Checking in on Las Vegas

I’ve just returned from Las Vegas where I thoroughly enjoyed moderating a panel of top travel agents from across the country at an event that was hosted by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. The participants (shown below, left to right) were Mel Nobel, owner of TravelGuy.com; Diane Dahl, director of operations for Prestige Travel & Cruises, based in Las Vegas; Steven Pomranz, vice president of travel services for AAA Washington; Karen Kimmey, owner, OK Travel, based in Chicago; and Paul Coleman, owner/president, Sun Travel in El Paso, TX. The panel’s job was to let the audience of hotel and attraction representatives know what was going on in terms of selling Las Vegas and to give them a pulse on travel trends.

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One interesting insight was that travel agency newspaper ads still generate business. Several agents on the panel are finding that they are getting trackable responses from the ads they are placing in local papers. One reason is that fewer of their competitors are advertising these days, so their ads stand out. Another reason is that people are still reading print news! Panelists also shared that rates for print ads have dropped substantially in many markets, making it much more affordable.

A hot topic was the rumor that Las Vegas is getting such bad publicity these days that the streets are empty and no one is going. Personally, I found the rumor to be false. The hotels I visited were sold out on the weekends, and midweek I saw tourists walking up and down the Strip, as usual. The panelists encouraged the audience to do all they can to get the good news out about Las Vegas—it is still an amazing place to visit, and even if you’ve already been to Las Vegas, there are always a dozen or more reasons to return.

I suggest you convey that message to your clients and squelch the news that the city is suffering. There’s really no better time to go than now and you can be assured that the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority—Art Jimenez and Ed Fioravante, in particular—is 100 percent dedicated to helping you sell the destination.

If you haven’t gone recently, I suggest that you get out there to check it out so you can relay your excitement for the city back to your clientele. There’s nothing like being there to evoke the passion.