Las Vegas brings business forwards as meetings industry recovers
Meeting and convention industry leaders in Las Vegas gathered at the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, symbolizing the resort community’s united commitment to moving business forward in honor of Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID).
Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) said: “Today we celebrate the many contributions that help Las Vegas maintain its position as the number one Trade Show destination. We have been honored to welcome our trade show organizers, exhibitors and attendees back to Las Vegas for valuable, in-person connections and we are grateful for their business and commitment to our destination.”
Conceived by the U.S. Travel Association, the premiere advocacy association for the travel industry, GMID showcases the impact of the meeting industry to the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Travel Association, as a result of the pandemic, the U.S. saw a decline of $211 billion in business travel spending, $97 billion of which was due to the decline in meetings, conventions and trade shows. In-person meetings benefit attendees by fostering deeper connections, enhanced education and training opportunities and access to information through informal conversations.
“As co-chair of Meetings Mean Business, I encourage everyone to advocate for the industry,” said Michael Massari. “To bring business back to 2019 levels, we must continue to do what we do best – plan and execute extraordinary meetings and events. Over the last 12 months, Caesars Entertainment has proudly hosted many conferences at CAESARS FORUM, including PCMA Convening Leaders, Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress and Cvent Connect. We look forward to welcoming more meetings and conventions back to the destination.”
An estimated 2.2 million convention attendees were hosted in Las Vegas in 2021. In-person meetings and conventions returned to the destination in June 2021, reigniting the industry and showcasing confidence by tradeshow and meeting organizers that meetings can be held safely and efficiently. Sales teams throughout the destination have also been hard at work securing new deals that will bring new business to the destination over the next decade.
Tradeshow organizers say Las Vegas is a is preferred destination due to the ease of conducting business and ample entertainment and hotel options - offerings that are critical to the success of a show. The 2021 SEMA Show, an automotive tradeshow, garnered more than 100,000 attendees for its November show at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). The LVCC is owned and operated by the LVCVA.
“The event marked the first automotive industry-wide gathering since the pandemic hit, and it did not disappoint,” said Tom Gattuso, vice president of events for SEMA. “In addition to the business that takes place every year at the SEMA Show, the 2021 event was a unique celebration for uniting the automotive aftermarket industry. Las Vegas continues to support our industry in a way that no other city could.”
“Our team liaises with clients every day that recognize the importance of face-to-face interaction and delivering a first-class experience that warrants travel,” said Steve Blanner. “Now more than ever, groups place safety and meticulous event programming in the forefront and we are steadfast partners in every step of that process to ensure a successful and memorable event. There is no place in the world that delivers the excitement of Las Vegas.”
Las Vegas is home to 14 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space throughout the destination, combining business with more than 150,000 hotel rooms and direct access to world-class sports and entertainment. For 26 consecutive years, Las Vegas has remained the number one trade show destination in North America, according to the Trade Show News Network (TSNN).
With construction on several key developments continuing throughout the pandemic, Las Vegas was poised to welcome business travelers back with exciting new offerings and Only Vegas experiences when business travel resumed. The destination saw the debut of Resorts World, Caesars Forum and the LVCC’s West Hall. MSG Sphere at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, a venue for the next generation of experiences, is scheduled to open the second half of 2023. More than $4.5 billion in investments are projected over the next two years, adding approximately 7,000 more hotel rooms and 791,000 square feet of convention space, in Southern Nevada by the end of 2024.
“Two years after our worlds were turned upside down, this GMID is a true celebration of our resilience as an industry,” said Stephanie Glanzer, SVP and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International. “We emerged better and stronger with new creative approaches, enhanced technology and an overwhelming desire to develop events that are not only productive for our attendees, but also meaningful and memorable.”
“The Venetian Meetings team is passionate about helping our customers return to in-person events safely. And we remain dedicated to creating new and exciting opportunities to meet and do business,” said Chandra Allison. “The team has brought creativity and safety together for some truly innovative events recently. The last couple of years have solidified the need for in-person meetings and events. As an industry, we need to continue to advocate for the positive impact in-person meetings have on communities and how they bring people together.”