A Sure Bet

Simply put, Las Vegas is a blast. It’s the entertainment capital for grown-ups in North America, and with 19,000 meetings and conventions annually, 4.8 million delegates generating more than $6 billion in non-gaming revenue, and supporting 58,000 jobs, Las Vegas also remains the #1 rated destination in the US for meetings and conventions.

Las Vegas has also maintained its reigning title as the top trade show destination in the country. It's the 18th consecutive year the city has held the honor. Las Vegas hosted 55 of the largest shows, more than the next two competitors combined.

CONVENTION AND MEETING SPACE

Meeting space in Las Vegas varies widely from a comfortable 200-square-foot conference room to a supersized 1 million-square-foot exhibition hall. The city boasts more than 10.6 million square feet of convention and meeting space, including the Las Vegas Convention Center's 3.2 million square feet of space, Mandalay Bay's 1.7 million gross square feet of meeting space, and more than 1.8 million square feet of combined meeting and event space at the Sands Expo and Convention Center and The Venetian Congress facility.

The Las Vegas Convention Center is centrally located, with convenient access to more than 150,000 hotel rooms and is in close proximity to McCarran International Airport, the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) is one of the largest convention centers in America and is host to some of the largest conventions and trade shows each year, including the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).


The Mandalay Bay Convention Center opened its doors as the fifth-largest convention facility in the United States. The center features the largest pillar less hotel ballroom in the country at 100,000 square feet. The center has booked numerous large shows, including Licensing Expo, which hosts attendees from more than 90 countries; and JCK Las Vegas, a premier jewelry show and one of the largest conventions in the U.S. Mandalay Bay recently added Hospitality Design Expo and Interbike Expo to the impressive list of conventions. 

The Sands Expo and Convention Center and The Venetian Congress Facility form the ultimate meeting, incentive-travel, convention or exposition destination with over 1.8 million square feet of combined meeting and event space - more than the cities of San Francisco, San Diego and Phoenix combined. 

Many of the Strip and off-Strip resorts feature a wide variety of meeting and event space. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's online meetings and facilities guide is an excellent tool to discover the right place for your meetings and events. Click here

WHAT’S NEW THIS YEAR

One of the most fascinating aspects of Las Vegas is that it's a city that's constantly changing. The excitement of continuous re-invention and rapid growth has helped Las Vegas to achieve popularity, resulting in 38.9 million annual visitors. This year, visitors will see and experience more in Las Vegas than ever before. Here are some highlights of what has already changed this year and what is about to come.

REFRESHED RESORTS

The recently completed MGM Grand $160 million remodel includes all 3,570 guest rooms and 642 suites in the hotel's main tower. The newly remodeled rooms and suites incorporate environmentally responsible elements including LED lighting, improved thermostats and solar shades to better manage temperature and guest comfort.

MGM Grand

MGM Grand refreshed ballroom space MGM Grand updated ballroom

The Tropicana Las Vegas has completed a $165 million Phase I transformation, and it was much needed. The property features all new rooms and suites, all new amenities, restaurants, bars, entertainment and nightlife options reminiscent of South Beach with an island vibe. The four-acre pool area has become a tropical beach resort and the casino has added a new poker room and race and sports book. The conference center transformation is complete with more than 100,000 square feet of versatile meeting space to accommodate up to 3,000 people.

Tropicana Suite Tropicana Suite

Flamingo Las Vegas has refurbished 2,307 hotel rooms transforming the resort's standard rooms into stylish and contemporary accommodations. The all-new FAB rooms are on sale now for guest arrivals. Five hundred rooms will be available in the first phase with plans to complete approximately 100 rooms every 11 days. Completion of the FAB rooms is planned for late 2012 and will conclude the final phase of standard room upgrades, adding to the award-winning Flamingo GO rooms’ build-out, which began in 2006 with 1,032 rooms and suites.

The Octavius Tower, the sixth hotel tower at Caesars Palace, opened earlier this year, adding 668 rooms to the property. Guests staying in the Octavius Tower have a private entrance, separate hotel lobby, direct access to the Garden of the Gods pool oasis and an innovative in-room media hub. 

Bellagio

Bellagio has completed the remodel of all 2,568 rooms in its main tower, offering guests a fresh collection of newly redesigned deluxe accommodations. The new rooms reflect an updated, elegant feel pairing modern conveniences with the warmth of home. The remodel totaled approximately $70 million. 

