Tag Archives: Las Vegas Convention Center

Las Vegas’ Rough Road Continues

That potent one-two Las Vegas punch has lost its zing. 

All year long it’s been a hard fought battle, with the bad economy and slashed discretionary spending yielding the crushing blows. 

Adding to the demise, with more than 150,000 hotel rooms and heavily dependent on convention business, the tough times are getting unbearable. 

Fewer people are visiting, let alone spending.  Many casino floors are half-empty during the day. 

Taxi drivers up and down the Strip complain that they wait a long time between pickups. The fares they do get negotiate nearly every rate and no longer tip even minimally. 

Even fewer flights are landing in Las Vegas – US Airways Group Inc. announced last month that it was cutting arrivals in half.  Las Vegas hotels are heavily discounting and are doing anything it takes to lure folks back. 

At the Imperial Palace, rooms are going for $25, $65 on Saturdays. At the Palms Casino Resort, a standard room costs $59, $99 for a studio suite. 

High-end casinos such as Mandalay Bay are offering rooms for about $109.99, with a special two-night-minimum promotion that includes a 50 percent discount on a suite upgrade, a two-for-one House of Blues restaurant voucher, $25 resort credits on food, beverage, or merchandise, and 30 percent off tickets for The Lion King

Las Vegas’ woes are also not a good omen for other casino towns – or tourist destinations in general.  The falloff effect is pronounced and enduring. 

“What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. What happens in Vegas spreads out to all the rest of us,” said Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. 

“When Las Vegas greatly lowers its rates, consumers don’t think of it as Vegas being Vegas. They think along the lines, ‘Well then, I should be able to get a good deal anywhere.’ ” 

In September, for the first time since May 2008, the number of visitors to Las Vegas went up year over year – 4.3 percent. But the average daily room rate was down nearly 25 percent, to just over $92 a night. Gambling revenue was down 3.6 percent, the 21st straight monthly decline, according to figures released last week by the city’s convention authority.

All the big casino companies are feeling the pinch. Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo on the Strip, reported a $123 million net loss for the third quarter that ended Sept 30. MGM Mirage, which owns 10 casinos, the most on the Strip, posted a $750.4 million net loss. And Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., which owns eight casinos here, had more than a $1 billion net loss. 

Conventions and meetings, which characteristically drive midweek Las Vegas room occupancy, are way off this year. Attendance is down 27.1 percent compared with the same period in 2008; the number of gatherings is down 18.2 percent. 

About 400 meetings were canceled from late 2008 to May, resulting in $166 million lost in nongaming revenue, so says the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. 

One reason: restrictions on using federal-bailout funds for certain types of corporate travel, said Rossi Ralenkotter, the authority’s president and CEO. The other: Las Vegas’ reputation as a lavish meeting destination. 

The town’s party-hearty image had to be tweaked, said Billy Vassiliadis, chief executive of R&R Partners Inc., the Las Vegas public relations firm that created the “What happens here, stays here” slogan. Its current campaign features high-level executives hard at work in Vegas. 

“We began delivering a much more sober business message and didn’t talk much about the play side,” Vassiliadis said yesterday. “We were dealing with the perception of whether it would be frivolous to hold a meeting in Vegas. Clearly, after the first quarter of the year, executives needed validation and support to come here for a meeting.” 

During a panel discussion last week at the annual Global Gaming Expo, also known as G2E, Ralenkotter said: “Las Vegas [has] worked hard to ensure that the value of face-to-face meetings was better understood. We have also worked hard to attract new business to Las Vegas and have signed 24 new contracts with [trade] shows that have either never been . . . or have not been here in more than five years.” 

G2E seemed to mirror its host town: more subdued, less boisterous. The event drew an estimated 25,000 gambling executives, regulators, slot manufacturers, and suppliers to discuss industry trends and showcase the latest products – down from 26,500 last year. Registered exhibitors numbered 566, down from 724, and the amount of exhibit space used at the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center was 258,600 square feet, down from 335,480 in 2008. 

With the supply of convention visitors dwindling, luring back the leisure traveler became a priority, Jacob Oberman, a casino consultant with Los Angeles-based commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., said at a recent panel discussion on filling hotel rooms in a down economy. 

“They’re doing this by either giving gaming customers more favorable complimentaries than in the past, increasing their allotment of rooms, and presence with Internet wholesalers such as Expedia, [or] offering creative discount room offers and packages to the general public. 

It appears everyone in Las Vegas, or planning to go there, are cinching their belts a few notches.  It’s not that parites are not happening– it’s just they’re not as lavish or widely participated in as in the past.

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Mary Tyler Moore to be Honored at NAB Dinner in Las Vegas

Mary Tyler Moore will be among those honored at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Television Chairman’s Award dinner on April 20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. marytylermoore

The NAB advances the interests of more than 8,300 radio and television stations through legislative, regulatory and public affairs actions. 

At the 2009 event long-time entertainer Mary Tyler Moore will be honored with the NAB Distinguished Service Award which recognizes broadcasters who “have made significant and lasting contributions to the broadcasting industry”.  Past winners in this category have included President Reagan, Edward R. Murrow, Bob Hope, Walter Cronkite and Oprah Winfrey. 

NAB President and CEO David Rehr said of Moore “We are proud to honor her with our Distinguished Service Award for the tremendous impact she’s had on broadcasting and for her many years of public service.” 

The NAB Show will be April 18 through 23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Hilton.  Exhibits begin on April 20.  NAB Show information:  http://www.nabshow.com/2009/eventInfo/default.asp

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Comedian Bob Newhart to Receive NAB Award in Las Vegas

Droll comedian/actor Bob Newhart will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame during the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show Television Luncheon on April 20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. bobnewhart

Newhart is being recognized for his contributions to entertainment which span comedy albums, two highly successful television series and several movies and guest appearances.   The award will be given to Newhart by NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr.

