By Ray Smith, ECN news editor
Oracle is moving its annual OpenWorld technology conference from San Francisco to Las Vegas beginning in 2020, having signed a three-year agreement with Caesars Forum, according to a report from CNBC.
OpenWorld is scheduled for Sept. 19-24, 2020, at Caesars Forum conference center. The annual convention draws about 60,000 business decision-makers, IT management and line-of-business end users. Along with San Francisco, it’s held in New Delhi, India; São Paulo, Brazil; and Shanghai, China.
“Oracle is excited to offer a modern, state-of-the-art experience in Las Vegas for Oracle OpenWorld and Code One attendees in 2020,” the company states on its website. “The city and its vast amenities are tailor-made for hosting large-scale events, and we look forward to bringing the industry’s most comprehensive technology and developer conferences to this premier hospitality destination.”
Caesars Entertainment Corp. started construction in 2018 on a $375 million, 550,000-square-foot conference center to be called Caesars Forum. Completion is scheduled for 2020.
“Consistent with our post restructuring plans, Caesars Forum is the first installment of our growth strategy for the benefit of Las Vegas and our employees which will also help meet the increasing demand for group business meetings of all sizes,” says Mark Frissora, president and CEO of Caesars Entertainment.
The San Francisco Travel Association estimates the move will cost San Francisco $64 million a year. The travel group told members that Oracle cited San Francisco’s high hotel prices and “poor street conditions” around Muscone Center as reasons that attendees were unhappy with the city.
“Oracle stated that their attendee feedback was that San Francisco hotel rates are too high,” the travel group said in an email viewed by CNBC. “Poor street conditions was another reason why they made this difficult decision.”
San Francisco has one of the nation’s highest homeless populations, estimated at nearly 10,000 by federal definition, though some believe the number is underreported. Streets are littered with drug syringes, trash, urine and feces, with many of the homeless sleeping in business alcoves.
According to a survey from Cheaphotels.org, San Francisco is the fourth-most expensive city for hotels, behind Nashville, Boston and San Jose. The average double room at San Francisco’s cheapest hotel with at least three stars was $214 in October, the survey showed.
Las Vegas, with some 150,000 hotel rooms, lies on the other side of the price spectrum. Rooms on the cheaper end range between $50 and $110, though so-called “resort fees” can drive prices north of $200 during high-demand events.
SFTA, a private nonprofit organization that promotes San Francisco tourism, is issuing a cancellation bulletin, covering five days and over 62,000 room nights in October 2020, October 2021 and September 2022.
“The estimated economic impact of each of the above is $64,000,000, a huge loss for our city,” the email said.
Based in Redwood City, Calif., Oracle has deep ties with San Francisco and recently won naming rights for the baseball stadium where the Giants play.
Oracle’s 2019 OpenWorld took place in September at Moscone Center, where the convention has been held for the past two decades. The conference cited high-end hotels for convention attendees such as the Grand Hyatt and Hilton’s Parc 55. Instead, they’ll now relocate to Las Vegas for the 2020 through 2022 conferences.
When completed in 2020, Caesars Forum will offer 300,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including two 108,000 square-foot ballrooms, two 40,000 square-foot ballrooms and state-of-the-art boardrooms; conference space accommodating more than 10,000 attendees; and a 100,000-square-foot outdoor plaza that can be used for cocktail receptions, wellness breaks or serving breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The conference center will have direct access to the LINQ Promenade; Harrah’s Las Vegas; The LINQHotel; and Flamingo Las Vegas hotel, totaling over 8,500 hotel rooms.