MGM Resorts is nearing completion of its more than $100 million refresh of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, which is where Prevue caught up with Stephanie Glanzer, chief sales officer & sr. v.p., MGM Resorts International, for an update while attending IMEX this past October. The renovation has modernized and lightened the space, added an art program and increased its digital capabilities. New technology includes Cat6A Ethernet cabling throughout the convention center, which doubles the frequency of data transmission and increases Internet connection speed equivalent to downloading a 4K movie in 30 seconds. The convention center has also added 11 dynamic digital walls designed for brand placements, sponsorship and targeted event messaging.
“We have the capability to take a blank space and customize it to anything that a group wants,” says Glanzer. “We have the capability to transform our exhibit space into a carnival or into an e-sports gaming theater. We can do anything. We can make any wow happen because we have MGM Event Productions, which is an internal event company that can transform a space into anything that a customer visualizes. On top of that, when you think about our existing spaces, you have multiple options for arenas and theaters. So if you’re a large group, or even if you’re a small group that wants to see a headliner event or a Cirque du Soleil show, there’s something for everyone when it comes to wow.”
MGM Resorts has also recently completed, or is in the process of completing, several extensive room remodels, such as at the MGM Grand’s Studio Tower, where Prevue was hosted during IMEX. Consisting of 700 rooms, the Studio Tower features a mid-century modern design and a retro desert color palette. New York-New York completed a $63 million remodel of its 1,830 rooms and 155 suites this summer, while a $100 million renovation to all rooms and suites in Bellagio’s Spa Tower is currently underway.
“I think when you look at the pure scale and magnitude of our offerings, we have something for every type of group, every size of group and every budget for every group,” says Glanzer. “So if you’re looking at a unique space for 10 people to host an executive board meeting, we have many unique venues to offer for that, or if you have a 60,000-person trade show, we can accommodate that. So when you are a customer that wants multiple offerings or options or you have overflow, we can make that very simple through one point of contact, through one contract and through master account billing. We have an over 70 percent repeat factor to our groups, and so for those groups that come every single year, we want to make sure that we’re adding new things for them to do.”
“Our team is very invested in having a personal relationship with our customers,” says Kelly Gleeson Smith, v.p. of sales, Caesars Entertainment, whom Prevue also caught up with at IMEX. “So we know what matters to them and we’re not just feature dumping. We are understanding where their needs are and how we can accommodate them best. I think Caesars does a really great job of doing that and it separates us from everyone else.”
Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel & Casino in downtown New Orleans is in the process of rebranding to Caesars New Orleans. The $325 million renovation will add a new 340-room hotel tower to the property and is expected to be completed in 2024. Harrah’s Las Vegas is undergoing a complete renovation of its front drive area to enhance the guest arrival experience, and new investment at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe for 2024-25 is set to be announced soon.
“One of our new initiatives is the Wellness Program,” says Gleeson Smith. “I’m really proud of Caesars for standing up and recognizing that there’s a big opportunity here. Customers are looking for more customized menus, but in addition to that, we’re taking it a step further and giving the customers the tools to help their attendees with their mental health while they’re on property and giving people the downtime that’s necessary and the tools to do that, whether it’s meditation rooms or exercise classes or yoga.” —Steve Grasso