Sin City is about more than gambling and glitter — it’s also big on meetings
Las Vegas may be one of our country’s most hedonistic getaways, but serious business takes place there, too. In 2013, the city welcomed 5.1 million attendees to more than 22,000 conventions, making it the top trade-show destination in the country — a perch it’s held for two decades. The Southern Nevada hot spot intends on maintaining that ranking with the $2.3 billion Las Vegas Global Business District project, a proposed expansion and renovation of Las Vegas Convention Center and surrounding area.
Perhaps no city has mastered the “work hard, play hard” mantra better than Vegas.
“Whenever possible, I try to combine my business trips with a little vacation time, and Las Vegas is perfect for this,” says Rupa Wickrama, owner and founder of Redmond-based Saky Sacks, a line of reusable shopping bags. “You have great restaurants and shopping along the Strip, and there are many good sightseeing excursions you can do in the area, such as Red Rock Canyon or the Hoover Dam.”
Rolling the dice on a work trip to Las Vegas? Hit the jackpot with these tips for business travelers.
PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES
Flights from Sea-Tac to McCarran International Airport (LAS) are frequent and generally less expensive than most other domestic destinations. Alaska, Delta, and Southwest all offer nonstop flights that last about two-and-a-half hours.
If you have business outside the Strip and need a car, you can rent one at the airport or from many of the big hotels. Otherwise, you can get around with taxis (approximately $15 to $30 from the airport); limousines, available with and without a reservation; the Las Vegas Monorail, which runs adjacent to Las Vegas Boulevard; and various shuttles and buses. The concierge at your hotel can point you toward the best options for your particular location. “When in the city, I often use the monorail and trams — you can get from one end of the Strip to the other, including to the Las Vegas Convention Center, which makes it convenient when attending trade shows and is a great way to escape the desert heat,” Wickrama says.
GET SOME SLEEP
Like slot machines and neon lights, hotels aren’t in short supply in Las Vegas. Many are good for business and leisure travelers alike, such as the always-elegant Wynn. “Lately I’ve been staying at the Wynn — I love the ambience of the lobby and gardens,” Wickrama says. “It can also be surprisingly affordable.” Equally pretty, The Venetian has everything you could need in one place — award-winning restaurants, large suites with combination copy machines, and even gondola rides through a faux Venice. Less luxe but more budget-friendly, the Embassy Suites Convention Center Las Vegas features two-room suites, free breakfast, complimentary cocktails and snacks every night, and a 24-hour business center. It’s conveniently located near the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
FUEL YOUR STAY
When you want something other than trade-show food, Lady Luck is on your side. “Las Vegas has become a culinary destination,” Wickrama says. “There is an abundance of excellent restaurants in close proximity to each other, not to mention some great eateries off the Strip.” Brunch at the Parisian-style Bouchon Bistro inside The Venetian gets Wickrama’s top vote. For a classic Old Vegas dinner, The Steak House inside Circus Circus never fails to deliver mesquite-grilled steaks with stately service. To escape the tourist crowds, head to Forte European Tapas Bar & Bistro, where you can fill up on small plates and comfort food from Bulgaria, Spain, Russia, Georgia, and beyond.
OFF THE CLOCK
No matter your taste in entertainment, there’s a show in Las Vegas for you. If you don’t already have a singer or magician in mind, consider O, the Cirque du Soleil show at the Bellagio. Acrobats, synchronized swimmers, divers, clowns, and other characters artistically join forces to celebrate the beauty of theater against an aquatic backdrop. It’s the kind of experience words can’t do justice. For a daytime getaway, hit the links for a round of golf at TPC Las Vegas, where some of the world’s best golfers — think Phil Mickelson and John Daly — have graced the well-maintained course.