LUXURY STAYS

Las Vegas' array of accommodations and amenities offers something for nearly every taste, including visitors seeking a luxurious experience, both in and out of the casino. In fact, in the last several years, Las Vegas has established its place among the ranks of the world's most plush destinations. While it would be impossible to list all the city offers, below is just a taste of what's available when money is no object. We have to tease just a bit.

At Wynn Las Vegas, the attention to detail in service and amenities is evidenced by the fact that Wynn is the only casino resort in the world to have the Mobil Five Star and AAA Five Diamond rating. From designer-name shopping such as Oscar de la Renta and Manolo Blahnik, to an 18-hole private golf course and onsite Ferrari-Maserati dealership, the property is a luxury lover's dream come true. Guests can sample award-winning fine dining or partake in an evening of entertainment at Le Rêve - The Dream. For those craving the ultimate in luxury, the VIP Indulgence Package at Le Rêve - The Dream offers an evening of extravagance with Perrier-Jouet champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, generously scaled lounge seating and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the show. 

The Palazzo Las Vegas The Palazzo

The Palazzo is designed with the affluent traveler in mind. Every room in The Palazzo Las Vegas is a suite featuring a sunken living room, luxurious Egyptian linens from Anichini, and remote-controlled Roman shades and curtains with first-of-its-kind "touch control" technology. Anchored by a flagship, 85,000-square-foot Barneys New York, The Shoppes at The Palazzo have more than 60 luxury boutiques and even a Lamborghini showroom. The Chairman Suite, at sister property The Venetian, is considered the property's crème de la crème at 8,500 square feet. Upon entry, guests step onto a black Java stone floor, inset with semi-precious stones. The bathroom sink is made from onyx with all plumbing fixtures made from platinum. The suite also includes a living room, dining room, media room, two master bedrooms, two additional bedrooms and a workout room, complete with a dry sauna and steam room.

Meanwhile, at MGM Grand, Skylofts are not only considered luxurious, but come with a staff to prove it. Ranging in size from 1,400 to 6,000 square feet, Skylofts offer 24-hour butler service designed to indulge guests in the fine art of relaxation. Want to relax to some music? The music butler is specially trained in iPod technology to assist guests with all aspects of SkyLofts' sophisticated music system. Looking for the perfect night's sleep? The dream butler provides a unique selection of pillows, herbal teas and calming music to send you to the Land of Nod. Want to turn your hotel room into a spa? The spa butler prepares a selection of fragrant bath oils and salts, candlelight, aromatherapy and mood lighting for the perfect experience. SkyLofts stays also include the use of a personal Maybach and driver for any transportation need. Guests at MGM Grand can experience the ultimate in luxury dining at Joël Robuchon at The Mansion, an upscale, award-winning French restaurant. Among its accolades is the designation of being the only Michelin Three-Star recipient - the prestigious Michelin Guide's highest ranking - in Las Vegas.

At Caesars Palace, the Villa and Forum Penthouse Suites are decadent spaces that can either be split into two or four separate suites, or combined all into one resulting in one 45,000-square-foot suite with 14 bedrooms, eight bathrooms and unique amenities such as a private cigar bar, billiards room and full fitness studio. High-tech toys are found throughout the suites as well, such as heated bathroom floors and toilet seats, and laser Karaoke machines.

MGM Resorts International has opened the single largest private investment in U.S. history - CityCenter. The 67-acre development includes ARIA, a 61-story, 4004-room gaming resort; two luxury non-gaming hotels including Las Vegas' first Mandarin Oriental and Vdara Hotel; Veer Towers, the development's only strictly residential buildings; and Crystals, a 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment district. 

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas The Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened on the Strip directly between CityCenter and Bellagio. The 2,995-room resort features oversized residential-style living spaces with expansive, one-of-a-kind private terraces. The Cosmopolitan's luxurious resort amenities include a 100,000-square-foot casino; Sahra Spa & Hammam; three unique pool experiences; Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan, a multi-level integrated nightclub; and 150,000 square feet of state-of-the-art convention and meeting space. The resort also offers an eclectic lineup of new-to-market retailers and signature restaurants.

ENTERTAINMENT

There's a good reason why Las Vegas is called the "Entertainment Capital of the World." Since its Rat Pack days, Las Vegas has been inextricably associated with legendary shows and entertainers. Say "Las Vegas" and it's likely that showgirls in elaborate headdresses and Elvis impersonators will come to mind.

