Las Vegas top meetings and convention experts came together April 14 to celebrate the first Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) at the newly opened T-Mobile Arena.
The event marked the expansion of North American Meetings Industry Day, held earlier this year and was spearheaded by the Meetings Mean Business Coalition and Convention Industry Council.
It had special significance to Las Vegas, where meetings, conventions and tradeshows bring over $9.3 billion in economic impact and support more than 66,000 jobs. It’s also home to the largest 54 tradeshows in North America, as ranked by the 2015 TSNN Top 250 trade show list.
The meeting kicked off with a keynote address by Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association, who praised the city for its continued success as a meetings destination and for its leaders’ commitment to promoting the value of face-to-face.
The panel discussion that followed was led by Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the LVCVA and featured Chuck Bowling, president and COO of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino; Chandra Allison, vice president of Sales, The Venetian and The Palazzo; Chris Flatt, executive vice president of Hotel Sales and Marketing, Wynn Resorts; and Michael Massari, senior vice president for National Meetings and Events, Caesars Entertainment.
Allison noted that Las Vegas has overcome the pushback as a business destination. She said, “Choosing Las Vegas is no longer an issue. It’s a serious place to come and do business. The statics shows that attendance (for meetings) is higher here.”
Bowling added that the demand is back to pre-recession days. “We’re redefined the peak season,” he said. “It used to be a January through May conversation and a couple of months in the fall. Now, it’s a year-round business for us. Some of our busiest meetings are in the summer.”
Bowling also commented that the fears of technology taking over in-person meetings proved unfounded. “Some of the biggest meetings we’re doing today are tech meetings,” he said. “Technology is the fastest growing market in America today. People have to get together and talk about the new products.”
When asked about the new metrics for tradeshows, Allison said that her customers are measuring ROI in learning and engagement. “How that trend is changing meeting design is fascinating,” she added. “We used to be about a general session. It’s about events where people can collaborate, engage and learn amongst themselves.”
Allison also noted the trends for customized food events and interactive experiences. “It’s customized events within an event,” she said.
Safety and security continues to remain top of mind for executives and planners and all participants expressed their commitment to ensuring that every aspect is covered. “All of us have to continuously reevaluate (security programs) to make sure we’re one of the safest places on Earth,” Flatt said.
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- Industry News