When thinking about Las Vegas, the first things that typically come to mind are captivating bright lights, slot machines and over-the-top entertainment and casinos. While 10 years ago, this might have been a true depiction of the city, today, Las Vegas offers much more. It is one of the largest meetings destinations in the world, playing host to more than 19,000 business events in 2011 alone.
Out of the 39 million visitors that traveled to Las Vegas last year, about five million can be attributed to business travelers. Amy Riley, Senior Director of Convention Center Sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority explains, “Meetings are essential to Las Vegas. The Meetings Industry is a primary source of revenue for our destination. It is responsible for 58,000 jobs and makes a $6-billion annual impact on the local economy [based on 2011].” On average, a convention delegate spends $981 per trip and a trade show delegate (defined as any piece of business that has a trade show with 40,000 net square feet of space or more) spends $1,273 per trip.
Numbers are a key differentiator for Vegas. The city offers more than 115,000 hotel rooms located within a mile of The Strip and more restaurants and entertainment options than just about any other destination in the world. With three convention centers and dozens of meeting hotels, Vegas boasts 10.6 million square feet of meeting space, all within a short drive of the airport. A $2.4-billion investment in a new international terminal enables Vegas to become even more of a global meetings destination. While many may assume that it is the huge events that are contributing to Vegas’ big numbers, the average meeting attendance in Vegas is actually around 250 attendees—a true testament to the volume of meetings this city hosts.
Meetings are directly influencing the make-up of the Las Vegas landscape. In the words of Riley, “It [the Meetings Industry] has even changed the way our hotels are physically being built, remodeled and laid out. You walk in and you have a real lobby. You have real elevators up to the guest rooms and the meeting space is right there.” In addition to influencing the evolution of properties on The Strip, meetings have also lead to tremendous growth off The Strip. “To the south, we have the M. We go east and we have our Lake Las Vegas properties and our Green Valley Resort. Then you go West and you have the Marriott, the South Point and the Red Rock. You can just see that we have expanded in so many areas.” said Riley.
The Cvent Supplier Network has played a key role in helping Las Vegas establish relationships with organizations that it would not have traditionally worked with in the past. “It [the Supplier Network] has definitely given us more volume and more opportunity. We see everything from military events to family reunions, both of which are just as important to us as a trade show. It also helps us connect with new corporations that are being established,” said Riley.
As for how Riley feels about being recognized as one of the premier meeting destinations in the U.S., “We are honored to be among the top destinations. It obviously contributes to showing the strength of our brand in the marketplace. And it also helps us share the message that Las Vegas is a serious place to do business.”
Cvent spoke to all of the Top 10 Meeting Destinations in the U.S. to learn more about the unique characteristics that set each destination apart, as well as to gain a better understanding of how meetings impact each city. Check out the full list of the Top Ten Meeting Destinations in the U.S.!