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Ken, before Vince comments in depth on the convention aspect, I have seen several reports lately that say weekends in LV are trickling back nicely. Which I assume to be SoCal residents making short getaways.  But that midweek remains pretty much a ghost town, which I attribute to the lack of convention business. Just my novice view while we wait for Vince’s always informative analysis! 

 

 

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It's been a while since I posted a photo from my 2019 Prinsendam Grand South America cruise.  On January 25 we were at sea from Robinson Crusoe Island to Castro, Chile:

 

dawn0125.jpg

 

Roy

 

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It's over a week since I posted a sunrise from my 2018 Crystal 2-ship World Cruise.  On January 26 the Crystal Serenity was at sea from Los Angeles to Maui.

 

dawn0126.jpg

 

We had a bit of ice overnight but there was a thin layer of snow underneath that made cleaning the car off a lot easier.

 

Roy

 

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18 hours ago, BEAV said:

Ken, before Vince comments in depth on the convention aspect, I have seen several reports lately that say weekends in LV are trickling back nicely. Which I assume to be SoCal residents making short getaways.  But that midweek remains pretty much a ghost town, which I attribute to the lack of convention business. Just my novice view while we wait for Vince’s always informative analysis! 

 

 

 

Beav,

 

Yes, that's completely consistent with everything I have read about the current state of LV.  The thing is, if you're trying to keep an eight room BnB afloat, weekends might do the trick.  But those resorts are enormous, multi-part engines of commerce and, much like a cruise ship, I don't think they're built for cruising at 20% of capacity(or in this case, three nights out of seven.)

 

But yes, we must wait for the shaman of event planning to check-in.

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On 1/25/2021 at 10:32 AM, KenzSailing said:

Vince,

 

For a while now I've had a matter of vague curiosity rolling around in my head, and I've realized you're uniquely positioned to shed some light on the matter.

 

Way back in the before time, we had booked a week long vacation for September 2020 in Las Vegas.  For obvious reasons we cancelled it, IIRC, in the May timeframe.

 

In prep for the trip, I purchased a book on LV dining ratings written by a local.  He prefaced the book with some general rules about LV, one of which jumped out at me:

 

"Las Vegas is not a gambling town, Las Vegas is a convention town."

 

Now I think there's a bit of hyperbole in that first clause, but the second is undoubtedly true.  So I've been wondering, as a convention town, when will LV be truly "back"?  My SWAG: four to six years.  Another guess, cruising will be substantially back before convention magnets like LV are.

 

Thoughts?


Ken, I wish I knew...

 

People seldom appreciate the convention aspect of Vegas — it is FAR and away the reason Vegas is the size it is.  Not only does each property have a sizable meetings venue, but the city has a handful of huge convention venues that operate simultaneously with different events going on.  The last on-site event I had a role in pre-pandemic was a 100,000+ person event at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and that doesn’t even touch the convention centers at Mandalay, the Sands, the new Forum, or any of the larger hotel conference centers that all had their own events going on simultaneously.  Those convention hotels also stretch all the way from the (for example) JW Marriott up in Summerlin down to the M Resort and Green Valley Ranch down in Henderson.

 

During the recession in the late-00’s, we saw a huge dip in exhibitor spending and representation at industry trade shows, as they refocused spending on “new, modern” marketing techniques that would supposedly make onsite trade shows obsolete.  Mirroring your estimate, I can’t think of a single major exhibitor that wasn’t back in my client’s events in a significant way within 6 years — reversing their “permanent” change. 
 

Right now I hear the same thing in the press about how wonderful and amazing virtual events are, but loud grumbling from associations and attendees about the complete lack of networking and hands-on experience.  The industry is doing great things with virtual events in a pinch to keep things running, and at least in the short term this will definitely continue even when on-site events CAN be held, but I don’t think virtual events will make live events obsolete anytime soon.

 

This is completely a guess, but I think you’re on the right track.  I expect after the US reaches herd immunity we’ll start to see trade shows and conventions restart en masse, probably jumping from their current niche numbers to something like 50% in terms of the number of events within a few months, compared with 2019.  (Most organizers have been holding off Fall 2021 cancellations for this reason, so far.). From there, I think the recovery will be slower, and attendance will of course be down.  Barring any other major disasters, I think your 4-6 year projection in terms of overall economic contribution of the convention industry is probably on-track.

 

Before anyone throws a flag on my use of the “other disasters” qualifier, in my 22 years in this segment of the industry, the only two events that impacted the industry in the scale I’m referring to, prior to COVID, were 9/11 and the 2008-ish recession.

 

Regarding the cruising comparison, I think both will be dinged similarly for several years.  Cruising may reach 2019 levels faster, but I suspect it’s going to be significantly down for 2-3 years.

