Happy #GMID16 from Las Vegas

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There’s no better place in the world to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day than Las Vegas. That was the theme of the day on April 14 in Las Vegas and was reinforced by Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association.

“If I’m going to be anywhere, it’s going to be in Las Vegas,” Dow said as he kicked off the local festivities at the new T Mobile Arena. “What happens in the meetings industry happens in Las Vegas and keeps coming back to Las Vegas.”

A group of 250 meeting leaders and local hospitality suppliers gathered at T Mobile Arena to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day. Dow reported that 110 events took place in 30 countries in the first truly international day that calls attention to the importance of meetings and events.

In 2015, Las Vegas, regarded as a meeting mecca, hosted 6 million delegates, which accounted for an economic impact of $9 billion. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) says that the meetings and events industry supports 65,500 jobs.

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Besides Dow, the event drew a who’s who of the Las Vegas meetings and events industry. A panel discussion included Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of LVCVA, Mike Massari, senior vice president for national meetings and events for Caesars Entertainment, Chris Flatt, executive vice president of hotel sales and marketing for Wynn Resorts, Chandra Allison, vice president of sales for Sands Corporation, and Chuck Bowling, president and COO for Mandalay Bay.

Here are five takeaways from their panel discussion:

1. Virtual reality and other technology will not replace meetings and events; today’s technology is expected to improve engagement before events begin, creating excitement that will elevate attendance. “Tech isn’t taking over meetings–it’s expanded meeting purpose,” Bowling said.

2. Wi-Fi is no longer a perk. It’s a necessity that attendees expect, especially millennials. The Venetian and The Palazzo just invested $8 million in Wi-Fi improvements.

3. The word attendees will fade from meetings language; the new buzzword is participants, since people attending events want to experience things, not just be a bystander.

4. The impact of meetings and events has transformed Las Vegas to much more than a gaming city. Celebrity chefs, adventure opportunities outside the city limits, shopping, spas and entertainment contribute more to the Las Vegas economy than gaming. “Business does get done in Las Vegas,” Ralenkotter said.

5. There’s more excitement for meetings in Las Vegas than ever as fewer companies consider the destination a distractive atmosphere or even a boondoggle, instead offering great value, convenience and meetings infrastructure.

“I’m thrilled to be in the No. 1 meeting destination–Las Vegas,” said Dow to an appreciative and agreeing audience.

Further Reading:
On Location at Global Meetings Industry Day

Live Updates: Last Updated April 14, 2016 – 4:32 PM

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