Distinctive leadership, vision and strategy keep four resorts on and off the Strip competitive in the increasingly diverse Las Vegas group market.
Treasure Island Hotel and Casino
Opened in October 1993, Treasure Island (TI) joined Luxor and MGM Grand in ushering in Vegas’ themed resort era. While its swashbuckling pirate concept was soon scuttled, TI forever changed the local entertainment landscape as Cirque du Soleil’s founding home in Vegas, via still-running Mystere.
Today, Treasure Island’s distinctions include being one of only two individually owned Strip resorts, following Phil Ruffin’s purchase of TI from MGM a decade ago.
“We are also the only major Strip property offering direct access to meeting facilities from guest floors,” said Don Voss, vice president, hotel sales and marketing.
“Our groups like the convenience of not having to pass through the casino or other public areas," he added. "Plus, our space offers direct access to poolside events.”
Treasure Island Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
Geared for groups of 20 to 100 with the flexibility for 1,000-plus attendees, the 2,664-room TI, offering 30,500 square feet of space, recently increased its meeting space by 40 percent.
Highlights include 2017’s new $6.5 million Antilles Ballroom, with a natural light option and six versatile breakout rooms. Plus, there are audiovisual technology upgrades, including LED video walls, and modernized banquet displays and setup designs. The expansion helped Treasure Island exceed convention group room night expectations for 2018.
“Repeat business is stronger than ever, and the current booking pace points to a strong 2019,” Voss said. “Aware of all the new and renovated meeting facilities entering the market over the next two years, our focus remains on providing personalized service to our client partners.
“That is what ultimately keeps us competitive in the Vegas group market,” he added.
South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa
Building his empire from the ground-up, owner Michael Gaughan is pure old-school Vegas. In 1979, already established on the scene, he launched Coast Casinos with Barbary Coast (today The Cromwell), followed by the Suncoast, Gold Coast and New Orleans.
In 2004, while constructing the 660-room South Coast, he sold the company to Boyd Gaming. In 2006, he reacquired South Coast, added two new towers, and renamed it South Point. Today, the 2,163-room resort thrives as a value-driven alternative just south of the Strip.
South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa, Las Vegas
“Our location is popular for groups wanting to get away from resort corridor pricing,” said Maureen “Mo” Robinson, director of sales. “With all the additional meeting space being added in Las Vegas, our price points will become even more appealing.”
Offering 165,000 square feet of versatile space, revenue drivers include year-round bookings at its 4,400-seat Equestrian Arena. Opened in 2014, the $35 million South Point Bowling Plaza reportedly drove record operating earnings in 2017 behind 310 days of tournament play.
“Convention group business for 2018 was up approximately 2.5 percent from 2017,” Robinson said, “and we anticipate around the same increase for 2019.”
Commenced in February 2018, the phased $40 million remodeling of all 2,049 rooms and 84 suites is slated for completion by September 2019.
Nearly complete is a $2.5 million cellular service upgrade. Other recent improvements include a $500,000 spa upgrade and moving walkway to the exhibit hall.
Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino
“This place has a special soul,” said new Westgate Las Vegas President and General Manager Cami Christensen in a Vegas, Inc. interview last year.
Notably one of the few women resort executives on the Strip (along with Westgate VP of Marketing and Entertainment Dawn Rawle and VP of Hotel Operations Debbie Ong), Christensen, who has been with the property since 2001 when it was the Las Vegas Hilton, credited Westgate’s people, many long-timers, with creating the property’s “spirit and energy.”
Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino
Opened by MGM founder Kirk Kerkorian in 1969 as The International, Westgate’s eternal spiritual glow includes Elvis Presley’s record 837-show run in the 1970s. In 1995, The King’s former penthouse, Room 3000, was reimagined as the opulent Sky Villas.
Dramatic, too, are the $175 million in resort-wide improvements since Westgate Resorts’ founder, CEO and President David Siegel purchased the property in 2014. These include 1,200 newly remodeled rooms, expanded entertainment options in the Westgate Cabaret and International Theater (Barry Manilow plays the latter through June 2019.), the new International Bar and diverse culinary options.
Sweeping renovations are planned as the 3,000-room Westgate, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center since day one, which is positioned to capture significant market share at the epicenter of billions of dollars of future-ready development.
All marked for completion in 2019, the resort’s 50th anniversary year, these include all guest rooms, themed suites and villas; a convention space expansion; multiple restaurants; retail arcade; parking garage; and pool area in time for the summer season.
Current group facilities at Westgate include 225,000 square feet of flexible ground-level convention, exhibit and prefunction space, and the 70,000-square-foot Paradise Event Center.
M Resort Spa Casino
Opened in March 2009, M Resort Spa Casino’s appeals starts with a commanding location just off I-15 in Henderson. Elevated 400 feet higher than its Strip counterparts, the award-winning property’s perch offers inspiring valley and skyline panoramas.
Vantage points include many of the M Resort Spa Casino’s 390 guest rooms and suites; event venue LUX and new cocktail bar 16–A Handcrafted Experience, both on the top 16th floor; and the outdoor terraces at most resort restaurants. Groups have 92,000-plus square feet of versatile space, including the 25,000-square-foot pillarless M Pavilion.
Other amenities at the M Resort Spa Casino include the 100,000-square-foot Villaggio Del Sole pool and entertainment deck, and Topgolf Swing Suite.
M Resort Spa Casino, Las Vegas
Recent refreshes include guest room and corridor carpeting, new TVs and enhanced Wi-Fi.
“Just a short drive from the Strip and McCarran, we offer the best of both worlds,” said Gabe Kuti, director of sales at M Resort Spa Casino. “Advantages include convenience, affordability and an exclusive private setting for guests to network throughout their program.”
Booking a mix of franchise industry, incentive, technology and association business, M Resort Spa Casino hosted 145 groups in 2018, including full corporate buyouts, small meetings and catered events.
“Overall attendance was up year-over-year, and with a high percentage of repeat group business, we can plan ahead with meeting space and sleeping room inventory,” Kuti said. “As a Forbes Four Star resort since opening, we continue to meet and exceed the standards."
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