Past NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame television inductees include Bob Barker, Regis Philbin, The Tonight Show, and Star Trek. 

The NAB Show will be April 18 through 23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Hilton.  Exhibits will begin on April 20.  NAB Show information:  http://www.nabshow.com/2009/eventInfo/default.asp

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Kelsey Grammar Tapped for NAB Award in Las Vegas

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Kelsey Grammar will receive the first Television Chairman’s Award at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show Television Luncheon on April 20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. kelseygrammar

Best known as the repressed Dr. Frasier Crane from the series “Frasier,” Grammar has also served as producer, executive producer and director on a variety of projects including the NBC series “Medium” and the CW program “Girlfriends”.  

The Television Chairman Award was developed to “recognize individuals for a significant breakthrough in one or more specific art disciplines in television.” 

K. James Yager, CEO of Barrington Broadcast Group and NAB Television Board chairman, said, “His multifaceted talent makes him the perfect first-time honoree of this award.” 

The NAB Show will be April 18 – 23 with events at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Hilton.  Exhibits will begin on April 20.  NAB Show information is available at http://www.nabshow.com/2009/eventInfo/default.asp

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Chalk up one for Las Vegas ‘Adult Entertainment’ Peddlers

Like it or not, peddlers lining the Las Vegas sidewalks, clicking their provocative handbills, and otherwise hawking adult entertainment promotions to passerbys is a part of our historic, colorful fabric, and, for some, this perhaps adds to our alluring mystique.  After all, we are Sin City, right?   handbills

One can regularly see such peddlers on the sidewalks of the Las Vegas Strip, in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and many other places around town.  Almost everywhere except for congregating in original Las Vegas, more specifically the Fremont Street Experience.  

Until now. 

A court ruling recently set aside several Las Vegas ordinances that sought to limit such activities at the Fremont Street Experience.  Of course the laws could be once again appealed, but Las Vegas’ colorful Mayor Oscar Goodman, in his last term of office, said recently that it might be time to let the 12-year-old on and off again lawsuit go. 

The Las Vegas City Council will hear its options at an upcoming meeting, he said, and can weigh in on the merits of appealing the decision, trying to craft another set of ordinances or take some other approach. 

Quickly turning the other cheek, though, Mayor Goodman said Las Vegas would staunchly fight anyone who tried to pass out adult material, such as escort advertisements handed out on the Strip. 

“You don’t want to see one of these situations where a man takes his daughter down to Fremont Street to see the light show and has some smut shoved in his daughter’s face,” Goodman said.  “If they use the same aggressive mannerisms that they do out on the Strip, we’re certainly not going to tolerate that.” 

Glitter Gulch, a leading adult entertainment Fremont Street business, is just a stone’s throw away from anyone walking down those same streets. 

The American Civil Liberties Union was quick to challenge the city ordinances on free speech grounds, arguing that bans on passing out literature and advertising or on setting up tables to promote a cause were unconstitutional. 

The case has been winding its slow way through appeals, revised ordinace and more litigations since 1997. 

In enacting such ordinances, Las Vegas city leaders contend that businesses that rent space or kiosks from Fremont Street Experience LLC, which operates the pedestrian mall, needs some protection again people setting up competing sales operations next door for free.

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Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Delays Convention Center Renovations

An $890 million planned Las Vegas Convention Center renovation that was once deemed to be vital for the Las Vegas tourism industry and economy is very likely to be put on official hold. lasvegasconventioncenter

On Thursday, the LVCVA said they would seek to suspend the project at least to the middle of 2010. 

LVCVA chairman and Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman called the delay practical, sighting the declining room tax revenue in Clark County, the authority’s primary income source, and other economic declines. 

The original convention center expansion proposal called for dramatic upgrades to the Las Vegas Convention Center’s façade and common spaces.  It would have increased the gross square footage from 3.2 million square feet to 3.8 million square feet that would have increased critical high demand convention areas including available meeting spaces, restaurants, food service, and taxi spaces. 

Jeremy Aguero of the economics research firm Applied Analysis said the suspension is an unfortunate reflection of the state of the economy.  In 2007, he prepared a report that said without improvements to the convention center, Las Vegas would lose $5 billion in convention-related economic activity. 

Las Vegas is the nation’s top location for trade shows and conventions.  It hosts 44 of the nation’s top 200 conventions and tradeshows, according to Tradeshow Week magazine.  Orlando is a distant second with 24. 

Goodman says he’s hopeful that work on the convention center renovation can resume in 2010.

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MAGIC Show Sprinkles Magic $$$ Dust on Las Vegas

Lance Burton’s magic and his theater at the Monte Carlo, suprisingly, is not the center of the Las Vegas MAGIC universe this week.  Burton, at least for this week,  has to share his headliner billing with the Men’s Apparel Guild of California.  magicuse

The MAGIC show runs February 17 through February 19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas.   Expected to draw an estimated 120,000 attendees, the show brings the best and most prestigious clothing exhibitors to Las Vegas convention halls, introducing new style and trends that fast-track to the general marketplace.  

This year MAGIC will expand further with the introduction of “MAGIA at MAGIC”.  Located in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, MAGIA is designed for the Hispanic and Latin American markets. 

“We realize that this is a pivotal time in our industry,” said Chris DeMoulin, President of MAGIC International and Executive Vice-President, Advanstar Fashion Group.  Categories are evolving, trends are changing and our clients are looking to MAGIC for a new approach to their business needs. We’ve assembled an amazing team and listened to invaluable feedback from our customers, and the result is a strategy we believe in. There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of The MAGIC Marketplace.”

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