The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) brought a taste of the gambling capital of the world to Vancouver nightclub Twelve West last night. More than 100 agents gathered for a spirited evening of cocktails and contests for a huge collection of prizes from the long list of partners at the event. Prizes ranged from rubber chickens and whoopee cushions (the “zonks” in the “Let’s Make a Deal” game) to airfare from WestJet and Air Canada and stays at some of the top hotels on the Vegas Strip.
The LVCVA reps were ready to celebrate, with Afra Davis, the LVCVA's account manager for Western Canada, announcing a record 41.1 million people visited Las Vegas last year, topping the previous high of 39.7 million in 2012. She said the city is on track to break that record again in 2015.
“Without you guys, we wouldn’t be breaking records,” she told the crowd.
Canada remains the top source of international visitors for Las Vegas, with more than 1.9 million Canadian visitors arriving in the city in 2014.
PAXnewsWest.com was on hand to get the latest updates from the Las Vegas tourism partners at the show. Here are some key highlights of what’s new in Sin City.
Air Canada is offering an early booking discount of $150 per family plus up to two free days of car rentals on Las Vegas vacation packages booked by Oct. 31. The current travel agent groups incentive allows agents to earn up to four free air seats for bookings made by Nov. 30. Marigold Frontuna, regional sales manager – Western Canada, told PAXnewsWest.com that Las Vegas is an ideal destination for groups, since members who live in different gateways can fly non-stop from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
WestJet will launch twice-weekly service to Las Vegas from Abbotsford on Oct. 29. The airline already offers more than 80 flights per week from nine Canadian cities – Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal – and is the top carrier of international flights to McCarran International Airport, bringing in nearly a third of all international passengers.
Caesars Entertainment Group has two new hotels: The Cromwell, the Strip’s only boutique hotel, with 188 rooms and suites, and the LINQ Hotel and Casino, with 2,256 rooms and suites. The company’s High Roller, which opened in 2014, is the largest observation wheel in the world. “Everything in Las Vegas has to be the biggest and the tallest,” said Sandra Cornish, regional sales manager.
SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino is the newest hotel on the Strip. It’s in the location of the old Sahara Hotel and Casino, which was completely gutted to create a “lifestyle hotel that happens to have a casino,” Kelly Brady, senior leisure sales manager tour and travel, told PAXnewsWest.com. “We did a lot more than the carpet and a bedskirt,” she said, adding that older guests say they feel younger after a stay at the property, while younger guests say they feel a sense of sophistication. Brady said the property does not charge a resort fee for Canadian guests.
MGM Resorts international has recently completed room refreshes at its New York-New York and Circus Circus properties.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas completed the renovation of its Center Bar in September.
Dani Burris, director of sales for Boyd Gaming, told PAXnewsWest.com that the company has just completed $24.5 in renovations to update rooms at The Orleans Hotel and Casino and the entire property at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino. The company’s Suncoast Hotel and Casino said that property has just completed a refresh on its meeting space.
Cirque du Soleil currently has eight shows running in Las Vegas, including the hugely popular Michael Jackson One. Jacob Lloyd Kimbro, director of sales, told PAXnewsWest.com that a multi-million-dollar refresh is in the works for 2016.
Maverick Aviation Group recently completed a $2 million upgrade of its ground transportation, now exclusively using limo coaches so guests can walk in and sit down rather than do the “limo scoot,” Dan Flores, sales manager, said. The company has also recently expanded to Hawaii with a new Maverick Helicopters operation in Maui.
Papillon Group has launched a new airplane and ATV tour to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The more secluded area is “what the Grand Canyon is supposed to be,” said Sherwin Mercado, corporate sales and marketing.
A Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas has several new packages, including a wedding collection with Papillon Helicopters and wedding ceremonies on the High Roller observation wheel.
Chapel of the Flowers offers agents 15–25 per cent commissions on wedding package bookings at the chapel or at Tropicana LV Weddings.
Updates from the LVCVA
Las Vegas currently has approximately 150,000 hotel rooms, with average citywide occupancy rates of 86.8 per cent, 93 per cent on weekends. The destination hosted more than 22,000 meetings in 2014 in its 11 million square feet of meeting space. The $70 million Mandalay Bay Convention Center expansion, slated to open in January, will bring the facility to more than two million total square feet of meeting space and more than 900,000 square feet of exhibit space, making it the number-five space in North America for both total square feet and exhibit space.
The new $2.4 billion Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport provides seven dedicated gates and can process up to 2,000 international passengers per hour.
Travel Nevada, also represented at the event, welcomed 53.4 million visitors across the state in 2014, an increase of 2.6 per cent over the previous year.
The LVCVA Western Canada sales mission heads to Victoria tonight and Calgary on Thursday. Other partners participating in the show include The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Exotics Racing, Gray Line Las Vegas, Machine Guns Vegas, Miracle Miles Shops, Pink Jeep Tours, Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, South Point Hotel and Stratosphere Las Vegas.
Learn more at LVCVA.com and VegasMeansBusiness.com.
Photo: For the LVCVA: Marsha Mowers, director, public relations, Connect Worldwide Canada; Afra Davis, account manager – Western Canada; Kelly Sawyer, sales executive, international sales; Charmaine Singh, account director.