The least exciting part of tourism in Las Vegas is probably conventions and meetings. We all want to see the newest restaurants, bars, casinos, clubs, and attractions on our own time. However, the catalyst to experience Las Vegas for many people over the years are company conferences, conventions, and meetings.
Casino-resort operators in Las Vegas are planning for even more people to visit Las Vegas for work. All over town the casinos are expanding convention and meeting spaces more than any other part of the property. These convention and meeting spaces can be inexpensive and simple or modern and elaborate.
Conference and Meeting Space Upgrades
Last year the Hard Rock finished construction of new convention and meeting space. This $15 million dollar expansion wasn’t “cheap” but it was a fairly simple project that essentially just added conference rooms. The overall meeting space was expanded to 110,000 square feet. This makes the Hard Rock a real option for a small to medium sized companies looking for a near-strip location to hold meetings.
More recently, MGM Resorts announced a partnership with Sydell Group on 80,000 square feet of conference space at Monte Carlo/Park MGM. This space will be technologically advanced and feature amenities like a private patio for dining and parties. This will be a bit more advanced than just having a room with tables and chairs.
Earlier this year MGM Grand broke ground on an expansion of their conference center. The new conference center will offer Stay Well meeting space. These meeting rooms will feature amenities and programs that stimulate healthy, productive and creative work environments. This is a unique offering in Las Vegas. You can learn about Stay Well here.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Aria and Bellagio are expanding their meeting space. Flamingo just cleaned up their conference and meeting rooms. The Las Vegas Convention Center is just beginning a long-term expansion that will bring their footprint all the way to the Vegas Strip.
Maximize Las Vegas During Conferences, Conventions, And Meetings
Visiting Las Vegas for a work trip isn’t quite the same as a vacation. However, you can make it close to a holiday experience. Making a work trip feel like vacation involves a little pre-visit preparation. Let me help with a checklist.
Define the approximate conference time frame – This is always different. Knowing how much time you’re spending at and around the conference will allow you to plan for your free time. It’s nice to stay near the conference so you can have the most Vegas time with yourself or co-workers. The trip to and from Mandalay Bay every day can eat up a lot of time if your convention is at the Las Vegas Convention Center – especially during the Consumer Electronics Show.
Use work to your advantage – Work dinners and entertainment are a great way to experience Las Vegas on someone else’s dime. If you can add dinners, social hours or entertain a client on the someone else’s dime use this as an excuse to explore new restaurants, bars, shows, and clubs. I would never have enjoyed a night and morning at Marquee inside the Cosmopolitan if it wasn’t for a great client.
Make reservations in advance – If you’re in Las Vegas during a busy conference you may be shut out of a restaurant, show or club if you don’t have reservations. You can usually cancel a restaurant reservation without paying a fee. However, you’ll be on the hook for most other reservations so plan accordingly.
Manage your non-conference time – Down time on a work trip is always at a minimum. Knowing your surroundings can help maximize your “free” time. Most Las Vegas casino-hotels have enough ways to eat and be entertained without going elsewhere. If there’s something missing find the nearest location. Know your surroundings in advance so you can enjoy more Vegas.
Find free things to explore – Over the years we’ve shared a slew of free things to do in Las Vegas. If you can wrangle in a few meals from work and enjoy some of the free activities during your downtime you can not only enjoy lots of Las Vegas but you can do it on the cheap. That money saved can be used on a holiday in Las Vegas!
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.