Beneath a sign at the Venetian Theater in The Venetian Las Vegas promoting “Global Meetings Impact Day,” Las Vegas joined the Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) celebrations on Thursday, April 12, 2018, with speaker presentations focusing on industry trends as well as the impact of meetings and conventions on the local economy.

The industry locally supports 65,000 jobs and generates more than $9.3 billion in economic impact. The destination recorded an all-time high for convention visitation in 2017, with 6.6 million business travelers.

Nearly 200 meetings industry leaders and professionals joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and leaders from across the Las Vegas meeting and convention industry, including Caesars Entertainment, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, MGM Resorts International, The Venetian and The Palazzo and Wynn Las Vegas, for presentations on varying trends and other topics of discussion related to the industry.

MPI President and CEO Paul Van Deventer started off the presentations talking about the importance of the industry to Las Vegas’ economy and in general, as well as outlining current meeting trends and issues.

“Safety and security of attendees is at the forefront of everything any time an event is planned,” he said, yet he noted that only 50 percent of meeting planners have a disaster management plan in place.

 Additional presenters and topics included:

  • Health & Wellness in meetings: Mike Dominguez, MGM Resorts SVP and Chief Sales Officer.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Lisa Messina, Caesars Entertainment VP of Sales.
  • Green Initiatives/ Solar Projects: Erik Hansen, Wynn Las Vegas Director of Energy Procurement.
  • Technology: Mamie Peers, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas VP of Digital Marketing.
  • Innovation/Entertainment: Chandra Allison, Sands Corporation SVP of Sales.
  • The impact of meetings for local non-profit organizations: Brian Burton, Three Square Food Bank President & CEO; Edyta Jankowski, Opportunity Village VP of Sales.

Dominguez touted MGM’s health and wellness initiatives, which he said is the “fastest growing trend in the industry.” He touched on the philosophy behind MGM’s Stay Well guest rooms that are based on scientific study on how the human body interacts with sound and light, which are also incorporated in the new Park MGM property, formerly the Monte Carlo.

The meetings spaces in Park MGM are also being optimized for collaboration, including the upcoming Madison Meeting Center, a 10,000-square-foot, modern-designed conference center space will offer 10 flexible rooms able to accommodate varying layouts.

Messina followed with a presentation about the CSR efforts of Caesars Entertainment, including its partnership with Clean the World and its commitment to donating excess food to food banks like Three Square. Its teacher exchange program includes gathering unused notebooks from meetings to donate to local teachers.

Hansen then touched on the green initiatives and sustainability in Las Vegas, noting that the Strip uses enough energy to power a city of 300,000. Yet, just five years ago, the Strip consumed enough energy to sustain a city of 500,000.

“What has changed has been the resorts’ view on the way we view our businesses and the impact we have on our communities and the environment,” he said. “We’re making changes.”

Wynn Resorts in 2014 made a decision to invest in renewables and new technologies, such as battery storage, wind and solar. Wynn built a 20 megawatt solar farm, according to Hansen, enough to power 75 percent of the resort’s need. It currently has a partnership with Tesla on battery storage projects.

It is also opening a 280,000-square-foot meetings and convention space in its former golf area, utilizing 100 percent green energy.

“We will be conserving 100 million gallons of water by replacing the golf course,” he said.

On the technology side, Peters talked about The Cosmopolitan’s use of enhanced experiences such as its 408 LCD displays for Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace digital art presentation in its lobby.

The Sands Corp.’s Allison also spoke about innovation and the non-traditional meeting spaces at properties like the Venetian.

“The biggest trend is the use of non-traditional spaces, taking a day to day agenda into lounges, theaters, poolside, retail spaces, restaurants,” she said.

She also spoke about the “festivalization” of meetings.

“A lot of millennials attending high tech conferences and we are creating a place of community, celebration and learning,” Allison said.

Examples of unique programming include sushi rolling with a master sushi chef and open meditation by the resort’s pool. The Honest Food Program is another initiative offering flexible and diverse options, with leftovers going to outlets like Three Square.

Three Square’s Burton and Jankowski of local charity Opportunity Village, which focuses on job training and placement for people with disabilities, each spoke about how the meetings industry works with their organizations and various CSR opportunities for groups.

Following the presentations, event guests were invited to explore an interactive art-gallery style exhibit showcasing major advancements and developments throughout the destination.