by Andrea Doyle | March 22, 2019

Las Vegas isn't home to Karen Chupka, but for several days every January, it sure feels like it. When you're executive vice president for the Consumer Electronics Show, running point on one of the largest annual citywide meetings in the nation, you're landlocked in the Entertainment Capital of the World. There's lots to do to ensure that the massive planning machine you've put in place runs smoothly. And CES, produced by Arlington, Va.'s Consumer Technology Association, requires a mountain of prep.

"The city has 150,000 hotel rooms; and our citywide convention brings in 180,000 people," says Chupka, naming one of a great many annual challenges. "We need to secure room blocks years out."

Any convention demands a vast checklist to keep things organized; a citywide, however, requires something of Olympian standard. The concept is essentially literal: A citywide takes over your city.

Witness CES, which this January attracted 4,500 exhibitors and spanned over 2.9 million net square feet of space at the Las Vegas Convention Center and 10 other venues along the Strip. The world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer electronics, CES required more than 45 Las Vegas hotels to secure discounted rates for over 20,000 guest rooms for attendees. Even the airlines altered their schedules to accommodate the show. This year, 10,000 domestic seats and 9,500 international seats were added to CES-related routes.

Las Vegas has been hosting CES since 1978, and Chupka has the city secured through 2039. "It's a luxury to go back year after year," she says. "We don't have to go in and learn a new city and what resources are available, including things as simple as hotels, transportation and meeting space."

Read the full version of this story including how CES successfully plans a citywide convention, by visiting NorthstarMeetingsGroup.