For decades, Las Vegas has been the epicenter for meetings, conventions and events of all sizes. Jill Leimbach, director of meetings for the National Association of Credit Management (NACM), understands the draw of Las Vegas as the world’s leading meeting, convention and trade show destination. In fact, the NACM will hold its 124th Annual Credit Congress & Expo at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas June 14-17, 2020.
“Our gathering of credit and financial professionals comes just once a year,” Leimbach says. Featured at the conference will be a host of educational opportunities, exhibitors and unique events. The expo hall will host dozens of exhibitors, showcasing products and solutions ranging from credit reporting and credit insurance to software and payment solutions. Educational sessions related to financial analysis, technology, legal issues in credit, soft skills and much more are included. In total, the overall expected attendance for the NACM event is approximately 1,500 people.
“There’s something for everyone. You can work with any budget, any cuisine and any location preference, and there’s always something to your liking.”
- Karla Singson
“Las Vegas has been a popular destination for NACM’s delegates,” Leimbach says. “Our conference attendance numbers are typically strong when Las Vegas is the convention destination, therefore we try to keep it in our rotation every couple of years.”
NACM is a prime example of financial and insurance companies and organizations finding exactly what they are looking for in meeting and convention options in Las Vegas.
For Karla Singson, corporate events director at SNAP Events, the biggest draw that Las Vegas has for her is the numerous options available as it relates to her clients’ needs, budget and preferences. “There’s something for everyone. You can work with any budget, any cuisine and any location preference, and there’s always something to your liking,” Singson says. “It’s important to drum up excitement for your participants and showcase Las Vegas as more than just a gambling or drinking capital. It is so much more and there really is something for everyone.”
With Leimbach’s extensive experience hosting meetings and events in the Las Vegas area, she recommends meeting planners recognize that the area is an expensive city in which to hold an event.
“Most hotels include a resort fee on top of the negotiated room rate, so try to negotiate that resort fee down as well,” Leimbach says. “Also, be sure to spell out in writing in the contract exactly what is covered in the resort fee.”
Singson recommends meeting planners considering Las Vegas as a destination for a meeting or event check out at least five options before signing a deal or finalizing a contract. “Don’t be afraid to negotiate,” Singson says.
Few places on earth provide as much variety, entertainment or excitement as Las Vegas, which is rich with hotels, resorts and venues that offer a ‘wow’ factor at every turn.
Treasure Island Las Vegas recently completed a full remodel and expansion to its meetings and event space as well as several luxury and premier guest suites. Also, all of the hotel’s 2,664 deluxe rooms as well as numerous suites are undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation project to be completed over the next several months.
What’s more, Treasure Island has also experienced a menu revival at several restaurants, including the recent grand openings of the new Corner Market Buffet restaurant as well as the new Golden Circle Sports Bar. The new sports bar features a panoramic LED video wall, which can be made available for select meeting group events.
For those who host or attend a meeting or convention at Treasure Island, customized banquet menus are available, including regionally sourced options. If it’s preferred to set up a gathering outside of the usual banquet space, groups also have the option of a variety of alternative venues within the hotel and overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. These unique venues at Treasure Island feature atmospheres ranging from formal and elegant to casual and outrageous.
Anna Durst, chief executive officer at Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants, recently planned the Nevada Society of CPAs 41st Annual Gaming Conference at Treasure Island. Approximately 200 people attended a two-day event focusing on gaming and hospitality issues as it relates to the accounting/finance field. Attendees included CPAs from: public accounting firms and gaming/hospitality industries, bankers, internal auditors, external auditors, gaming technology company staff and Gaming Control Board staff.
“Treasure Island’s meeting space is well appointed, private and a perfect spot for large or small events,” Durst says. “The staff worked as a team with us to make sure our two-day event was perfect. Their service was exceptional and we will be returning to the venue for our 2020 conference.”
One of the reasons Durst selected Las Vegas for this event is that the city knows how to facilitate events, large or small.