Today, the Las Vegas entertainment scene still has plenty of its classic glamour, but it has evolved to include so much more. In addition to the iconic Las Vegas entertainment staples, the destination offers a lineup of award-winning magicians, Broadway-caliber productions, world-renowned concert headliners and unique-to-Las Vegas production shows.

Mystere by Cirque du Soleil at TI Mystere by Cirque du Soleil at Treasure Island TI

The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil have joined forces to create touring and permanent shows based on the music and songs of Michael Jackson. Special lifestyle projects, including a Las Vegas nightclub, will also be developed. The show will have a permanent home in Las Vegas and will open in 2013 at Mandalay Bay. Zarkana, the surreal acrobatic spectacle by Cirque du Soleil, will open at ARIA Resort & Casino with previews starting in October and an official opening slated for November. The production will take up residency at ARIA after Viva ELVIS ends its run in August.

Zarkana Launch Party Zarkana premiere party at ARIA Resort and Casino November, 2012 
(Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Cirque du Soleil) 2012 Getty Images

For the first time in six years, the Fountains at Bellagio will perform new numbers. Beginning this month, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by The Beatles, "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson and "In the Mood" by Glenn Miller will be inserted into the rotation.

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is a public/private partnership that is the centerpiece of cultural life in Las Vegas offering a blend of performances by resident companies as well as first-run touring attractions. The 4.75-acre cultural complex features inviting lobbies with beautiful balconies, refined acoustics and a tastefully landscaped plaza linking surrounding hotels, restaurants, shops and offices in Downtown's 61-acre urban development, Symphony Park. Home to the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall and the Boman Pavilion, The Smith Center is a living room for Las Vegas; a place that educates, entertains and excites the citizens of the community. The center broke ground in May of 2009 with a ceremonial carillon bell casting and ringing. In February 2010, it celebrated its "Topping Out" with the raising of 50 tons of steel and opened in March 2012.

NIGHTCLUBS

The nightclub scene in Las Vegas is an ever changing landscape. The hippest club today may be replaced by an even more extravagant concept during your next visit. Most clubs allow for private events, some you can lease out during the day offering your attendees a unique experience.   

The Las Vegas outpost of the unique Manhattan hot spot, 1 OAK, has opened its 16,000-square-foot venue at The Mirage Hotel & Casino. Sharing more than just similarities in design with its New York counterpart, 1 OAK Las Vegas hosts the hottest stars, DJs, athletes and musicians, including Katy Perry, Fergie and husband Josh Duhamel, Kanye West, Jessica Alba, Ashton Kutcher, Rachel Zoe, Laidback Luke, Dr. Dre, Pitbull, Adam Levine, David Arquette, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Lenny Kravitz, Diddy and John Legend. 1 OAK Nightclub at The Mirage presents weekly events in Las Vegas, including its Saturday night "I Love New York" party and its Industry Party "One-of-a-Kind Tuesdays," attracting a mix of locals and world-class travelers alike.

HAZE HAZE

HAZE at ARIA Resort & Casino is a colossal, cutting-edge space in which guests are challenged to question their sense of perception and reality. The nightclub features large hanging props over the entryway that draws guests to a grand staircase transporting them to the mezzanine level. The main dance floor peers up at a wall of interactive projection screens stretching 100 feet across on a performance structure where impromptu acts by world-renowned artists regularly take place. HAZE also includes a unique two-story wall of lights incorporating the latest in technology coupled with a one-of-a-kind sound system.

Gallery Night Club Planet Hollywood's Gallery Nightclub

Planet Hollywood's Gallery Nightclub is filled with oversized frames that adorn the walls, showcasing original photography depicting voyeuristic imagery; Gallery creates a playfully sexy backdrop for guests. Designed by burgeoning talent Amy Kim of AK Design NETWORK, the 20,000-square-foot space fuses vintage, Gothic design with contemporary touches. The Main Room is the center of attention with a sprawling dance floor, two bars and an elevated DJ booth. State-of-the-art sound and lighting blanket every room of Gallery, where renowned DJs spin a mix of house, mash-ups, hip-hop and top 40. The club is available for corporate events.

Chateau Nighclub at Paris Las Vegas Chateau Nightclub and Gardens at Paris Las Vegas

Chateau Nightclub & Gardens at Paris Las Vegas. Spanning more than 45,000 square feet and two-stories, the high-energy nightclub and Parisian gardens brings a new dimension to Vegas nightlife with its premium center-Strip location, breathtaking terraces and lavish decor. Chateau offers three separate experiences including a high-energy nightclub; Strip-side Chateau Terrace, a 10,000-square-foot balcony; and Chateau Gardens. The gardens offer a full nightclub experience under the stars with a rooftop dance floor, four bars, high-energy lighting, a DJ booth, VIP seating and an eight-foot-tall glass wall encircling the rooftop displaying panoramic views from high above the Vegas skyline.

