What Happens in Vegas Goes Beyond its Borders

30th Apr, 2021

Surrounded by mountain ranges in the Mojave Desert, a city reigns supreme in the business events industry. The message from Las Vegas is: “Kiss off 2020, kick to the curb and look to the future”.

Famous for its mega casino-hotels and associated activities, Las Vegas is a top three destination in the USA for business conventions and a global leader in the hospitality industry. Home to IMEX America and countless trade shows, the city attracts more than 6.5 million business delegates each year with a remarkable approval rate. This was until the world collapsed with the motto "stay home" that made Vegas rethink its entire strategy. Some casualties reflect the momentum of major events moving to the virtual side, such as the CES Annual Trade Show or the NFL Draft 2020. “I think by the time we get to March, vaccines will start to roll out at scale and that will make a big difference,” says Steve Hill (pictured below), CEO of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).

It is expected that, as Las Vegas advances in the second quarter of this year, people will feel more confident, health numbers will improve considerably and travel sentiment will follow a positive trajectory. The data emerges from a new survey conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies. Of all respondents, 91% said they miss face-to-face interaction at conferences and conventions, while 58% said they feel burnt out from virtual business meetings. Among business travellers, 77% would prefer attending business conferences, conventions and trade shows in-person.

“We are still a top destination to our customers from a comfort standpoint in health and safety aspects,” Hill says. Even with strict measures in place, there was an increase of about 24% in the intention to leisure travel to Las Vegas in the following six months. In the meantime, Vegas’ offer is keeping a balance with health and safety protocols. Especially as 74% of people surveyed believe that Las Vegas is best prepared to safely host in-person conferences for the remaining of the year. According to Hill, "large-scale testing and even access passes are very hard to implement, so our focus is more on herd immunisation and the rapid spread of the vaccine”. The mind-set of LVCVA is to use its meetings, legacy and signature events to lead the country’s recovery in the post-pandemic stage.

In fact, the study backs up Las Vegas as the top destination in the country compared to other markets. Why? The quality of the business experience, with most attendees believing that Vegas lends itself to innovation, easy transportation and good logistics, helps explain the success. Another strong suit is the fact that rotating meetings and conventions held in the city experience an 8% higher turnout than any other in the US. “The major trade shows are committed to come back, as well as some associations and event organisers,” says Hill. And, on hybrid events, he adds: “We are in the business of creating content and limiting that content to only those who can come in person, it is a missed opportunity”.

Meanwhile, new developments in the city are underway with a new stadium, expansions in the Las Vegas Convention Centre (LVCC) and construction of new resorts. Vegas means business!

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