Meeting News - May 19, 2008 - (Page 1)

INSIDE THE INDUSTRY Planners seek “Affordable” p. 8 CONVENTION CENTERS Bigger,more efficient LVCC p. 14 TECHNOLOGY Online trade-show ROI tool p. 18 CHEF TALK High Fryer: IACC’s Copper Skillet goes to Chateau Elan’s talented Marc Suennemann. page 10 MeetingNews w w w. M e e t i n g N e w s . c o m May 19, 2008 July 16, 2007 Bruised, But Not Battered After MGM Mirage’s much-publicized layoffs, Vegas says meetings, leisure business is robust By William Ng Hotels & Resorts TO THE POINT: STARWOOD RAMPS LOYALTY PROGRAM Supplier sweetens Starpoints by awarding double and triple bonus points. see page 11 M RESORT IN LAS VEGAS WILL BE OPPORTUNISTIC Under construction, property to cater to small and midsize groups shut out by the Strip. see page 11 International WALDORF=ASTORIA NOW A LUXURY PLAYER ABROAD Corporate parent Hilton takes the iconic brand to Rome and Jerusalem. see page 16 COPENHAGEN SAYS IT’S WONDERFUL FOR GROUPS Visitors bureau looks to entice planners with attendee- and event-friendly promotions as meetings hotel capacity grows. see page 16 New York—Despite MGM Mirage’s insistence that its mid-April slashing of 400 managers was a planned move to cut costs and trim fat, many interpreted the layoffs as the biggest sign yet that mighty Las Vegas is in a business slump for the first time since post-9/11. But MGM Mirage—the biggest gaming resort operator on the Strip—and at least one of its competitors, Harrah’s Entertainment, were adamant that business remains buoyant, specifically that of meetings, even as leisure travel recoils from the deepening downturn in the economy. “We’ve always been sensitive in making adjustments in staffing, and we began making some in the last few months,” said MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman, reiterating to MeetingNews what president and COO Jim Murren has described in various reports as a long-term corporate streamlining initiative that began last September. “Everyone’s been reacting because of the slowdown.” Aside from the semantics surrounding the MGM Mirage layoffs, there have been signals of a softening Vegas. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Strip’s earnings in the three-month period from December to March fell by nearly 5 percent. Then, an April 15 Las Vegas Review-Journal report cited that average daily room rates among Strip gaming properties are down by 20 percent. And, passenger traffic numbers at McCarran Airport dropped in December, January, and March. continued on page 43 LXR TELLS ITS GUESTS TO BOARDEZ ONTO PLANES Luxury hotel operator installs boarding-pass printing kiosks. see page 11 Insider Report MIDWEST MEETINGS Hotel and supplier news from Chicago to Kansas City. see page 44 CVBs DESTINATIONS RETOOL THRU BRANDING EFFORTS Bureaus use snappier names and catchy slogans to freshen images. see page 12 MeetingNews ExclusiveResearch In general, how has the slowing U.S. economy affected your meeting programs? Budgets have been reduced overall Attendance has been reduced overall There has been no change Meeting schedule has been reduced overall Support staff has been reduced overall Meeting planning positions have been reduced I’m worried about my job 0% Trade Show Giant Freeman Announces Management Changes Joe Popolo succeeding Donald Freeman as CEO; son-in-law continuing family line By Christopher Hosford Destination Insider RENO-LAKE TAHOE In-depth report on the latest happenings in the western meetings stronghold, from culinary to infrastructure news. see page 20 59.0% 41.0% 25.9% 21.5% 18.9% 5.2% 4.4% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% HOUSTON EMBRACES ITS SPANISH VISITORS Bureau creates Spanish versions of its website and “My Houston” celebrity-backed ads. see page 12 Volume 32/Number 10/$10.00 Source: MeetingNews survey of 344 meeting planners Domino Effect The economic crunch has led to repercussions for meetings on see page 19 many levels. Dallas—Freeman, the provider of trade show services, has capped a recent spate of innovations with changes in its executive management structure. Joe Popolo, president of the company, will become CEO effective July 1. He succeeds longtime namesake Donald Freeman. Freeman, 70, will retain his position as chairman and take on such traditional emeritus tasks as customer relations and oversight of corporate culture. John O’Connell will take over for Popolo as president, leaving behind his duties as chief operating officer; that job will be assumed by Jeff Price, who has continued on page 43

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - May 19, 2008

Meeting News - May 19th, 2008
What’s Up @
Hotels & Resorts
Destination Insider: Reno-Lake Tahoe
Advertisers Index
Insider Report: Midwest Meetings
Live from the Forum

Meeting News - May 19, 2008