Las Vegas convention business improves

Mar 8, 2016 3:09 AM

Las Vegas has solidified its position as the destination of choice for large meetings and conventions in the U.S., according to MGM Resorts CEO James Murren.

He sees “great strength in the market” for the next several years – 2016, 2017 and 2018. Citywide convention attendance grew 13 percent last year as MGM was expanding convention space at Mandalay Bay.

“We had hoped for significant increase in our convention bookings at Mandalay and I can tell you that we are well ahead of what we had hoped for.”

The Mandalay expansion was “pre-emptive,” he says because MGM executives could see signs of an upturn in the demand for meeting space. “We wanted to keep ahead of the demand.”

MGM is not finished doing what it can to accommodate the demand for meeting space. It’s adding 200,000 square feet of “flexible, technologically advanced space” that will be ready in 2018 at the Aria.

Companies such as Wynn Resorts are also considering a response to the demand for meeting and convention space in Las Vegas. This would be an easy project for Wynn since more than a hundred acres of golf course land could be used and another course built elsewhere.

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected].