Sometimes meeting face-to-face is a necessity — one that ultimately makes or saves a company money. When meetings are part of a sound business strategy, Las Vegas offers a smart and affordable meeting solution, meeting planners say.
“We get more accomplished when we are in the same room together,” said Marci DuBois, Corporate Meeting and Events Leader for Taco Bell Corp. “We are a global company and while email, voicemail and teleconferencing are important, it is also important to see our partners, employees and franchisees face-to-face on a regular basis. It is good for business and it is good for maintaining relationships. These meetings may look a little different than they have in the past, but we still get together. As a meeting destination, Las Vegas provides a great value, not only with room rates but with other ancillary costs.”
Ed Espinoza, referring to the ‘America Votes’ program held at The Mirage in Las Vegas last December, said, “When my organization needed to host its annual conference, we researched cities and event locations all over America. Among all of the cities we researched, Las Vegas proved to be the best and most affordable option. The Mirage offered the most affordable room rates of any city, as well as state-of-the-art conference and media facilities. Our organization literally saved tens of thousands of dollars by bringing our annual meeting to The Mirage.”
Stephen Wortham, Director of Events for John Paul Mitchell Systems, said, “Face-to-face meetings allow us the opportunity to share the culture that we have within our company. While we hold smaller meetings in other locations around the country, Las Vegas has properties like Mandalay Bay with the availability and space to accommodate our groups. It also has great appeal to the professional stylists we cater to from around the world.”
With all the time and expense invested in conducting a meeting or convention, it is vital that attendance be strong. Research shows that when a convention moves to Las Vegas from another destination, attendance increases approximately 15%.
Skip Cohen, President of Rangefinder Publishing Company and organizer for this year’s Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) trade show held recently at MGM Grand, said, “Photographers are experiencing the same challenges as the rest of the country. But in a down-turned economy we just experienced the largest-attended convention in our history, up almost 10% from 2008. WPPI started in Las Vegas 29 years ago and over the years we experimented with a few different cities, such as Nashville and Los Angeles, just to name a few. No convention has compared with the turnout for Vegas. As a result, the show has stayed in Vegas for 22 out of 29 years and we have a contract going forward to stay in Vegas.”
Research also shows that attendees spend between two to five hours more time in the scheduled activities and the delegates who attend in Las Vegas are more often the key decision makers who can decide business on the spot.
Mike Collar, the American Pyrotechnics Association Convention Chairman, said, “Government regulations are an important factor in our business. Face-to-face meetings are vital so that members can discuss in-depth how regulations are affecting their region of business. When the time comes to meet, Las Vegas always tops our list. First because it offers a great value for the dollar, and second because it is a popular destination with our members, which helps guarantee attendance. ”
What drives great attendance for Las Vegas meetings? “First, Las Vegas is easy to get to,” Skip Cohen said. “We’re an international organization with 35 countries represented this year. No matter where you are in the world you can get to Vegas, usually quite economically. Second, in spite of the absurdity of recent comments in the news on Vegas, it’s one of the least expensive places in the country to hold a meeting, with accommodations available at every price point. Third, the weather, believe it or not. It always seems to be either hot or cold, but there’s never been an issue with storms screwing up people’s arrivals and departures.”
While cost effectiveness, value, high attendance and ease of access all help to define the ideal meeting location, without outstanding service a meeting can fall flat. A 24-hour city that prides itself on fulfilling every need, Las Vegas creates an environment ideal for doing business right.
Cohen said, “The MGM Grand staff worked tirelessly to address any issues and help make our event a success. They didn’t just sell the program and walk away – often there were nights they left the venue after our staff!”‘
Stephen Wortham, John Paul Mitchell Systems, “Mandalay Bay provided one of the most enjoyable hotel experiences I have had in many, many years. At the end of the event, I had a difficult time trying to select any one individual for recognition, as their entire staff performed above and beyond.”
Marci DuBois, Taco Bell Corp, “We have been going to The Mirage for many years. They are instrumental in making our events successful and a big reason we return to Las Vegas each year.”