Planning an event in Las Vegas only vaguely resembles event planning anywhere else. In a city built for spectacle, every event – even conferences – are expected to be a step above the norm. Every resource you could possibly need is available, but there are a few things you must determine prior to planning. Before you start running off in eight different directions at once, consider the following:
Planning – Turnkey vs. a la carte?
Hosting an event requires more than just the venue itself. You also have catering, décor, transportation and a whole list of details to incorporate. If you try to do it all yourself you’ll quickly be overwhelmed. All these decisions can sap your time and even your enthusiasm for planning the best program for your event. Turnkey event facilities are a great option. As professional event planners, they have a rolodex of local contacts that can facilitate everything from design to catering, and the best part is that you only have to work with ONE point of contact.
Guests – Who is attending?
An event for entertainment professionals will have a decidedly different vibe than one for lawyers, so first know who your attendees are. What level of professionalism and decorum do they expect in their everyday life and professional interactions? What will their connectivity needs be? Will they be able to unobtrusively step out of a meeting space if they need to take an important call?
Is there good parking or transportation between the host hotel and conference center? If it is a work event, to the attendees have any restrictions you should know about? For example, some industries do not allow event attendees to stay in hotels that are licensed as resorts. This is the kind of information you need to know.
Location – On or off the Strip?
Las Vegas is home to dozens of venues both historic and modern in look and feel. If you choose a location on the Strip, remember to plan for things like traffic and parking – and other events that could make commuting difficult. If you’re planning an event during a peak tourism season (summer, all holidays and long weekends) it will take guests much longer to get there and they may be frustrated by the crowds. Some guests may also find it off-putting to be walking to a well-heeled event while mingling with tourists or people dressed in pool attire.
Off the Strip locations give guests a chance to see another side of Vegas. There are also venues designed specifically for hosting events, and the facility will be completely dedicated to your plans. The talent level of local designers – most whom have worked for resort casinos or shows like Cirque du Soleil – still allows you to incorporate the feel of Las Vegas, without all the headache of the Strip.
Timing – What’s the season?
The season will greatly impact your event, so plan wisely! If you’re planning your event remotely, on a mild day in the Midwest for example, it’s tempting to attempt to book a lovely space with lots of outdoor activity. But summer temperatures in Las Vegas are unbearable even for the locals and nobody will have fun if they’re sweating through their business attire. In the summer months anything outside will need to be held near a pool and/or well after dark when temperatures are cooler.
Budget – What are your limits?
Is this a promotional launch, a training conference, a banquet, or something different? Each type of event is a different line item on the budget and can greatly impact the overall tone you want to present. An ostentatious celebration may not be suitable for a training weekend, and an underwhelming promotional event might leave much to be desired. Locations, caterers, designers and venues can work with most budgets, but they need to know up front what you are able to spend. Figure out the budget for your event, and be honest with what you can spend.
Planning an event can be stressful, but it can also be rewarding. Remember these tips and pull off the perfect planning – just don’t forget to enjoy the event!
License: Creative Commons
License: Creative Commons
Karen Veazey is a freelance writer for a variety of travel, technology and entertainment websites and one of the only people on earth who enjoys the desert heat. She is currently pursing an MFA degree in Creative and Professional Writing, focusing on nonfiction. If you’re in need of a medical meeting space or event venue, Karen recommends The Oquendo Center. Karen currently lives in Las Vegas.