With 60 events organized to illustrate the value of meetings and conventions, the inaugural North American Meetings Industry Day (NAMID) united meeting professionals across the continent on April 16.
Those celebrating the day within Las Vegas witnessed Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly’s proclamation of what will now become an annual multi-city event, inspired by Meeting Professionals International’s Canadian National Meetings Industry Day. The Las Vegas NAMID rally took place at Caesars Entertainment’s LINQ promenade.
“Not only does the meetings and events industry bring people together for collaboration in an unsurpassable way, but it creates the additional aspects of professional, business and societal benefits,” stated David DuBois, president, International Association of Exhibitions & Events.
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is known for working with city leaders representing various industries to promote Southern Nevada’s meeting, tradeshow and convention industry. The first NAMID was no different. The Authority, its hotel partners and Meetings Mean Business – a coalition advocating the meetings industry – collaborated to demonstrate the face-to-face impact of meetings locally and beyond.
“I could sit in my office and do videoconferences nearly anywhere in the world, but because that is so easy, people actually expect you to show up more, to make the effort and demonstrate the respect, to sit across the table and look eye-to-eye. It reflects a commitment to the relationship that you cannot get from sending an email or doing a videoconference,” said Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State.
In Las Vegas, meetings had a $7 billion economic impact and supported 53,000 jobs. Overall, meetings contributed $280 billion to the U.S. economy and provided 1.8 million people with jobs.
“[Meetings have] also proven to be key drivers for securing corporate revenues, winning new customers, closing new deals and developing high-performing talent,” commented Michael Massari, vice president of meeting sales and operations, Caesars Entertainment Corp.
While this sector has flourished, so has Las Vegas. Designated the No. 1 tradeshow destination for 21 years in a row, Las Vegas hosted 60 of 250 of the largest U.S. tradeshows this past year. It also annually hosts 22,000 meetings and conventions, including National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show.
Running in Las Vegas for 25 years, NAB Show experienced a record-breaking 2015 from April 11-16. Attendance topped 100,000, and the show used more than 1 million square feet of the 2 million square-foot exhibit space at Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).
LVCVA staff honored NAB Show for its longevity and its impact on Las Vegas. Lawrence Weekly presented NAB Show Executive Vice President Chris Brown with a symbolic key to the Las Vegas Strip. In turn, Brown showed his appreciation for the city.
“Nobody else can offer the package that Las Vegas can. [NAB] hopes to be here for years to come,” Brown said. “[Las Vegas] checks all the boxes – it draws visitors. It’s close to California. We draw visitors heavily from California. This city has the best hospitality, and people enjoy coming out here.”
Brown explained that he could see NAB Show staying to Las Vegas for the remainder of its show dates, set through 2030, especially if the tradeshow continues benefitting from the guest experience the city provides – entertainment, restaurants, meetings facilities, etc.
Presently, NAB has re-signed with Las Vegas for another three years. This ensures flexibility from a business standpoint, according to Brown.
If NAB Show did sign onto Las Vegas until 2030, it would eventually benefit from the long-term expansion taking LVCC onto the Las Vegas Strip — the Las Vegas Global Business District. Brown added that NAB Show could use the additional space since its show and education sessions are spread between LVCC and neighboring hotels, The Westgate and The Renaissance.
The collaboration between these hotels and LVCC is what the convention industry is about. Facility operators often work together in Las Vegas to hold large-scale events, with International CES being the most obvious example.
Other examples of the meetings industry furthering collaboration spread from Las Vegas to other major cities. Chicago, for example, united 200 meetings industry professionals who represented industry associations and the city’s official destination marketing organization.
“The meeting[s] industry welcomes an average of 3 million attendees to the Chicagoland area annually, generates nearly $5 billion in annual direct economic impact and supports over 133,000 hospitality industry employees,” remarked Don Welsh, CEO, Choose Chicago.
In 2014, Chicago hosted 24 of the largest tradeshows in the U.S. and thousands more meetings.