Virtually everywhere you look, things are rapidly changing in the meetings industry, highlighted by exciting developments in technology, sustainability, health and wellness, and the need to implement changes to satisfy millennials.
But one of the leaders of the industry, Michael Dominguez–senior vice president and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International, views many of these developments as efforts to get back to the basics of human interactions.
“In trying to make meetings impactful, sometimes the industry forgets the importance of connections,” he says. “At MGM, we’re making a real, conscious effort to promote engagement and interaction.
“In Las Vegas, part of this requires getting away from the old image of the destination as a place where people just stay inside properties and meet in boring conference rooms.”
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One of MGM’s major effort to expand options is the Monte Carlo and New York-New York revitalization, which will feature The Park, an immersive outdoor destination spanning more than 8 acres. It will offer spaces for exploring, socializing, relaxing and sampling the tastes, sights and sounds. Casual restaurants and bars, live music and social games will be among the highlights. It’s expected to open in 2016.
He expects that The Park will be a big draw among millennials. Dominguez disagrees with a stereotypical image of millennials as totally immersed in technology, often at the expense of personal interaction. He also feels millennials should be divided into two groups.
“Older millennials, the 28-to-34-year-olds, are generally immersed in careers, while most younger millennials aren’t in the real work world yet,” Dominguez says.
“The older millennials generally are drawn to engaging, interactive experiences,” he adds.
“The question is, ‘How do we make experiences impactful for them?’ They are looking for networking and membership.”
He views the sometimes-strained relationship between baby boomers and millennials as an opportunity for growth.
“Baby boomers need to sit down with them, ask how they would like to develop, and then set up a structure for them,” Dominguez says. “We all need to start over by talking more with each other.”