GREEN INITIATIVES

In recent years, Las Vegas resorts have turned their attention and focused their efforts on becoming more environmentally conscious. From energy efficiency and water conservation to recycling and implementing greener practices, Las Vegas is doing its part to contribute to the sustainability of the planet. 

But it isn't just the resort community "going green." Las Vegas restaurants, convention centers, transportation companies, wedding planners and several other local businesses are supporting green initiatives and making substantial changes in the way they operate.

Several Las Vegas projects have even achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The process includes independent, third-party verification that a development's design, construction and performance meet accepted high standards for environmentally responsible, sustainable development. Only 3 percent of all U.S. building projects qualify for the certified, silver, gold or platinum designations. 

Here are just a few examples of how Las Vegas is "going green":

CityCenter (Mandarin Oriental, ARIA, Vdara, Crystals, Veer Towers) has achieved Gold LEED certification for ARIA Resort & Casino's hotel tower, convention center and theater, Vdara Hotel & Spa, Mandarin Oriental, Veer Towers and Crystals. This marks the highest LEED achievement of any hotel, retail district or residential development in Las Vegas. It is also the world's largest private green development. The Forest Stewardship Council - U.S. honored CityCenter as the best commercial project of 2009 with FSC awards.

+LBS: A Burger Joint (Red Rock Resort) offers fresh, non-frozen or pre-packaged, all-natural veggie burgers with more than 26 farm-fresh ingredients. Premier Meat Company supplies LBS with meat from naturally raised cattle without any growth hormones, antibiotics or chemicals. The cooking oil is recycled into bio diesel fuel via the waste deposit company, RENU that processes approximately 150 gallons of cooking oil into diesel per month. LBS is also one of the only restaurants in Las Vegas to use Heinz Organic Ketchup on the table top.

Las Vegas Monorail offers an electric, zero-emissions transportation system as an alternative to automobiles and mass transit. In 2009, visitors who rode the monorail aided in the removal of an estimated 2.7 million vehicle miles from Southern Nevada's major roadways, reducing emissions by more than 48 tons of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides over the course of the year.

SHOPPING

If you want it, Vegas has it. From designer splurges to bargain deals, Las Vegas has become a one-stop shopping mecca. Everything from premium outlets to haute couture boutiques can be found in retail centers along the Las Vegas Strip and surrounding areas. Only in Las Vegas will you find daily live fashion shows on an 80-foot runway, gondolas that whisk you to fine boutiques, and an assortment of free shows to entertain you while you rest your feet. For a complete listing of shopping venues, go to www.LasVegas.com.

STRIP SHOPPING

Enter any casino resort and you'll discover amazing shopping opportunities around every corner. Of notable interest, you won't want to miss The Forum Shops at Caesars, which opened in 1992 with more than 526,000 square feet of retail space. In 2004, a $139 million expansion debuted, adding 175,000 square feet and, for the first time in Las Vegas, boutiques such as Harry Winston, Ted Baker, Thomas Pink, Nanette Lepore and Vosges Haut Chocolats. The expansion increased the grand total of boutiques and shops to approximately 160, plus 13 restaurants and specialty food shops. H&M, Hennes & Mauritz, the international fashion retailer known for offering fashion-forward apparel and quality basics, has continued its expansion in the Las Vegas area by opening the largest H&M location in the world at The Forum Shops at Caesars. Other popular stores include Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton, Escada, Gucci, Guess, Christian Dior, NikeTown, Fendi, Polo/Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss, as well as restaurants such as Wolfgang Puck's Spago, Joe's Stone Crab, Il Mulino, Sushi Roku and Boa Steakhouse. 

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a unique luxury resort offering a decidedly different perspective, situated in the heart of the Strip. The resort features an eclectic lineup of new-to-market retailers including AllSaints Spitalfields, Beckley, CRSVR Sneaker Boutique, DNA2050, Droog, Molly Brown's Swimwear, Retrospecs & Co, Skins 6|2 Cosmetics and STITCHED.

