Old favorites and new offerings are continuing to attract groups to the Las Vegas Strip
A megacity located within the smallest desert in America, Las Vegas is a mecca for both business and leisure travel. In 2015, a record 42 million visitors ventured here, drawn to the endless options for work and play. It is not surprising that Las Vegas convention attendance was up by 13.4 percent, year-over-year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). It is the kind of place that people want to rediscover again and again because there is so much to see and do.
The stats speak for themselves: 150,000 hotel rooms, nearly 11 million square feet of business meeting space, and three of the 10 largest convention centers in the U.S. Groups of any size will feel welcome, whether a 10-person executive team or a major trade show with 170,000 attendees.
"Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world," says Chris Meyer, vice president of global business sales for the LVCVA. "There is always something going on -- a trade show, festival, or corporate retreat."
And there will be even more convention space opening up soon. A planned expansion of the original center will increase it from 3.2 million square feet to nearly 5.7 million square feet. Last month, the bill to approve the expansion passed in the Nevada State Senate and the State Assembly. The bill will fund the $1.4 billion Las Vegas Convention Center District project and set in motion the development of a $1.9 billion domed stadium (contingent on an NFL franchise moving to the city).
"This expansion will create a new beginning for the Las Vegas Convention Center and Destination Las Vegas, when it comes to business meetings for the next 25 years. The impact will be monumental," says Meyer.
Once the stomping ground of the Rat Pack and Hollywood royalty, Las Vegas retains its ability to reinvent itself while continuing to offer the old-school class that put it on the map. With so many choice destinations from which to select, groups may have a hard time deciding on a venue. The good news? Because of the vast number of hotel rooms, availability is almost never a problem and bargains are frequently available.
"Most groups stay between Sunday and Thursday, whereas leisure travelers usually incorporate weekends," says Meyer. "If groups are traveling midweek, chances are that you will get a great value, even though the city is continuously hosting events and trade shows. Traveling outside of weekends is the best way to get the experience you are looking for with a smart value proposition." He adds that "hotel rates here change by the minute, mainly because there are so many channels of distribution, but groups are highly valuable to hotel properties, and not just because of lodging, but because groups bring in incremental revenue beyond the regular leisure traveler."
Caesars Palace celebrated its
50th anniversary this year
This past September, Caesars Palace celebrated its 50th anniversary with a lavish weekend celebration fit for a Roman emperor. The gathering focused on the late owner Jay Sarno, a pioneer of the glamorous, and sometimes gluttonous, approach to high-end property development. But as it celebrated its past, Caesars was hardly resting on its laurels. The property recently unveiled 587 new hotel rooms, in the new Julius Tower. Open for booking, the $75 million renovations were designed by Michael Medeiros of KNA Design as a modern update of the hotel's iconic Roman Tower. "As we enter into our milestone golden anniversary year, we continue to reinvent Rome…and Las Vegas," said Gary Selesner, regional president of Caesars Palace, in a statement.
Caesars plans to keep the celebration going all year long, with special packages that include meals in its celebrity chef-created restaurants (think Nobu), admission to its new 75,000-square-foot Omnia Nightclub, and lavish treatments in the 50,000-square-foot Qua Baths & Spa.
Caesars' new rooms aren't the only ones going up in a luxury tower downtown. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is gaining 21 exclusively designed penthouses in the Boulevard Tower of The Cosmopolitan Resort. Three different teams designed the penthouses that comprise a total of 63,000 square feet. The individual penthouse apartments for guests will range in size from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet. The design team (Tihany Design, as a consultant to Marnell Companies, Daun Curry, and Richmond International) gave a similar theme to each of the seven guest rooms they were responsible for creating. The penthouses are slated for completion by early 2017, and will include a private gaming salon as part of the package.
Las Vegas is also becoming known for its high-tech and high-stakes casinos. This May, the Malaysian-based Genting Group investment-grade gaming company got the green light to build Resorts World Las Vegas, a Chinese-themed, $4 billion megaresort, with over 3,000 rooms on the Strip, currently scheduled to open in 2019. It has also been reported that Alon Las Vegas, a $2 billion resort and casino, will go up across from the Wynn Encore, despite conflicting reports that the project has stalled.