Las Vegas hospitality leaders speaking at Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) offered a unified message on the importance of face-to-face meetings and the anticipated recovery.
GMID kicked off with a panel discussion featuring five Las Vegas industry executives, sharing their insights on the future of meetings and events as the industry moves towards a recovery.
The event took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s (LVCC) new West Hall expansion, with social distancing and safety protocols in place, and was simultaneously broadcast live to remote attendees using the latest hybrid event technology.
“Global Meetings Industry Day is about advocating for the meetings and events business,” said Michael Massari, chief sales officer, Caesars Entertainment. “I think we’ve known for some time that you can have safe meetings and events. That we can gather people together with the right protocols and do it safely. We’ve been having meetings at our facilities since June, and there were meetings happening all around the country since the July-August time period. The protocols are easy. We’re in the logistics business. These are all things that we know how to do, and we’re quite capable of doing it.”
“We have customers today that are making commitments for the future of face-to-face meetings,” said Chandra Allison, senior vice president of sales & marketing, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas. “And I think that’s pretty powerful. When you’re coming out of a year where people have not been communicating face to face, and they’re saying I’m going to commit now for the future, because I know it’s going to come back, and I know the value of face to face.”
Las Vegas has added more than two million sf of meeting space over the past year, including the Las Vegas Convention Center’s 1.4 million sf West Hall hosting the event, along with the Convention Center Loop, an innovative underground transportation system. Wynn Las Vegas made a $420 million investment immediately before the pandemic, adding 300,000-sf of new meeting space. The Venetian Resort Las Vegas has added the 8,000-sf Stella Studio, which opened in late 2020, and renovated its pool deck. The Venetian’s innovative MSG Sphere is also under construction and set to open in 2023, adding 876,000-sf interior space and the capacity to seat 17,500.
“This isn’t just two million square feet of additional meeting space,” added Caesar’s Massari. “These are transformational spaces for our city. And they’ve been built and ready to go for many months now. And they’re getting ready to be unleashed on the world.”
The new 550,000-sf CAESARS FORUM is set to host Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in June, followed by Cvent CONNECT in July, Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) in January 2022, and the NFL draft in April 2022.
“We had the governor come in for a tour,” said Chris Flatt, executive vice president, hotel sales & marketing, Wynn Las Vegas. “We set up meeting setups and meal setups, and showed the protocols that we’ve all put together, to make sure that they all understood how we do our business, and what that looks like. Because sometimes for people that aren’t in the industry, they may not understand scale. So I think we’re all very proud of the outcome, and being able to work really closely together to put that program together. And I think we’ve all gone the extra mile to make sure that our buildings are safe, and that our customers and our employees are safe.”
“We’ve all gone through this together,” said Stephanie Glanzer, chief sales officer & senior vice president of sales, MGM Resorts International. “We’ve gone through personal change together. We’ve gone through professional change together. We are Zoomed out. But on those Zooms, we all talked and collaborated more in the past year. Hard, difficult conversations some of them, and I like to think that we have come out of this stronger in our network.”
“I think we are on the edge of being passed this,” said Steve Hill, chief executive officer/president, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “I think everybody in this industry should feel really excited about the future, and I think that future is coming faster than what you may expect. We are getting near the end of this. We do need to continue to get everybody vaccinated, because that’s the way to get all the way to the end. But we’re going to be able to get back to normal soon. So I’m excited. I think we’re ready to go.”