Getting Educated by Caesars Entertainment

caesars atlantic city, corporate meeting planning, meeting planning
The Pier Shops, Caesars Atlantic City

Eighty percent of deception is undetectable. It’s something few would expect to learn during an educational experience at Caesars Entertainment. And yet, to the intrigue and laughter of about 100 people, former FBI/CIA analyst and self-described “lyin tamer” Janine Driver has begun randomly calling out the liars among us by analyzing our body language. Driver helps executives and other professionals win new business using these same skills and a number of others. As one of our personal development keynote speakers for today, she’s also helping Caesars drive home the point that business needn’t always translate into ‘business as usual.’

The Caesars meetings outlook is about 90 percent based on the pillars that guide the Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC): creating personal connections, driving positive business outcomes and building strong communities. The coalition strives to show the impact the industry has on businesses, economies and communities.

The remaining 10 percent embodies a Caesars ‘twist’ or “what’s your anything?” context that plays out across Caesars’ brands—from planner perks and customizable meeting options to personal development sessions like this. In helping us better understand the impact of our non-verbal communication, we’re also given deeper insights into the value and return derived from creating tangible business connections. Caesars Means Business adds a dash of fun to the equation—from Monopoly-themed events to community give-backs. Today, it’s all about finding the hidden meaning of hand steepling, facial twitches, and learning to spot what Driver calls “duping delight.”

“If a mirror ball dropped down from the ceiling would your body language be congruent with the message you’re saying?” she asks. It’s a simple question with potential for big returns.

 Caesars Atlantic City, meeting planning

The Big Reveal

It all began with a couple of dancers and a contortionist in a water sphere who floated across the pool at Harrah’s Atlantic City and generated a lot of conversation. Although definitely not your run-of-the-mill icebreaker for a group of business professionals, the events of opening night certainly loosened everyone up.

Shedding some light on the subject, Steve van der Molen, Caesars’ new VP of convention services for Atlantic City, says Harrah’s appeals to a “dynamic and energized guest.” A new 125,000-sf convention center add-on will also inject these characteristics into the regional, national and global corporations and associations who will begin meeting here this August.

“Within a few hours’ drive, we are in reach of one-third of the U.S. population,” Molen adds. “We have great infrastructure to get our guests to our destination.” Regardless of how the floating dancer, music and mood lighting factor into Harrah’s demographic, one thing is for sure: Atlantic City will soon be in possession of the largest hotel/convention center from Baltimore to Boston.

It’s Going Down…and Up

Currently, Atlantic City captures 1 percent of the $16 billion the Northeast collects from nationwide meetings and conventions. The lack of capacity for hosting large-scale events forces a lot of local companies to skip town when it’s time for a product launch or national sales meeting. With two 50,000-sf ballrooms that will host anywhere from 10 to 5,000 people, the center is expected to alleviate this burden and reenergize Atlantic City at a time when a series of casino closings have some calling the historic Boardwalk
a near ghost town.

Strolling around the area throughout the week, we see no evidence of this. We do, however, see a lot of clues into what the development could mean for the area. Thousands have lined the Boardwalk for the Miss America Pageant’s “Show Us Your Shoes” parade; with a steady stream of events like this rolling through, just imagine. Impossible to imagine, a more unique presentation of footwear, or, what Janine Driver would say about all of these leg kicks.

To get an idea of the impact Harrah’s will have on the area, we also explored its sister property, Caesars Atlantic City, and were impressed by the diversity of its offerings—not the one-size-fits-all. Caesars offers 28,000 sf of meeting space, including the 17,135-sf Palladium Ballroom and the 1,500-seat Circus Maximus, a popular theatre for comedians, musicians and celebrity chefs. With 145,000 sf of casino space, it’s also one of the largest gaming areas in Atlantic City. Combine this with the roughly 80 stores and restaurants that the property offers at The Pier Shops, an outlet built on the edge of the iconic Boardwalk on a 900-foot pier that extends over the Atlantic, and you have a built-in itinerary. We attempted a good old fashioned dine around on-site, but with 13 dining options, conveniently ran out of steam in Asian-infused Buddakan at the Pier. Caesars can definitely accommodate the needs and tastes of a wide range of groups; still, when it comes to getting the job done, Michael Massari, senior VP of national meetings and events, says it’s all about the long game.

“Harrah’s offers the best value in the Northeast as far as I’m concerned,” Massari says, adding that planners can sleep, eat, entertain and meet under one roof at any of Caesars’ Atlantic City properties.