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Las Vegas Resort Leaders on Major Events, Game-Changing Developments and Meetings Momentum

The Grand Colonnade, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

Change is coming to Las Vegas.

The Venetian Convention and Expo Center commences a $188 million renovation this summer as part of the Venetian’s 25th anniversary $1.5 billion resort-wide makeover. The $600 million renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s legacy campus is underway. The phased $100 million remodel of the 2.1 million-square-foot Mandalay Bay Convention Center is nearing completion.

It’s farewell to Tropicana Las Vegas as the one-time “Tiffany of the Strip” from 1957 will be imploded and prospectively replaced by a $1.5 billion ballpark for the possible Vegas-bound Oakland A’s. Announced in early May, the latest plan for attracting professional basketball to Vegas calls for the construction of an NBA-ready arena attached to the tallest resort in Vegas on the North Strip.

Transformation of the iconic Mirage, which ushered in the mega-resort era in 1989, into Hard Rock Las Vegas is slated for spring 2027, including a skyline-redefining Guitar Hotel. The Mirage will officially shut down July 17 this summer. The F1 Vegas Grand Prix roars back into action this November; WrestleMania 41 comes to Allegiant Stadium next summer. 

The ongoing expansion of the underground Vegas Loop is planned to run throughout the resort corridor and beyond, providing a sustainable public transportation option for visitors and locals. This April saw groundbreaking for the $12 billion Brightline high-speed rail project connecting Las Vegas and Southern California. Long-discussed plans for a second Vegas airport continue to approach takeoff speed.

It’s business as usual as Las Vegas charges ahead with the latest round of major new developments following the epic “blitz” of openings and events bookended by the September 2023 opening of the Sphere and Super Bowl 58 this February.

“Those six months were a whirlwind for Vegas, and with more than $15 billion worth of destination-wide investments planned over the next few years, we have no plans of slowing down,” said Lisa Messina, chief sales officer for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. 

Resort partners are also bullish on the future. Here is the executive view from on and off the Strip of how the blitz elevated perception of Vegas as a group destination and is keeping the momentum and excitement high. 

[Related: How Marquee Events and Major Investments Are Boosting the Global Draw of Las Vegas]

Stephanie Glanzer
Stephanie Glanzer

Stephanie Glanzer, Chief Sales Officer and Senior Vice President, MGM Resorts International

“The constant evolution and reinvention of Las Vegas is more apparent than ever as the city has truly solidified its status as the entertainment, and now, the sports capital of the world, providing attendees with a fresh set of experiences each time they visit. 

In less than a decade, Vegas has gone from no professional sports teams to having the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, 2023 Stanley Cup champions the Vegas Golden Knights and reigning two-time WNBA champions the Las Vegas Aces on the resort corridor, while welcoming high-profile annual sports and entertainment events including Super Bowl, F1 and the NHL All-Star Game. 

As the largest operator on the Strip, MGM Resorts has been the forefront of this ongoing transformation, significantly shaping the city's entertainment landscape and sports scene. Owning key venues including T-Mobile Arena, home to the Golden Knights since 2017, and Michelob ULTRA Arena, where the company brought the Aces in 2018, we drive visitation through major events, attractions and high-profile residencies featuring artists like Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey and Bruno Mars.

To maintain MICE market momentum, it's crucial that we capitalize on these events to advance our business as planners are increasingly seeking experiences that transcend traditional confines. During marquee events such as F1 and Super Bowl, for example, customers enjoyed exclusive 'wow' experiences like the Bellagio Fountain Club and pop-up activations throughout our properties. 

MGM Resorts is well-positioned to play a pivotal role in this narrative. Meetings and events will always be the foundation of our business model, however, integrating these enticing experiences gives groups another reason to book Vegas.”

Tony Yousfi
Tony Yousfi

Tony Yousfi, Chief Sales Officer, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

“Las Vegas has set the bar for meetings and spectacular large-scale events for decades. With the opening of the Sphere at The Venetian last September, followed by F1, New Year’s Eve and the Super Bowl, we set a back-to-back event cadence unprecedented for any city at any time in history. 

The unmatched level of hosting and execution of these and other events created indescribable buzz and excitement in the city. All eyes are on Vegas as the destination has taken center stage.

When The Venetian opened in 1999, we changed the way business travelers think of Las Vegas. We were built for meetings and events. It’s in our DNA. Celebrating our 25th anniversary (see sidebar) this May, we continue to stay true to the business customer with a $188 million renovation to our convention center. 