“Venue staff are experienced and you can rely on them for great ideas to make your event successful. Since it is such a popular event destination, it is best to start planning as early as possible,” Durst says. “Work with the event team at the venue and stay in contact with them during the planning process. If possible, choose off-peak times for the best rates and most flexible meeting dates. Finally, if this is your first time hosting an event in Las Vegas, try to schedule a site visit. Some venues are quite large, and you want to plan time to move from hotel rooms to other hotels to meeting rooms and from within meeting rooms if applicable. If you can visit the site in-person, it makes that planning process much easier.”
Tropicana Las Vegas — a DoubleTree by Hilton property — continues to delight meeting planners and attendees. Tropicana’s conference center now offers more than 100,000 sf of flexible meeting space, while the Trinidad Pavilion and other rooms provide meeting and exhibition space with ground-level access. The Cohiba ballroom offers 25,000 sf of space, and the Sky Beach Club’s pool setting can accommodate outdoor events for up to 2,000 attendees.
Featuring more than 92,000 sf of open and flexible meeting space, M Resort is an ideal venue for planners looking for multiple reception areas, state-of-the-art technology and connectivity, unique spaces, such as M Resort’s 25,000-sf M Pavilion and LUX special event venues as well as a 17,400-sf ballroom.
To take in the sights of Las Vegas, more than 70 percent of the rooms and suites at the M Resort offer views of the Las Vegas Strip through floor-to-ceiling windows and the majority of the resort’s restaurants feature outdoor dining on terraces that overlook the 100,000-sf pool and events piazza. Outside of the designated meeting and conference area at M Resort, meeting planners can utilize any of the resort’s seven restaurants and five bars as alternative event space.
Long considered the preeminent casino resort in the world, Caesars Palace features a wealth of awe-inspiring venue options for meetings and events of all sizes. For example, the 51,000-sf Octavius and Forum Ballrooms can each accommodate as many as 5,555 guests. In addition, the 36,260-sf Augustus Ballroom and the 28,592-sf Palace Ballroom feature configurations to meet the needs of any group. Perhaps two of the most unique venues available are Caesars Palace’s 4,100-seat Colosseum, which boasts one of the world’s largest LED screens, and the Gods Pool Oasis, with seven unique pools. Recently, the Colosseum has undergone enhancements, including: the creation of new seating configurations, VIP section transformation, interior design refreshments and upgrades of A/V equipment packages.
Construction also continues on CAESARS FORUM, a new state-of-the-art 550,000-sf conference facility expected to open at the end of March 2020. The $375 million conference center will include the world’s two largest pillarless ballrooms. It will also feature the Forum Plaza, a 100,000-sf dedicated outdoor meeting and event space. The entire facility will accommodate more than 10,000 attendees.
The Venetian also offers a plethora of event spaces, most notably the immense Sands Expo halls, as well as ballrooms, meeting rooms and a wealth of non-traditional spaces including theaters, pools and nightclubs and lounges. In total, the Venetian boasts over 2.25 million sf of meeting space.
To capture the attention of meeting and event planners, Hard Rock Hotel Casino Las Vegas recently spent $60 million to improve and enhance the facility’s meeting and convention center complex, which now boasts more than 110,000 sf of space. Eco-friendly and flexible, the space can now hold up to 8,000 guests.
The hotel will close in February and will open as a Virgin hotel in late 2020. The total cost of the operation now exceeds $200 million, up from previous estimates of $150 million. It will also be a partner in the worldwide Curio Collection by Hilton customer-service program.
Updates will include an overhaul and expansion of its 5-acre pool deck, and all of its 1,500 guest rooms will be renovated. There will be a redesign of the VIP suites at the hotel’s major entertainment venue, The Joint, and officials plan to bring in a major booking partner to attract superstar residencies popular in Las Vegas.
In addition to the myriad of awe-inspiring venues at every turn, Las Vegas offers a host of unique venues. Topgolf Las Vegas features some of the most spectacular views of the Las Vegas strip in a more relaxed, non-corporate setting. Teeming with competitive fun, Topgolf’s event spaces within the Las Vegas facility includes the Signature Room, which can host up to 350 attendees and features a private bar and A/V capabilities and two private event spaces that can be used individually or together. The facility’s rooftop terrace offers stunning views for up to 178 guests, and includes a variety of couches, tables, fire features and a stage. No visit to Topgolf would be complete without attendees enjoying one of the 120, climate-controlled hitting bays, VIP cabanas or two pools. They can also get lessons from PGA teaching pros. The venue’s 900-person concert venue is also a crowd pleaser.
MEET Las Vegas is a unique option for planners looking for a unique event center and exhibition space. This three-story venue, with over 40,000 sf of space is in the heart of historic downtown Las Vegas. Fully adaptive to any event needs with indoor and outdoor secured spaces, it is the ultimate space for fully customized branding opportunities.
For those planners looking to offer some extracurricular activities beyond gaming and nightlife, Wynn Las Vegas recently resurrected the Wynn Golf Club and its new Tom Fazio golf course. The 18-hole championship course includes reimagined topography throughout.
For many financial and insurance entities, going green in their meeting and conventions is not only good for the environment, but financially smart. For planners looking for venues that have embraced the environmental movement, last year Wynn Las Vegas announced it will power its new multiuse development with 100% renewable energy sourced from a new, 160-acre solar energy facility, making it one of the most environmentally conscious, planned developments in Las Vegas. Recently, Wynn Las Vegas earned Four Green Globes, the highest sustainable building certification from the Green Building Initiative. In addition, Wynn Resorts was named a top corporate user of solar energy by the Solar Energy Industries Association after opening the Wynn Solar Field last year, which offsets up to 75% of the resort’s peak energy needs. The solar facility will eventually be used to power the resort’s new meetings and conventions space expansion, set to open in March 2020, with 100% renewable energy.
The Venetian also has made significant strides in embracing eco-friendly operations throughout its Las Vegas venue. Some of these initiatives include waste reduction, resource conservation and the use of sustainable materials. In fact, the Venetian’s rooftop solar-thermal systems is one of the largest in the U.S. and provides hot water for all swimming pools, spas and a portion of the Palazzo tower.
ARIA Resort & Casino is also noted for its eco-friendly amenities. The resort has incorporated technology in its exterior and interior design aimed at reducing energy consumption. When completed in 2009, it was the largest hotel in the world — with 4,004 guest rooms and suites — to have earned LEED Gold certification. It has smart rooms that automatically adjust curtains, turn off unused lights and electronics, and regulate the temperature depending on whether a guest is entering or leaving the room. ARIA was described in Popular Mechanics as possibly “the most technologically advanced hotel ever built.”
While Las Vegas has long been the favorite locale for meetings and events, gambling and entertainment — a mere six hour drive away sits Reno — which has also made a name for itself as a top destination for meetings and events. In fact, the area recently saw a $10 million renovation to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and many of the area resorts and hotels have invested millions of dollars in renovating and updating their facilities.
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is adding wireless technology to all of its LCD projects to provide 4K quality and access. The spacious amenities also bode well for planners designing an event at Atlantis — with its two ballrooms, 22 meeting rooms, a high-tech executive boardroom and an expansive business center. Within the last few years, Atlantis spent over $1 million redesigning their Toucan Charlie’s Buffet menu and décor to bring a touch of Las Vegas to Reno.
Also a popular Reno destination, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino recently underwent a significant renovation, including: the Florence and Pisa hospitality suites for versatile reception and lounge areas; the guest rooms and lobbies of Peppermill North and West wings; a new, private dining room accommodating up to 50 guests at Café Milano. The two-story, 17th-floor suites were remodeled to include luxurious amenities, custom décor and exceptional views.
Sprawling over 45 acres, Peppermill boasts: 82,000 sf of gaming action, 106,000 sf of meeting and entertainment space, two resort pools, 10 award-winning restaurants, 15 themed bars and lounges, a world-class spa and fitness center and brings in headliner entertainment from around the world.
The resort’s meetings and conventions space underwent a massive renovation in recent years, including installation of marble floors as well as updated chandeliers and furniture.
A mere five minutes from the airport, Grand Sierra Resort and Casino features more than 200,000 sf of meeting space, including 45 breakout rooms, and spaces that can accommodate groups from 10 to 4,000 attendees. And to make the venue more enjoyable for guests, the Grand Sierra recently installed bipolar ionization technology to address tobacco smoke and odor throughout the resort. The new system features 120 ionizers that will help neutralize the air on the resort’s gaming floor and throughout the facility. I&FMM.