’s properties by including such activities as yoga or meditation at Mandalay Beach and team-building scavenger hunts that take attendees throughout many of the resorts. “We work closely with each planner to discover what’s important to them and what their hot buttons are for their particular group to ensure we can address all areas and customize a successful, productive event,” Glanzer says.
A 4.6 million-sf facility within a short distance of some 150,000 hotel rooms, the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) offers 2.5 million sf of exhibit space and 390,000 sf of meeting space in 225 meeting rooms. The expanded West Hall, which debuted last summer, adds 150,000 sf of meeting space, with the ability to create 80 breakout rooms as well as 600,000 sf of exhibit space and a 14,000-sf outdoor terrace.
The convention center is also home to the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, an innovative transportation system designed to move up to 4,400 passengers per hour, per direction, through the campus. The free system transports attendees from one side of the campus to the other in just two minutes in all-electric Tesla vehicles. During its inaugural year, the system transported approximately 400,000 passengers. Funded by the LVCVA, the $52.5 million system is the first commercial project of its kind.
Built to accommodate meetings and conventions, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas offers more than 7,000 suites in its three towers, as well as 2.25 million sf of meeting space in its Venetian Convention and Expo Center. “The resort has traditional meeting space, including exhibit halls, ballrooms and meeting halls,” says Karin Davis, vice president of sales. “In addition, our resort has a variety of non-traditional meeting spaces, including lounges, restaurants, pool decks and more to really provide a diverse collection of spaces for meeting planners to take advantage of. We recently unveiled The Stella Studio, the perfect space for hybrid meetings as well as small-to-mid-size groups.”
The Venetian’s culinary team reimagines menus to reflect key trends and partners with meeting professionals to create special events, such as mixology sessions and poolside yoga. The resort has several destination restaurants from celebrity chefs, including Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck, Tetsuya Wakuda and Emeril Lagasse.
Wynn/Encore offers plenty of unique experiences for groups, but many groups have found the Lake of Dreams show the most memorable of all. This multimedia experience takes place every half-hour after dusk and blends colorful puppetry, an immersive soundtrack and state-of-the-art sound and lighting to create an unforgettable spectacle on Wynn’s signature water attraction. Featuring 5,500 LED lights, the 3-acre Lake of Dreams is surrounded by lounges and restaurants — including SW Steakhouse and Lakeside, which have patios overlooking the lake — and framed by a 90-foot-high performance waterfall and 1,500 pine trees.
“We also have special event venues such as Intrigue, as well as XS Nightclub, for hosting cocktail parties and VIP receptions,” Broderick says. “Encore Beach Club can host a daytime swim party or a nighttime reception. Small gatherings are well-suited for venues such as Eastside Lounge with live entertainment.”
The 4,750-room property features 560,000 sf of meeting and event space, including the 84,000-sf Cristal Ballroom and an outdoor 40,000-sf event pavilion/lawn overlooking Wynn Golf Club. Wynn/Encore also has three additional ballrooms, with meeting space ranging from 20,000 sf to 50,000 sf, and 40 additional meeting rooms.
Throughout the property, there are 21 signature dining experiences, as well as 11 bars and lounges. Restaurants include the popular supper club, Delilah; coastal Mexican restaurant, Casa Playa; upscale Japanese restaurant, Mizumi; and Wing Lei, the only Forbes Five Star Chinese restaurant in North America. This year, the Cocktail Collection debuted with three new lounges: Aft Cocktail Deck, Bar Parasol and Overlook Lounge.
The first integrated resort to be built on the Las Vegas Strip in more than a decade, Resorts World Las Vegas blends the technology and luxury appeal of an urban contemporary resort with the traditions and details of the international Resorts World brand. At a cost of $4.3 billion, Resorts World is the most expensive resort property ever developed in Las Vegas. It includes a 59-story tower housing three Hilton hotels: 1,774-room Las Vegas Hilton at Resorts World, 1,496-room Conrad Las Vegas at Resorts World and 236-room Crockfords Las Vegas. Resorts World also offers 241,128 sf of meeting space and a theater that can accommodate 5,000 people.
It also features fully customizable and private meeting spaces, including Lily Ballroom, offering 23,817 sf of meeting space, and Rose Ballroom, offering 23,478 sf. Resorts World Las Vegas provides other unique spaces with floor-to-ceiling views of The Strip, along with a rooftop experience and a pre-function area that allows for optimal engagement.
Resorts World boasts a 117,000-sf casino, a 5.5-acre complex with nine pools and a spa, and more than 40 restaurants and bars, including Carversteak, featuring a reimagining of the classic steakhouse experience, with dry-aged American steaks from artisan producers, Japanese-certified Wagyu steaks and vegan selections. Financial and insurance meeting guests can also enjoy lounging poolside, attending immersive digital art shows and visiting an abundance of nightlife venues.
Scheduled to open late next year, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will be a 67-story, vertically integrated resort with more than 550,000 sf of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Among the highlights will be the pillar-less Royal Ballroom, spanning more than 105,000 sf — the largest in Las Vegas — as well as a 90,000-sf theater and Waterbleau Terrace, a 25,900-sf space boasting a casual, cool vibe elevated by lush, swaying palm trees.