This investment will provide groups with the newest convention space on the Strip along with elevating experiences including upgraded technology and executive spaces. Our overall $1.5 billion resort-wide reinvestment will impact nearly every aspect of the guest experience, from suites to culinary to entertainment.”

Kelly Gleeson Smith, Vice President of Sales, Caesars Entertainment

Kelly Gleeson Smith
Kelly Gleeson Smith

“Moving forward, we're poised to further enhance the Las Vegas meetings, convention and event market. Last October, we proudly launched our wellness options for conferences, and the momentum hasn't slowed since. We're going full steam ahead with our first meeting planner Wellness Summit scheduled for June, followed by our second annual Global Wellness Day Challenge June 7-8. 

These initiatives underscore our commitment to event experiences that prioritize health and well-being. With these exciting developments on the horizon, coupled with our dedication to unparalleled service and innovation, Caesars Entertainment is primed to continue leading the industry into the future.”

 Candice Zabelny
 Candice Zabelny

Candice Zabelny, Executive Director of Sales, Palms Casino Resort

“The recent series of major events has continued to increase international and worldwide attention, making Las Vegas a sought-after destination. This visibility has enhanced our city's profile, showcasing our ability to produce large-scale and diverse experiences that attract a global audience.

As Las Vegas continues to leverage its enhanced capabilities and reputation to attract more high-profile events, we are capitalizing on this momentum by catering to a broader audience looking for an exciting and dynamic resort. We have grown our reach into the movie and television industry by hosting the American Film Market (AFM) in November 2024, which reinforce our position as premier event hotel and key player in the Vegas market.”

[Related: Las Vegas Steakhouses Ideal for Private Dining or Buyouts]

 Kurt Wuebbenhorst
 Kurt Wuebbenhorst

Kurt Wuebbenhorst, Senior Vice President of Sales, Catering & Event Services, Fontainebleau Las Vegas 

“The recent run of events has only enhanced global perception of Las Vegas, proving once again that this is a dynamic destination that is consistently evolving. Showcasing the diversity of Vegas venues, from our customizable meeting and convention spaces at Fontainebleau Las Vegas to multipurpose Allegiant Stadium, has caught the attention of the world. Those that may not have considered Las Vegas as a fit for their group saw what we’re capable of and can offer when it comes to luxury hospitality.

Organizers want to create an unforgettable experience for their attendees alongside comfort and convenience. At Fontainebleau Las Vegas, we achieve that by delivering a world-class guest experience along with an element of creativity. Our world-class restaurant collection, Oasis Pool Deck, BleauLive Theater and all other amenities offer a canvas for designing experience that fit any vision.”

Deanna Burgess
Deanna Burgess

Deanna Burgess, Vice President of Hotel Sales, Station Casinos

“It was a clear and decisive endorsement that our city is equipped for, and beyond capable of, executing large-scale events while maintaining our position as a top meetings destination. The several months have only reinforced this further. These major events, and venues like the Sphere, attract attendees that want to participate in high-value, content-driven meetings and exhibitions while also enjoying unique off-agenda or leisure time experiences.

The investment in new venues has added tourism opportunities such as behind-the-scenes tours. Station Casinos has positioned itself this way. With many of our resorts located near the major and minor league facilities around town, our groups can tour these venues or, in some cases, host events onsite.”


Sasha Lee, Director of Sales, Circa Resort & Casino

Sasha Lee
Sasha Lee

“The six-month run further solidified the fact that Las Vegas is THE place to be for a meeting or convention, as these new openings and major events are evidence that consumers and buyers want ongoing stimulation, freshness and variety. 

I see the overwhelming buzz generated by these new ventures bringing in more untapped affiliate industries and events to the city. For example, I think Las Vegas will become a real film industry contender due to the tax benefits. The championship success of our sports teams and international events like F1 have helped put us on course for MLB and NBA team representation.

For the destination and resorts in this most progressive generation, staying top of mind with technology and trends is mandatory for meetings and events.”

Read more meeting and event news in Las Vegas and Nevada.

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About the author
Jeff Heilman | Senior Contributor

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based independent journalist Jeff Heilman has been a Meetings Today contributor since 2004, including writing our annual Texas and Las Vegas supplements since inception. Jeff is also an accomplished ghostwriter specializing in legal, business and Diversity & Inclusion content.