 

That’s just how I read the tea leaves, no warranty is conveyed on these prognostications..   But I think you’re spot-on as always.

 

Vince

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5 hours ago, rafinmd said:

We had a bit of ice overnight but there was a thin layer of snow underneath that made cleaning the car off a lot easier.

 


This time we had it the other way around...  We had more rain than snow, and the rain soaked through the snow, superglueing the aerated ice-mess to everything.  😡 Fortunately it stayed warm enough for the roads to remain clear, but taking the trash out for collection at 4am saved me the trouble of actually walking, I pretty much did a Scooby Do flailing slide all the way to the curb.  🙄 

 

Vince

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8 minutes ago, BWIVince said:


This time we had it the other way around...  We had more rain than snow, and the rain soaked through the snow, superglueing the aerated ice-mess to everything.  😡 Fortunately it stayed warm enough for the roads to remain clear, but taking the trash out for collection at 4am saved me the trouble of actually walking, I pretty much did a Scooby Do flailing slide all the way to the curb.  🙄 

 

Vince

We had 15" of snow yesterday..... Still digging out.

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4 hours ago, KenzSailing said:

 

Beav,

 

Yes, that's completely consistent with everything I have read about the current state of LV.  The thing is, if you're trying to keep an eight room BnB afloat, weekends might do the trick.  But those resorts are enormous, multi-part engines of commerce and, much like a cruise ship, I don't think they're built for cruising at 20% of capacity(or in this case, three nights out of seven.)

 

But yes, we must wait for the shaman of event planning to check-in.


Tacking on to my previous message for you and @BEAV, I suspect the real measure of this success is not only looking at occupancy, but daily rates.  
 

Vegas has three kinds of ranges, off-peak nights where you can find double-digit rates at even the nicest resorts because no events are happening in the city, scattered events which cause average occupancy and “normal” rates, and peak nights where you find $350 rates for the low end properties and $550 for the nicer places because conventions have blocks citywide.

 

If hotels are filling some rooms on weekends at bargain rates, that’s at least a partial win because those people will use some services, maybe gamble a little, and buy some kind of food, regardless of how low the rate was.  Most leisure travelers don’t spend as much as a lot of convention-goers though (hotels actually quantify this group spend BY EVENT so they know how much each piece of business is worth), so they’re usually losing money on many fronts when they fill convention properties with transient guests. Definitely better than nothing, but to Ken’s point, may still not pay the bills.

 

Vince

 

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But I think the reason people want to go to conventions in LV is because of the gambling and social life.  I've been there for conventions and while there other talk about what they did after hours and not the convention.

Great for both

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8 minutes ago, ctjon said:

But I think the reason people want to go to conventions in LV is because of the gambling and social life.  I've been there for conventions and while there other talk about what they did after hours and not the convention.

Great for both


No one ever wants to go to a convention just for the convention...  I know I don’t, and I’m one of the people responsible for the actual convention!  😮 There are a variety of factors that go into city selection, but sometimes Vegas is a steady winner, sometimes Vegas is a necessary evil, and sometimes it’s to be avoided at all costs.

 

Not to tick off my friends at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, but Vegas is definitely not a something-for-everyone one-size-fits-all destination when it comes to events.  I’ve had many clients over the years who had Vegas on a rotation or who had multiple events with the same basic attendee base, and for many of them Vegas was one of the weaker cities.  It’s almost never a city that attendees are happy to bring their whole families to, so it’s unpopular in that segment since spouses are never happy being left home with their kids while their other half is in Vegas for a week.  Similarly public sector events do poorly there since no one wants to tell their citizens that they’re going to be in Vegas at a conference on their tax dollars.  (Just ask the GSA.). Vegas is also notorious for gouging citywide convention attendees and organizers to a much higher degree than almost any other city, long a bone of contention during their biggest events.
 

Vince
 

 

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3 hours ago, BWIVince said:


Vegas was one of the weaker cities.  It’s almost never a city that attendees are happy to bring their whole families to, so it’s unpopular in that segment since spouses are never happy being left home with their kids while their other half is in Vegas for a week.  

Vince
 

 

 

Vince,

 

Thanks for your very thoughtful posts.  I shall reply in future in greater detail, but your point above got me to thinking:

 

What are the most successful US internal tourism promotion slogans?  My take, in no particular order:

 

I love New York

Virginia is for lovers

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

 

It just struck me that two of those three revolve around wholesome, wholesome love.  And the third one...doesn't.

