I recently took a trip to Las Vegas. I will admit, it was for personal reasons. A bunch of friends happened to all have a free weekend and we had been talking about doing a mini “reunion” for a while. It turned out that this one weekend happened to work for everyone! It was a blast. A bunch of old friends in Las Vegas, and no one went to jail! Honestly, it was great to catch up with old friends, have an adult beverage, and enjoy some of the things Vegas has to offer.
I was walking through the casino on Friday evening after grabbing a snack and I noticed several folks with lanyards and name tags on. I had a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals on. These folks were in business attire. They were in Vegas to work. And they did not look happy about. I started thinking about these large destination events. I previously wrote about how Virtual Events with Lighthouse Conferencing can change the scope of large events here. I talked about the benefits and impact of Virtual Events versus onsite events here. This time around, I started to think about the impact that going to Las Vegas has on events, and I realized something…Vegas is sort of terrible for conferences!
Las Vegas is built for conferences. There are over 124,000 hotel rooms in the city. Transportation around the city is fairly easy. However, most folks who go there rarely leave their own hotel (unless you have to hop on that tram to the Convention Center). There is food everywhere. The airport is actually a well oiled machine. The thing that got me though, is Vegas is FUN. Vegas was meant to be a destination for people who want to “relax”. I put relax in quotes because, you know, it’s not relaxing that 90% of the visitors to Vegas are looking for. I saw the faces of these folks and they were not relaxed. They also did not look like you were getting 100% out of them when it came to the keynote speaker that day.
I realize this blog will never change anyone’s mind. Vegas for CES is a right of passage for a lot of people. The annual Commercial Real Estate conference in Vegas is a reward for the young folks at a lot of companies. I guess, for me, the issue is I don’t think most people who attend a conference in Vegas get everything they need to get from it. I just cannot imagine waking up after the two or three after-parties that go on EACH NIGHT and really retaining 100% of what I need to retain. Lastly, I don’t like the idea of America’s playground being part of my work life. Vegas is there for you to cut loose.
At the end of the day, Vegas is whatever you want it to be. It is a networking paradise or the town where you can lose a mortgage in about 30 seconds. I like the idea of the latter. Not that I would ever wager that sort of money, but I like the idea that when I do, I can have a few cocktails after, some good food, and sleep in the next day to try and forget about that wager. The idea of waking up at 7:30, putting on my business attire, and hitting the floor does not sound great. In fact, if you have ever had that experience and want to share how unproductive the next day was let us know in the comments below! The look at that crew’s face walking around the lobby of my hotel told me they sort of felt the same way.
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