New Convention Infrastructure, and Attractions Come to Las Vegas

Blog > Destinations

New Convention Infrastructure, and Attractions Come to Las Vegas

By Maria Lenhart | Dec 10, 2018

New convention infrastructure, group-friendly attractions and resorts are coming on line in Las Vegas at a pace not seen since the go-go years of the 1990s. Fueling this growth is surging demand, with the city hosting a record 6.6 million convention visitors in 2017.

“Things slowed down here for a while, but now I’m feeling like it’s 1999 again because there are so many new things going on,” says Chris Meyer (MPI Southern California Chapter), vice president of global business sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “At the moment, we have 2.7 million square feet of new meeting and convention space coming during the next three years.”

While the total amount may be colossal, Meyer is quick to point out that much of the new space is geared to meet the needs of smaller groups, not mega trade shows. He points out that exhibition space will only account for 600,000 square feet of the total, while the remainder will be ballrooms, meeting rooms and breakout space.

“About 72 percent of our meeting business comes from groups of 200 or less, so we really want to meet their needs,” he says. “Planners are telling us that they want to create experiences for their groups, with plenty of spaces for networking and moving around. We have the infrastructure to support whatever your dream is.”

Along with more choice, Meyer says the new developments will also ensure value for meetings, particularly when groups come midweek rather than on weekends when leisure travelers flock to the city. For planners looking for optimum rates, he suggests first checking with the LVCVA.

“Call us first—our advice is free and we have a handle on the big picture,” he says. “We’re not a member-based organization, so we don’t push one place over another. We won’t waste your time.”

Why is Las Vegas continuing to experience explosive growth as a meeting and convention destination? Event planner Rolando Espinoza (MPI Southern California Chapter), creative director of Las Vegas-based Champagne Creative Group, gives credit to the city’s continual unveiling of dazzling new attractions and a nurtured, over-the-top reputation stretching back to the “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” marketing campaign.

“Although not exactly a business travel slogan, it is in line with the modern work/life blend that business road warriors experience,” he says. “After all, who doesn’t want to party like a rock star after the day’s sessions are completed?”

Venue Ventures

Currently under way is a massive expansion and renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which will add 1.4 million square feet to the facility, including a 600,000-square-foot exhibit hall, upon completion in 2021. Following that, the existing 3.2 million-square-foot facility will get a major redesign and tech upgrade set for completion in 2023. Both phases are being coordinated in such a way to not displace business during the construction period.

Work is also progressing on Las Vegas Stadium, a $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed football stadium that will be the new home of the Raiders when the NFL season kicks off in 2020.

Also scheduled for a 2020 debut, CAESARS FORUM will offer 550,000 square feet of space, including the two largest pillarless ballrooms in the world and a 100,000-square-foot outdoor plaza. Located on 20 acres east of the Strip, the new conference facility will be linked by bridges to several Caesars Entertainment hotels and the Linq Promenade.

Last February, ARIA Resort & Casino unveiled a new four-level, 200,000-square-foot convention venue with 15 meeting rooms, three ballrooms and outdoor verandahs.

Construction is expected to start within the next year on the 350,000-square-foot Expo Center at the World Market Center Las Vegas campus. Along with hosting trade events for the furniture and gift show industries, the downtown facility will be available for corporate meetings and other events.

Developed by the Madison Square Garden Co. and on target for a 2020 opening, the MSG Sphere near the Sands Expo and Convention Center will be an 18,000-seat arena with tech features enabling audience members to create interactive experiences with performers and presenters on stage. There will also be four acres of high-resolution screens and camera systems allowing the event inside to be viewed by people outside.

Hotels and Resorts

Major hotel and resort development is also in full swing. On tap for 2020, The Drew Las Vegas is a resort development project by Marriott International that will be located in the unfinished Fontainebleau Tower, whose construction was halted a decade ago during the recession. The complex will include three hotels, including the first JW Marriott on the Strip, with 3,900 guest rooms and 500,000 square feet of meeting space.

Plans were recently announced for Paradise Park, a 25-acre development located between the Wynn and Encore resorts on the site of the Desert Inn Golf Course. The new complex will offer a 280,000-square-foot convention center with 18 meeting rooms and an 83,000-square-foot pillarless ballroom. There will also be a 1,500-room luxury hotel and a lagoon with a mile-long boardwalk and sandy beach.

Malaysia-based Genting Group is planning to open its $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas by the end of 2020. The Asian-themed property is slated to offer more than 3,400 guest rooms in three towers.

Last spring the former Monte Carlo resort became Park MGM, which includes such new features as the 10,000-square-foot Madison Meeting Center and NoMad Las Vegas, a luxury boutique hotel located on the top four floors.


Las Vegas also continues to offer new offsite venues and experiences for groups. Just opened, Fly LINQ brings ziplining to the Strip with 10 ziplines that take riders from a 114-foot tower on a 1,121-foot course over the LINQ Promenade. Also new is an expanded collection of wildly colored electrified signs on view at the Neon Museum.

In downtown Las Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience is investing $32 million in a major enhancement of its Viva Vision LED light display that will greatly improve brightness and resolution along the five-block-long canopy. At the nearby Mob Museum, a new exhibit devoted to Prohibition includes a distillery and 1920s-era speakeasy available for private events.



Maria Lenhart

Maria Lenhart is a former editor of multiple meeting and event industry publications, and has won numerous awards for travel writing, including a prestigious Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers.