On a couple of occasions during my illustrious business career, I attended business events in Las Vegas.
One was a weeklong user group run by a business partner of the company I was then working for. I remember little about it, other than that I stayed at the (then) somewhat tawdry New York, New York. That a couple of us took some clients out to a pricey meal – not in New York, New York. That there was some kind of trade show aspect, and, in our booth, we gave away pens that turned out have exploding ink in them. That the thing I enjoyed most was walking down The Strip to watch the fountains at the Bellagio. That it was in the dead of summer. And that I rented a black car that turned out to have no air conditioning to drive to Flagstaff, Arizona to visit my brother Tom and his wife.
The other was a weeklong sales kickoff for the company I was then working for. I remember little about it, other than that we stayed at the (then) quite nice MGM Grand. That the marcomm people screwed the product marketing people (that would be me and my posse) out of some opportunities to present our products to the sales folks. (Probably just as well. Those guys didn’t exactly want to listen to boring product crap when the slots were ringing in the background.) That the VP of our business unit took a bunch of us out to eat at a Harley-Davidson themed restaurant. (Gee, thanks, Chuck.) And that it was in the dead of winter, so it was kind of nice to get out of the cold.
I was going to say that there was a third round of business in Las Vegas, when the company I was then working for exhibited at Comdex, but that was when there was a Comdex East in Atlanta. What I remember about that was a bunch of old geezer men in polyester leisure suits looking for freebies. If only I’d had some of those exploding pens…
While I’m not much of a business party girl, in both cases when I actually was in Las Vegas on business, I was well aware that normal people actually enjoy being in Las Vegas on a business boondoggle. They like to gamble. They like to drink. They like to go to shows. They like to eat. They like to look at girls. They like to smoke cigars. (Remember, my career was pretty much in guy world.)
So I wasn’t surprised to see an ad in The Economist for Vegas Means Business. According to the ad, “88 percent of executives agree that having events in Las Vegas makes their job easier.”
There’s no information provided on who’s in this universe of executives, but in a nice little marketing sleight of hand – one worthy of David Copperfield and/or Penn and Teller, right after we read about that “88 percent of executives” - there’s a line that invites us to “Find out all the reasons why so many FORTUNE 500 companies choose Las Vegas.”
See what they did there?
A less than careful reader might think that 88% of FORTUNE 500 “executives agree that having events in Laws Vegas makes their job easier.”
Then, when you look at the testimonials, they’re from somewhat lesser known outfits than the Fab 500.
Anyway, I didn’t have to go to Vegas Means Business to find out why folks that plan events like Las Vegas.
It does make life easier to hold an event in a place that most normal people actually want to go.
They like to gamble. They like to drink. They like to go to shows. They like to eat. They like to look at girls. They like to smoke cigars. (Remember, my career was pretty much in guy world.) And, of course, what happens in Vegas staying in Vegas doesn’t hurt.
Or, as one of the Las Vegas touting executives wrote when heaping praise,
The vibrancy of Las Vegas adds a certain 'je ne sais quoi' to our [user] conference.
Je ne sais quoi, my foot. See the reasons cited above.
Let’s face it, who wants to convene in Boston in January? What red-blooded American business man is going to opt for women wrapped up like Nanook of the North when they can ogle scantily clad show girls. Who in their right mind wants to get blown over by winds whipping off the Atlantic, when they can feel the fine spray of the Bellagio fountains? Who wants to see the Freedom Trail when all the action’s on The Strip?
I wouldn’t say ‘no’ if the opportunity or, ahem, need to see Las Vegas again, but a return trip is not on my bucket list.
But I think I can have a pretty good handle on the reasons why business events quite naturally gravitate there.