Located on a site previously occupied by the El Rancho Hotel and Casino and the Algiers Hotel, across from the convention center’s West Hall, it will offer 3,780 hotel rooms, entertainment options that include a performance theater and a nightclub, eight poolside options and the 52,000-sf Fontainebleau Las Vegas Spa.
The catering program will draw from the property’s 27 food and beverage options, which will include everything from Asian fusion and American bistro, to farm-fresh vegan and hearty Italian.
Reno has several properties that are well-suited to events, ranging from 200 to 1,900 guest rooms and 10,000 sf to 20,000 sf of meeting space, as well as many attractive features that pleasantly surprise many planners. “Reno is an incredible city that has far more to offer than many people realize,” says Don Goodman, executive director of sales, Northern Nevada for Caesars Entertainment. “Along with the beautiful landscape and nearby Tahoe, the downtown area, which is just a short walk from our properties, is packed with museums, locally owned restaurants, art galleries and a Triple-A baseball team ballpark. There’s more than enough there aesthetically and culturally to enrich any financial and insurance group’s meeting.”
The Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resort merger in 2020 not only created the largest casino and gaming company in the United States, but also facilitated the creation of THE ROW, three downtown Reno resorts — El Dorado, offering 814 guest rooms; Circus Circus Reno, offering 1,573 guest rooms, and Silver Legacy Resort Casino, offering 1,645 guest rooms. They collectively offer 180,000 sf of meeting space, 25 restaurants, 23 bars and lounges, entertainment venues, 11 night spots, large casinos and the city’s only Topgolf Swing Suite.
“THE ROW is an excellent choice for financial and insurance groups for three reasons: personalization, top-tier offerings and convenience,” Goodman says. “Our meeting spaces are incredibly flexible and can comfortably accommodate groups of any size while providing direct access to some of the best restaurants and entertainment the city has to offer.” He adds that because Caesars Entertainment treats the three resorts as a singular mega-resort, planners have the opportunity to personalize their event by utilizing and combining spaces across all the properties under a single contract.
Eldorado is renowned for its culinary tradition. “Food has been the star of the Eldorado experience since the Carano family opened the resort, and we continue that tradition today,” Goodman says. Two of Eldorado’s top restaurants that offer plenty of space for groups are Roxy steakhouse, which can accommodate groups of up to 155 people, and La Strada, featuring Italian dishes and room for 156 people.
Eldorado also offers a couple of unique options for financial and insurance groups: a 580-seat showroom, complete with a stage and state-of-the-art studio and lighting systems; and Novi, a nightclub that can accommodate groups of up to 300 across 4,000 sf.
One of Silver Legacy’s leading attractions is the 3,000-sf Topgolf Swing Suite, a virtual reality venue that allows groups to play sports of their own choosing. And Circus Circus features everything from carnival midway games and three restaurants to late-night margarita fun and casino action.
Situated just south of downtown Reno and many of its major hotels and resorts, The Reno-Sparks Convention Center provides 600,000 sf of meeting space with 382,303 sf of ground-level exhibition space and 53 breakout rooms. Owned and operated by the RSCVA, the convention center features state-of-the-art, wireless internet with 10G speed that is accessible throughout the facility and can assist 25,000 simultaneous users.
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is widely known for its award-winning restaurants and spa. The Reno area is home to some 800 restaurants, and Atlantis consistently has five or more ranked among the top 10 on TripAdvisor. The AAA Four-Diamond Atlantis Steakhouse, Sky Terrace sushi and oyster bars, Bistro Napa and Manhattan Deli exchange spots within the top five on a daily basis, and Atlantis Steakhouse and Bistro Napa have both received the “recommended” rating from Forbes Travel Guide for seven consecutive years. Also, Spa Atlantis recently received its seventh consecutive Forbes Four Star Award.
“Aside from the opulent dining and spa offerings at our resort, we celebrated the opening of the cocktail lounge at Atrium, where you have to try an Old Nevadan, made with bourbon from a local distillery, Frey Ranch,” McGinnes says.
Atlantis offers 821 guest rooms and some 50,000 sf of meeting space, including the grand ballroom, offering 14,261 sf; Paradise Ballroom, offering 12,160 sf; Treasures Ballroom, offering 2,781 sf; and Emerald Ballroom, offering 3,920 sf. The resort is also the only one directly connected to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
Despite offering nearly 2,000 guest rooms and suites, as well as the largest casino floor in northern Nevada at 100,000 sf, Grand Sierra Resort’s greatest attraction for planners is arguably its more than 200,000 sf of meeting space, including 45 meeting rooms located in a separate wing of the resort — away from the lobby and casino area — and accessible directly from the guest room elevators.
From the 1,188-sf executive-style Board Room, to the 40,500-sf Grand Ballroom, complete with crystal chandeliers and custom luxury fabrics, Grand Sierra Resort can accommodate groups from 10 to 4,000 people with more than 45 breakout rooms. The property also offers six dining options, including Charlie Palmer Steak Reno, using advanced culinary techniques to produce neo-traditional steakhouse classics, and Rim Asian Bistro, featuring sushi and a large assortment of other Asian specialties.
Activities include two escape rooms, two pools, the Grand Bay Driving Range, a bowling center and Grand Adventure Land, featuring go-karts, mini-golf and Ultimate Rush Swing, where guests are hoisted 180 feet in the air and then pull a ripcord to send themselves on a descent that feels like free flying at 65 miles per hour. I&FMM.