Nevada: The meetings landscape

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The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has unveiled plans for an upgrade to the Las Vegas Convention Center as part of a US$150m investment in the Las Vegas Global Business District, which is expected to host 44m visitors and 7m delegates annually over the next 10 years. This will be the first major expansion of the 54-year-old centre in a decade. 

“Las Vegas is known for defining moments that change the hospitality industry, and this project will be the next,” said bureau President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter.

For the past 18 consecutive years, Trade Show News Network has ranked Las Vegas as the number one convention destination in North America, however there is a lot more to Nevada than the Las Vegas strip.

Reno Tahoe offers planners some large meeting facilities; its Reno-Sparks Convention Center consists of 93,000sqm of meeting space and the city has 15,000 convention hotel rooms.
Reno Tahoe properties have recently invested over US$500m with a large portion going toward meetings technology as well as meetings and hotel room renovations and expansions.

Hotel rooms are currently experiencing average rates 30 per cent less than competing destinations, and throughout Reno Tahoe you can get a gallon of coffee for under $40, the  Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority says.

The authority manages the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno Events Center, Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center, the National Bowling Stadium and Wildcreek Golf Course, attracting a range of conventions and sporting events, while relaxed labour rules keep costs 20 per cent lower than the national average. Working with the authority presents opportunities for an association-wide golf tournament, or a private concert in the 6,000-seat Reno Events Center.

Reno-Tahoe International Airport was recently named the second-most efficient airport in the US and Canada with 110 daily flights to 17 non-stop destinations, and has completed a $26m project to improve its baggage and check-in systems.

USA TODAY readers in 2012 voted Lake Tahoe America’s Best Lake, and its shores are less than an hour away from the city centre. Eighteen ski resorts and 50 golf courses are less than 90 minutes away as well.

In the Reno area, everything is a 10-minute drive away; from the Truckee River White Water Park and the Riverwalk district, to the home of the AAA baseball team’s Reno Aces, and the shopping districts of Sparks and south Reno.

Local bars and casinos keep things interesting 24-hours a day for delegates’ break out time.

Reno Tahoe has many projects in the works. Silver Legacy Resort Casino has $6m worth of renovations planned for 2013 and is under new ownership, the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino continues its $25m renovation. It is one of the largest convention centre resorts in the US, with 18,000sqm of meeting space and will soon be experiencing its share of the renovation.

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino has completed a $20m renovation of its bedrooms and conference centre. A $500,000 upgrade of its meeting space was completed at the end of 2011.

Venturing further into the Nevada desert might offer intrepid organisers a fresh meetings perspective with plenty of natural daylight for sure.

This was first published in issue 72 of CMW. Any comments? Email cmw@mashmedia.net

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