Crystals, the 500,000-square-foot retail and dining district at CityCenter, showcases an array of exclusive retailers and dining establishments. Luxury retailers include Prada, Christian Dior, Bulgari, Carolina Herrera, Hermes, Roberto Cavalli, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arples, and Versace. Unique-to-market retailers opening their first locations in Las Vegas include Tom Ford, Assouline, Kiton, Miu Miu, Paul Smith and Porsche Design. 

Esplanade at the Encore and Wynn Esplanade at the Encore and Wynn

The Esplanade at Encore consists of a selection of 11 boutiques. The edgy Rock & Republic, the distinguished Hermès and the eternally classic CHANEL anchor an array of clothing, shoe, jewelry, home décor and accessory stores. The Rock & Republic store is the designer's first venture as a retail boutique. 

Anchored by a flagship, 85,000-square-foot Barneys New York, The Shoppes at The Palazzo offers more than 60 luxury boutiques. In addition to Barneys New York, 20 remarkable stores and luxury brands have made their Las Vegas debuts at The Palazzo. They include Chloe, Tory Burch, Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, Van Cleef & Arpels, Catherine Malandrino, Anya Hindmarch, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Jimmy Choo, Piaget, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Fendi, Bottega Veneta and Montblanc to present one of the most upscale retail destinations under one roof in the United States. 

Grand Canal Shoppes The Grand Canal Shoppes

Cobblestone walkways line The Grand Canal Shoppes - 500,000 square feet of unique retail space within The Venetian. This indoor shopping area features an authentic reproduction of Venice's Grand Canal (complete with gondolas) and a replica of St. Mark's Square, which serves as the centerpiece of the mall area. Among the more than 80 shops, restaurants and attractions are Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Davidoff, In Celebration of Golf and Mikimoto, as well as restaurants such as the Delmonico Steakhouse, Lutèce and Pinot Brasserie. 

In April 2005, the much anticipated opening of Wynn Las Vegas brought one of the more high-end shopping experiences to the Las Vegas Strip. Wynn Esplanade features the first Oscar de la Renta boutique fashion store and the first Jean Paul Gaultier designer store in the country. Among the big-name shops in the Wynn Esplanade are Manolo Blahnik, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. Also among the top brands is the Penske-Wynn showroom, home to the hotel's Ferrari-Maserati dealership.

Fashion Show Mall The Fashion Show mall

The Fashion Show mall encompasses nearly 2 million square feet, making it the largest shopping venue on the Las Vegas Strip. The Fashion Show offers an exceptional lineup of anchor stores, with Neiman-Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's Home, Macy's, Dillard's, Forever 21 and Nordstrom, and more than 250 shops and boutiques. Dine at El Segundo, Maggiano's Little Italy, RA Sushi, The Capital Grille, California Pizza Kitchen, Stripburger, Johnny Rockets, NM Café and Nordstrom's Marketplace Café. In keeping with its name, Fashion Show includes an elevated runway for staging events such as fashion shows and special promotions. Finally, in the front is "The Cloud," a 128-foot-high multimedia platform that shades the center's Stripfront, 72,000-square-foot outdoor plaza. 

OFF-STRIP SHOPPING

With 150 designer and name-brand outlet stores offering savings of 25 to 65 percent every day, Las Vegas Premium Outlets North has an attractive and impressive list of stores such as: A|X Armani Exchange, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Tahari, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren, St. John, Theory, and many more. 

The District at Green Valley Ranch is one of the more unique shopping experiences in Las Vegas, with more than 40 shops and restaurants situated along a tree-lined street adjacent to Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa. The anchors at The District include Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Sharper Image, with other stores being firsts to Las Vegas, such as REI, Coldwater Creek and Anthropologie. The District features cobblestone sidewalks, park benches and even pet-friendly areas.

Town Square Las Vegas Town Square Las Vegas

Explore Town Square Las Vegas, a shopping dining and entertainment destination located on the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard. With more than 150 retail stores and 12 restaurants, Town Square Las Vegas is an open-air center featuring 22 buildings detailing a collage of Old World and contemporary architectural styles, along with pedestrian-friendly streets and lushly landscaped walkways. The 1.5 million-square-foot center is an indoor and outdoor shopper's paradise offering Rave Motion Pictures, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand Jeans, bebe and more. 

Ready to host your meeting or event in Las Vegas? Visit the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority here. http://www.lvcva.com.

- Al Wynant

See more pictures on our Facebook page or Pinterest.

Resource: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
Photographs courtesy of the Las 
Convention and Visitors Authority and respective properties unless otherwise noted