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CAESARS FORUM Prefunction Skybridge Entrance
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CAESARS FORUM Makes a Spectacular Debut

by Jeanne Brei

Michael Massari CaesarsMichael Massari (pictured right), chief sales officer for Caesars Entertainment and co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, is bullish on Las Vegas, Caesars Palace and the future of the live events, meetings and tradeshow industries. Which is fortunate because Caesars Entertainment just spent $375 million building the breathtakingly beautiful new CAESARS FORUM conference center at the end of the Linq Promenade—with direct access (via air-conditioned skybridge and the Promenade) to 8,500 hotel rooms (Harrahs, the Linq, and the Flamingo)—and within easy walking distance of eight of Caesars Entertainment’s Las Vegas properties, which provides accessibility to 20,000 rooms. It was originally slated to open last year in March, but was delayed by the lockdowns until Oct. 25 when it hosted the 2020 ConferenceDirect Annual Partner Meeting.

CAESARS FORUM Forum Plaza RoundsMassari says Caesars Palace has “always been in the tradeshow business”—even in the ‘60s they were prepared for groups up to 5,000. They’ve expanded frequently over the years and currently Caesars Palace has 300,000 sq.ft. of convention space in addition to the 500,000 sq.ft. at CAESARS FORUM. Massari says they usually have about 60 percent corporate usage, 20 percent associations and 20 percent trade and says that it would be difficult to fill Harrahs, the Linq and the Flamingo hotels with just gaming and leisure travelers, so they built the FORUM to bring more business travelers to help fill those hotels. They are also positioned to take the overflow from shows such as CES, the Shot Show and HIMSS as those shows and others outgrow the Venetian (formerly) Sands Expo.

CAESARS FORUM Skybridge Entrance Escalator Overview
CAESARS FORUM Skybridge Entrance

When asked why they chose to use the same name as the Forum Shops, Massari explains that in Rome, “forum” is the center of business and culture and democracy for the Empire. It’s where all commerce was done, so naturally that had to be the name for the conference center.

CAESARS FORUM Summit Ballroom
CAESARS FORUM Summit Ballroom

One of the advantages of being in the live meetings industry for so many years and having built conference areas before, is that Caesars knew just what they wanted and what pitfalls to avoid. They began by building the two largest pillarless ballrooms in the world—the 110,000-sq.ft., pillarless Forum and Summit ballrooms which can be reconfigured into more than 100 separate breakout rooms. The FORUM also features the Academy and Alliance ballrooms, with 40,000 sq.ft. each and six boardrooms that are 1,250 sq.ft. each, with natural light and walls of succulents and rock displays. The building can hold groups up to 10,000 people.

CAESARS FORUM PrefunctionYou can tell that meeting planners were consulted in the design as the airwalls allow for countless configurations and flexibility, it was built all on one level with two loading docks, making it easy to set up and tear down meetings, and it’s “connected” to the outside. Massari explains, “People learn better in a natural environment, so we used a biophilic design with lots of natural light and natural elements.”

CAESARS FORUM Accord Executive Boardroom
CAESARS FORUM Accord Exec. Boardroom

Biophilia, the concept that nature in design provides health benefits to building users, is evident throughout the beautiful FORUM. When walking into the building, an attendee immediately notices an abundance of nature-inspired art and photography—there are flocks of “birds” hanging from the ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows along the hallway and windowed garage walls that open up to the 100,000-sq.ft. outdoor plaza. There are living walls, succulent displays in the boardrooms and plants everywhere. The carpets in each of the large ballrooms represent a different season and the lighting fixtures are simply spectacular. The biophilic design is proven to boost attendee productivity and after achieving that goal, Caesars took it even further.

Blue Nano air equipIn addition to being LEED Silver certified and offering the latest in technology, a modern design, natural light and a neutral palette, Caesars also partnered with air quality specialists Blue Nano Solutions to install air quality monitors. Blue Nano showcased their technology at MPI WEC at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas and continuously monitored and then adjusted temperature, humidity levels as well as room ventilation and exchange.

Sam Stanton Blue NanoSam Stanton (pictured left), founder and managing partner of Texas-based Blue Nano Solutions, explains, “We were there to educate and inform people and give them a behind-the-scenes view of the way a venue operates and how an event can deliver the highest duty of care possible.” He adds, “People go to tradeshows and conferences to interact, learn new things and be with others in their industry. Poor air quality affects all of that. Imagine a group of people entering a room for an education session or meeting. When they enter, the CO2 levels are optimum, but quickly degrade as all of those people begin to exhale into an enclosed space. As CO2 levels rise you get sleepy, get headaches and lose focus—not a state tradeshow experts designed or desired. So, using our data, you open the doors, you turn on air exchangers, you refresh the air!” That causes the CO2, particulate matter and VOC levels to drop immediately so that event participants perk up, thanks to the building’s engineers making a few guided adjustments to the systems.

CAESARS FORUM Forum Ballroom Theater
CAESARS FORUM Forum Ballroom Theater

Caesars’ attention to details like these also extends to the Encore Event Technologies technical staff’s flawless execution of their duties—when they say the building is state-of-the-art technology, not only is the building wired for optimum performance but they also have the best production people running lights, sound and video. And this level of perfection also extended to the fine-dining-quality meals served by their catering department at both MPI’s WEC and Cvent’s conferences. At The Forum, kitchens are right behind the ballroom, so things can be cooked like in a restaurant. Both the food and presentation were fine-dining quality. Caesars staff are truly the best of the best.

Massari admits the last 18 months have been extremely difficult—Caesars had to furlough nearly all of its banquet and convention services employees (going from 1,500 down to 21 nationwide) but he looks at the silver lining as they’ve been able to recall nearly all of their highly valued employees as live meetings resume. But there’s no return to the “old normal.” Companies and staff had a crash course in Zoom as technology advanced several years in a matter of months in 2020. Going forward, most meetings will want the state-of-the-art technology that CAESARS FORUM provides as virtual meetings become hybrid meetings. As Massari says, “Hybrid expands the tent. It connects people to the meeting even if they can’t be there. They all want to go and hybrid fills that desire. It’s good for everybody.”

Rajeev Aggarwal CventAs Cvent’s CEO Rajeev Aggarwal (pictured left) said in his keynote at CAESARS FORUM, one association that always had 12,000 attendees at its annual meeting, found itself with 120,000 virtual attendees in 2020. A tenfold increase! While most people still want to be face to face and attend the meeting in person, it’s leaving money on the table to not have future meetings be hybrid.

For those who can attend in person, however, CAESARS FORUM is a fantastic addition to the Las Vegas caesars forum ccconvention scene. From the breathtaking 104-by-26-ft. LG LED wraparound wall (pictured right) at the FORUM’s entrance that can be customized for each show to the enhanced feeling of wellness from being in a space where biophilic design, monitored air and high-quality healthy food are all about the guests’ comfort and optimal CAESARS FORUM Exteriorexperience, CAESARS FORUM will make attendees want to leave home and experience such care as they network, learn and enjoy their meetings.

Caesars website says it best: “What began as a grand casino honoring the indulgent luxuries of ancient Rome has somehow evolved into something even more spectacular. Caesars Palace is renowned for impeccable service and attention to detail, and meeting planners can rightly expect the same. In fact, the only thing that can ever surpass our commitment to provide an extraordinary experience for your guests is our commitment to make planning it simple and effortless for you.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Hail Caesars!

This story originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. 2021 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 28. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_sept-oct_2021

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