 

 

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32 minutes ago, KenzSailing said:

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

A year ago, just before our world was rocked apart, Las Vegas introduced its new slogan:

“What happens here, only happens here.”  Personally, I don't think that will be as memorable as the old one, but time will tell.  Then the virus hit, and I think whatever marketing plans they had around the new slogan were either scrapped or put on hold.

 

I want to thank @BWIVince for the detailed insight into the convention business here and in general. 

 

We moved here in 2007, and remember the 2008 crash very well.  The crash lasted much longer in Las Vegas than in most of the rest of the country.  It did not help to have the President of the United States frequently use Las Vegas as his standard example of where you should not go for conventions.

 

Currently, most of the strip resorts that are open are open only for weekends and at markedly reduced room rates.  They are attracting visitors with this, but for the most part they are visitors with, shall we say, very different spending and lifestyle patterns than the usual mix of visitors.   I generally avoid the Strip even in good times, but from what I hear the ambiance there is very different now.  Hopefully they will be able to eventually get back to where we were before.  I agree with Vince that the recovery will take longer in Las Vegas than in many other parts of the country.

 

 

 

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Today's sunrise is land based but it's from my 2016 Crystal Symphony Antarctica cruise (Buenos Aires to Miami) that started with a round trip pair of Cunard Transatlantics.  I boarded the Symphony January 27 and took a morning walk on Avenue Libertador.

 

 

dawn0127.jpg

 

Roy

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22 hours ago, KenzSailing said:

 

Vince,

 

Thanks for your very thoughtful posts.  I shall reply in future in greater detail, but your point above got me to thinking:

 

What are the most successful US internal tourism promotion slogans?  My take, in no particular order:

 

I love New York

Virginia is for lovers

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

 

It just struck me that two of those three revolve around wholesome, wholesome love.  And the third one...doesn't.

 

Those are definitely the iconic ones that come to my mind...  I'd definitely give those the three most successful state or local CVB slogans.

 

Though neither of these is iconic and are actually a different discussion, I'll add in two campaigns that have inserted themselves in my brain for other reasons.

 

The first is Kentucky's state tourism logo and slogan -- "Unbridled Spirit".  The logo is really clever and impactful, and instantly recognizable after you see it.  The slogan is brilliantly brief, aspirational and associated.  Every time I see it, I take notice.

 

The second isn't an official campaign, but was embraced and shared by the CVB so I'll include it.  "Houston.  It's Worth It."  HIWI turns what's been problematic connotations with Houston in the tourism and events industries on their ear, using quotes and photos from local residents.  The campaign takes the supposed "afflictions" of the city and shows how the city embraces them culturally.  The Houston CVB sent me a copy of the HIWI book as a thank you for attending a familiarization trip years and years ago, and I enjoy the book so much it actually sits on my living room coffee table to this day.

 

Neither of those had anything to do with your question, but I thought it would make entertaining topic drift anyway.  🙂

 

Vince

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23 hours ago, KenzSailing said:

What are the most successful US internal tourism promotion slogans?  My take, in no particular order:

 

I love New York

Virginia is for lovers

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

 

It just struck me that two of those three revolve around wholesome, wholesome love.  And the third one...doesn't.

 

 

Having had no idea what is my state's slogan I went to Google and found it was updated again in 2019 to become

"Find Your True North. #OnlyinMN." So now I know, until they change it again! My tourism plans are more likely to be "Finding My True South. #Often in The Southern Hemisphere for the warmth." I love my state, just not extreme cold.

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1 hour ago, mskatiemae said:

Having had no idea what is my state's slogan I went to Google and found it was updated again in 2019 to become

"Find Your True North. #OnlyinMN." So now I know, until they change it again! My tourism plans are more likely to be "Finding My True South. #Often in The Southern Hemisphere for the warmth." I love my state, just not extreme cold.

 

I live as far north as I wish to ever live again.

 

And a state whose largest metro brags about its skyways, by which you can avoid going outside in the winter?  Been there several time and it's a lovely place, but see you there in July(coincidently a good time to be out of DC.)

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36 minutes ago, KenzSailing said:

 

I live as far north as I wish to ever live again.

 

And a state whose largest metro brags about its skyways, by which you can avoid going outside in the winter?  Been there several time and it's a lovely place, but see you there in July(coincidently a good time to be out of DC.)

Come up in late August and you may get to the famous MN State Fair (they cancelled due to Covid last year).

 

State Fair food is very inventive and anything possible will be sold "on-a-stick". You might get ideas for Chez Ken. How about deep fried candy bar on-a-stick?

 

We use A/C in the summer much of the time to keep humidiity down but it isn't as bad as DC. The "state bird ;)" (aka the mosquito) is bothersome but the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District is usually very good at keeping them under control and are rarely seen in the Twin Cities. The downtown skyways are a good thing year round!

