The romance of Venice can be found in Las Vegas at The Venetian. As the first Integrated Resort by Las Vegas Sands’ chairman and CEO, Sheldon Adelson, The Venetian was a true game-changer. The Venetian Las Vegas celebrates its 19th anniversary and is globally recognized as a Forbes Travel Guide four-star rated luxury property and one of the most luxurious resort and convention destinations in the MICE industry.
One year after Mr. Adelson purchased the famous Sands Hotel in 1989, he opened the Sands Expo and Convention Center, adjacent to the hotel. In 1996, the iconic Sands Hotel was demolished to make room for the company’s first Integrated Resort. On May 3, 1999, The Venetian opened its doors to classic Italian fanfare including singing gondoliers.
“There was a time when gaming was the primary focus and Las Vegas has come a very long way,” Tina Peetris, vice president of Retail at The Venetian and The Palazzo, said. “It’s amazing how transforming the city has become because of the diversity of attractions. It’s not just about the gaming, it’s about the whole experience which includes entertainment, food and beverage, far more than any could probably see more than 20 years ago.”
Mr. Adelson’s experience in the tradeshow business and his ability to challenge the status quo led to him being widely credited for helping transform the city from a gaming-centric location into an international business and leisure destination. As a fully Integrated Resort, The Venetian operates together with Sands Expo, The Palazzo and Venezia tower with more than 8,500 Team Members working onsite.
“Our strength lies in the ability to provide everything under one roof,” Kirsten Dimond, vice president and general manager of Sands Expo, said. “We’ve created an environment where the business traveler is also afforded the opportunity to experience time as a leisure traveler.”
In 2017, Sands Expo had over 780,000 attendees frequent their convention center for more than 50 conventions. The number of events occurring at the convention center fluctuates slightly with several booking their event on a biannual basis, Dimond explains. With recurring shows reporting increases in attendee numbers, Sands Expo has expanded programs and related service needs.
“Over the past several years, Sands Expo has become increasingly focused on customer experience. From show management to exhibitors to attendees – they are all highly valued guests who enjoy the same level of service from the front desk, to their suites, to the exhibit floor. Our Team Members work very closely with those of The Venetian and The Palazzo, and are in alignment with the way in which we engage with, assist, and anticipate our guests’ needs,” Dimond said.
In order to provide extraordinary experiences for guests, Sands Expo is able to accommodate exhibitor needs through the Exhibitor Service center including an In-Booth Dining (IBD) Service that allows exhibitors to order lunch to their booths to maximize their floor and sales time. Dimond notes that sustainability and social responsibility initiatives have become key drivers for Team Members, both personally and professionally. Every show has a full recycle program for general trash and any leftovers are distributed to charities in the local community. These efforts are coordinated in partnership with the resort’s sustainability team and Sands Cares, the company’s global corporate giving program. Conversely, Dimond notes that the convention center is also able to integrate aspects of leisure offerings into the business experience. From corporate events on the pool deck and in property theatres, to private dining spaces at award-winning restaurants, to “bringing” Canyon Ranch Spa to Sands Expo’s lobby– Dimond assures her team can make it happen.
“From our LEED and APEX/ASTM Level II certifications, to donation programs that are now being duplicated throughout the Strip, to customized Green Meetings efforts, we are proud of the impact we’ve had on the company and in our community,” Dimond said.
Peetris believes that setting the bar for guests’ experience is a top priority for both new and returning guests. Overseeing retail operations including floral and the gondola services, Peetris knows her appeal is to a wide audience. With about 1.2 million square footage of retail space, the property has a variety of shopping options including the Grand Canal Shoppes, the Resort Shops, and The Atrium.
“It’s being challenged to create those experiences. We have repeat guests and guests that are here in Las Vegas for the first time. We want to create just as exciting of experiences,” Peetris said.
Both Peetris and Dimond agree that Team Members plays a pivotal role in providing extraordinary guest experiences.
“It starts with the individuals that make our organization, and it spans all the way through. It is the people, that’s what sets us apart,” Peetris said. “When you’re bringing a new Team Member on board, there are innate qualities that you can’t teach. It’s innate in them, and those qualities are what we’re looking for to make that difference—and guests notice.”
After 19 years, The Venetian continues to be an exemplary Integrated Resort offering over 3,000 suites, close to 200,000 square footage of gaming space, and more than 80 restaurants including five celebrity chef dining restaurants. The property is known for its wide range of entertainment and achieving many sustainable accolades including the Green Leaders Award in 2015 with The Palazzo and Sands Expo.
Sands Expo remains one of the largest convention centers in the world. Some of the largest events at the convention center include International Consumer Electronics Show (CES); Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show; Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference; Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent Conference; and Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX).