More than 30,000 jobs are dependent on the Las Vegas Convention Center and “every dollar spent generates 12 dollars back,” says Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).
The center is currently amidst a phased expansion and renovation that will add 1.4 million sf and modernize existing space to accommodate the future habits and behaviors of convention delegates. The result: an additional $800 million and 600,000 new attendees annually by 2023, the anticipated date of completion. Terry Jacinsky, senior VP of operations for the LVCVA, says the expected inflow of millennials into the meetings and conventions scene is a cornerstone of what’s being dubbed the Las Vegas Convention Center District (LVCCD).
“We’re moving toward more built-in features, customizable A/V, lounge environments and experiential meeting rooms. In other words, less static space and more adaptable to future tech needs. We don’t know what that tech will be, but we will be able to adapt to it.”
Here are a few more ideas for creating atypical experiential meetings and events in Vegas.
Vegas: A Sports Destination
We soon learn that as exciting as it is the LVCCD isn’t the only news in town; billions in investments are positioning the city as a contender among sports destinations. The Vegas Golden Knights recently became the first NHL team—and first of the four major North American professional sports leagues—to call Vegas home. They play at the new T-Mobile Arena. Sports groups will also soon be able to catch a Las Vegas Raiders (currently the Oakland Raiders) NFL game at the forthcoming Las Vegas Stadium, cropping up near Mandalay Bay.
Sports experiences also abound across the city and surrounding area, whether golfing on world-class courses, hiking or sandstone climbing in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, off-roading in the desert or racing luxury sports cars around the SPEEDVEGAS track. Attendees can also channel their inner superheroes and soar across the sky at the 12-story SlotZilla zip line in downtown Vegas’ Freemont Street Experience.
We also learned a thing or two about the beauty of sports that require little to no physical activity at all.
The Rise of E-sports
An $18 million prize was awarded to one skilled video gamer last year who battled it out against other qualifiers from around the world at Millennial Esports, the first permanent e-sports facility in Las Vegas. Groups as large as 1,000 from big name companies like Amazon and Microsoft have also donned noise canceling headsets and settled in at the facility’s gaming pods (and their cozy specialized reclining chairs) and mega screen for what has quickly become the latest in tech team building. Millennial Esports can customize the gaming experience for corporate groups by loading games that complement your meeting agenda (we’re told “Call of Duty” and “Halo” team building comps and sports tournaments are popular), live streaming of gaming events and by implementing fun green screens that make players look like they are actually in the game.
Rent a Mobster
Groups of up to 900 are also battling it out at the Mob Museum via scavenger hunts and after hours Clue-like events among the glitz and gore of the city’s past. We explore the interactive exhibits (an experience that ends with an array of Mob Beer Jelly and other take-home treasures) with former Las Vegas Mayor (slash former mobster attorney) Oscar Goodman, who says former mobsters can also be booked for speaking engagements (he has connections). Goodman, who played himself in the film “Casino,” is also available to chat. “I wasn’t getting any parts after ‘Casino’ so I ran for mayor instead,” he jokes. He’s quite the character. And as far as the etiquette on using Vegas’ “Sin City” nickname, Goodman says although “Las Vegas was born from the mob,” Sin City is “sort of an afterthought at this point—we’re a city for everyone.”