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3 hours ago, BWIVince said:

 

Those are definitely the iconic ones that come to my mind...  I'd definitely give those the three most successful state or local CVB slogans.

 

Though neither of these is iconic and are actually a different discussion, I'll add in two campaigns that have inserted themselves in my brain for other reasons.

 

The first is Kentucky's state tourism logo and slogan -- "Unbridled Spirit".  The logo is really clever and impactful, and instantly recognizable after you see it.  The slogan is brilliantly brief, aspirational and associated.  Every time I see it, I take notice.

 

The second isn't an official campaign, but was embraced and shared by the CVB so I'll include it.  "Houston.  It's Worth It."  HIWI turns what's been problematic connotations with Houston in the tourism and events industries on their ear, using quotes and photos from local residents.  The campaign takes the supposed "afflictions" of the city and shows how the city embraces them culturally.  The Houston CVB sent me a copy of the HIWI book as a thank you for attending a familiarization trip years and years ago, and I enjoy the book so much it actually sits on my living room coffee table to this day.

 

Neither of those had anything to do with your question, but I thought it would make entertaining topic drift anyway.  🙂

 

Vince


I did 13 years hard time in Fresno, the runner up to the armpit of California (Bakersfield) from ‘79 to ‘92. In 1980, Fresno finished last place in some nationwide survey of places to reside. Cold and foggy in winter, blistering heat in summer (and those were the attributes!). To boost the city’s image, their CVB came up with the slogan “Feelin’ GOOD about Fresno”. True confession....I bought one of the bumper stickers and proudly displayed it. Friends still torment me about it to this day. Thankfully, I drive a different car now than I did back then. But I think Fresno became an even greater butt of jokes AFTER the CVB came up with the slogan! 
 

Trivia time: Who always said “It all started in a 30-watt radio station in Fresno, California”? 

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17 minutes ago, mskatiemae said:

Come up in late August and you may get to the famous MN State Fair (they cancelled due to Covid last year).

 

State Fair food is very inventive and anything possible will be sold "on-a-stick". You might get ideas for Chez Ken. How about deep fried candy bar on-a-stick?

 

We use A/C in the summer much of the time to keep humidiity down but it isn't as bad as DC. The "state bird ;)" (aka the mosquito) is bothersome but the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District is usually very good at keeping them under control and are rarely seen in the Twin Cities. The downtown skyways are a good thing year round!


Love this. A former co-worker, now in her 80’s, comes every summer (except 2020, of course) to the Minnesota State Fair and sells jewelry for a guy who rents a booth. Your state fair, along with a gun show in Vegas in December, are his two biggest sales events of the year. 
 

And, Ken, with your fancy air fryer,

I think you need to open a new location of the Chez at the Minnesota State Fair. I can see your wheels turning right now devising what kind of fried delicacy you can come up with to serve on a stick! 

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26 minutes ago, BEAV said:

Trivia time: Who always said “It all started in a 30-watt radio station in Fresno, California”? 

OMG, now we have come full circle!!!

Here is the answer:

https://www.facebook.com/220426855036852/posts/681512012261665/

 

Full confession I did not know this one (asked a friend, the name starts with G) though I was a big fan of the MTM show when I was growing up in Central Pennsylvania. 

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50 minutes ago, mskatiemae said:

 

 

State Fair food is very inventive and anything possible will be sold "on-a-stick". You might get ideas for Chez Ken. How about deep fried candy bar on-a-stick?

 

 

 

I'm from Nebraska. I know all about state fairs, especially those snobs in Iowa and their butter sculptures(oooohhh....)

 

But you've inspired me.  When the Chez goes public, my first course served will be deep fried foie gras, coated in responsibly sourced dark chocolate, with a dusting of panko. On a stick.

 

Of course someone has probably already done this.  

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5 hours ago, mskatiemae said:

Having had no idea what is my state's slogan I went to Google and found it was updated again in 2019 to become

"Find Your True North. #OnlyinMN." So now I know, until they change it again! My tourism plans are more likely to be "Finding My True South. #Often in The Southern Hemisphere for the warmth." I love my state, just not extreme cold.

I have lived in the Twin Cities and I agree wit you. I loved Minnesota, enjoyed the hospitality of the people living there, names of places such as Hiowatha  and Minnehaha and the beautiful lakes, but it is just too cold for me. We used  to joke that Minnesota had only two seasons: winter and July...

Ivi

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I remember a slogan for Iowa : “Iowa a place to grow”. I used to see this slogan while driving through all those corn fields while I was a visiting scholar at Iowa States University. Very effective slogan since I remember it after so many years.

Ivi

Edited by travelberlin
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