Features such as a new 600,000-square-foot exhibit hall and 150,000 sq. ft. of new meeting rooms tend to dominate headlines related to the $1.4 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion and renovation. But those are just two of the many updates that will improve the conference experience for planners and attendees.
Another key component of the project, which will span the next six years, involves a major upgrade to the facility’s technology. In keeping with Las Vegas’ status as an entertainment trendsetter, the convention center looked to stadiums and arenas for inspiration.
The project team recognized the potential to introduce the venue takeover experience to the convention center landscape—and give planners yet another reason to book Las Vegas Convention Center for events.
“You can turn an entire arena or stadium into a brand—Coca-Cola or ConExpo or CES—so that everything throughout the campus can be turned to this brand imagery. And that’s not only in the inside, but on the outside,” said Terry Miller, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s contracted builder representative.
“This is not experimental stuff,” Miller said in an interview. “This is technology that exists. We now need to move forward into what is a fairly economical way to do what we’ve done for years with the new hardware and technology. It’s not necessarily unique in technology, but it will be unique in the application there at the Convention Center.”
Beyond attention-grabbing branding opportunities, the facility’s new technology will also enable attendees to manage their itineraries more easily. That capability will be a necessity, not a novelty. When the expansion and renovation is complete, Las Vegas Convention Center will encompass 1.9 million sq. ft. of exhibit space.
Digital service kiosks installed throughout the center’s campus will be preprogrammed with maps, information and schedules. With one swipe of a chip-embedded name badge, an attendee will gain access to booth locations, transportation options and other critical information. Armed with this support, both first-time conference-goers will navigate the facility with confidence.
Chipped name badges also carry the potential for partnerships. For example, producers of two recent construction industry trade shows teamed with Las Vegas Monorail to embed badges with unlimited monorail access for attendees.
But planners tempted by the technological possibilities will have to be patient. Although planning proceeds on track and a financing plan is in development, the project has not yet reached the design phase.
On April 27, the oversight board for convention facilities in Clark County will meet to review and discuss design and construction methods.