Virtual conferences may be a thing right now, but Las Vegas beckons for in-person conferences in 2021 as they roll out the opening of the new West Hall expansion at an almost billion-dollar price tag. The Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Bureau has even created a new social media hashtag “#OnlyVegas” to keep corporations and organizations tuned into the accommodations and amenities only Vegas can offer to convention goers.
What makes Las Vegas events memorable for attendees is an array of unique experiences. It’s extravagance guaranteed. With nearly 150,000 rooms, Las Vegas offers the best group value proposition in the world. (Keller, 2020)
Planning is Key to Success
The grandeur of Las Vegas can sometimes be a hindrance when you’re planning a conference. It can quickly turn into distractions for your conference attendees. To avoid those distractions, here are seven essential tips for planning a conference in Las Vegas.
Set Clear Goals and Date(s)
Foremost, know why you are planning a conference – to launch a new product or service, or to bring together a global audience, your goal will determine the type of event that needs to be planned.
The date selection is crucial to the entire conference plan. You will need to act quickly and freeze a travel-friendly date, as most hotels sell out during peak seasons of October till May, you must check the other significant events happening at the Convention Center.
Las Vegas has one of the largest pool of rooms in the U.S. as long as you time it appropriately.
Choose the Venue Smartly
The entertainment city has so much to offer, and everyone loves a bit of Vegas’ fun after all. But staying on the famous Strip can also be a little too hectic. You don’t want your attendees to get stuck in traffic, especially during a big conference.
It’s best to find a hotel stay close to the convention center if you plan a conference during the peak travel season.
You can select from less populated hotels like The Aria, MGM, or the Delano, offering easy room access without your attendees needing to pass through packed casinos. There are other options available like Mandarin Oriental or the Waldorf Astoria which don’t offer gambling.
Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Las Vegas is filled with attractive décor and lights on the streets. You may get tempted to take a walk if the weather is favorable. The Strip is long, so be sure you’re prepared for distance walking. Anyone with mobility limitations should make advanced arrangements for a scooter or wheelchair from vendors such as the Las Vegas Mobility Store.
You can find more information about ride-sharing, taxis and public transportation on the Visit Las Vegas website. Be aware of the select pick-up and drop-off zones at the hotel or resort.
Set Aside Vegas Specific Expenses
When it comes to event costs, it is pretty much the same in Las Vegas as in other metropolitan cities. One big differentiator, though, is the city’s operations and laborers’ costs are part of unions. For instance, every trade show requires drayage (logistics) fees, but in Las Vegas runs about 30% higher than the rest of the U.S.
Don’t forget to add up the parking fees. You can expect to pay anything from $5 to $25 per day, excluding the tip for valet parking. Now, start adding up these city-specific costs into your budget. You will have a more comprehensive plan in place – you will know how and where to allocate a specific amount towards enhancing the guest experience.
Bring Entertainment to the Conference
No one wants to go to a conference without a wow-factor; it’s essential to incorporate a little fun into the mix. In Las Vegas, the options are unlimited.
Arrange for entertainment, such as D.J.s or comedians, illusionists, humorists, or set some time aside to enjoy Vegas’ fun activities. You can also invite attendees for a tee time at one of the golf courses, book a little spa pampering or arrange tickets to a show.
Be sure to include at least a half day of free time before or after the conference and encourage attendees to enjoy Las Vegas at their leisure.
Food will always be a big motivator for most people and Las Vegas is a culinary adventure. When you serve delicious food at the conference, attendees will come back for more. It also gives you a brilliant opportunity to let people network, bond, and exchange ideas over table talk.
Hotel conference centers offer a wide array of culinary options, including vegan. Planning meals is one of the biggest expenses and challenges, so you’ll find a hotel catering staff who can make arrangements based on needs and food preferences. Consider making available at least 4-5 different types of menu items if your conference attendees’ are multi-national.
Sustainability: Go Green
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is committed to sustainability, and they are invested in going green with recycling and carbon footprint reducing technology.
At a press conference during IMEX America, the Events Industry Council announced creating a new EIC Centre for Sustainable Events in partnership with IMEX Group, the United Nations, Freeman & MGM Resorts International. (Pleiser, 2019)
Create environmental consciousness in your entire conference planning. Turn to greener options, avoid using plastics or other toxic materials and make recycling a conscious part of your conference event.
Work Is Play in Las Vegas
Companies and organizations will have a great team-building opportunity and global brand exposure when planning a Las Vegas conference. For many, it isn’t work, it’s a perk. No one who learns of a conference destination in Las Vegas says, “Oh, I’d rather stay home and Zoom virtually”; or, “Let’s have our conference in Toledo.” Las Vegas is a conference nirvana, offering sensory exploration like no other destination.
Keller, M. (2020, May 18). Las Vegas: The Meetings Capital of the World Looks to Reopen. Retrieved November 19, 2020, from http://www.themeetingmagazines.com/cit/las-vegas-meetings-capital-world-looks-reopen/
Getting Around Las Vegas: Vegas Transportation. (2020, October 15). Retrieved November 28, 2020, from https://www.visitlasvegas.com/experience/post/getting-around-vegas/
Pleiser, C. (2019, September 27). 11 Tips for Making Your Las Vegas Event Successful. Retrieved November 19, 2020, from https://get.swoogo.com/unconventional/making-your-las-vegas-event-successful