Meeting managers have enough to-do lists to worry about already, but MGM Resorts International’s Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer Michael Dominguez is adding six more items you ought to pay attention to. Take note of these points he made at Connect California this year.
1. South America is not an emerging market.
“Brazil’s economy is one of the worst in the world. It just threw its president out of office. Argentina defaulted on its debt, and Venezuela has one of the worst currency problems in the world. They’ll have an increase [in business] because of the Olympics this year, but it’ll decline in 2017.”
2. California’s drought is affecting you.
“Planners, your personal grocery bill is getting higher, but you’re expecting your hotel to give you a cheaper rate. Seventy-four percent of all lettuce comes from California; 90 percent of all tomatoes in the U.S. come from California. Yet you’re asking why the price of your Caesar salad is increasing in banquets.”
3. You need to be educated on Zika.
“Zika is this year’s Ebola. When it started, we weren’t concerned about it in the U.S. Now there are [very few] states in the country that don’t have a reported case of Zika. If you’re in the incentive market, I guarantee you’re going to have people asking you if [they] should be traveling to South America, especially if [they are] female millennials who are in their child-bearing years.”
4. The Fair Labor Standards Act could have major ramifications.
“The old standard was that if you make $26,440 or less, you could not be a salaried employee and you had to be paid overtime. [The Department of Labor’s] goal is to double that. Think about it: You have people fresh out of college working in your company and they’re making $40,000. How do you send them to a show where they’re working 18 hours a day now? How do you send them for professional development? How do you send them to help with a show if they are no longer a salaried employee and can’t be?”
5. Emergency training is more important than ever.
“We sometimes forget that the shooting in San Bernardino [California] happened in a conference center. At some point, I’m concerned whether we’ll be prepared when somebody walks into a convention center and starts shooting—because it will happen someday. Our society is too open.”
6. Get over Airbnb fears.
“Airbnb is not disruptive. To be disruptive, you have to change behavior. Airbnb is a technology play on a behavior that has always existed. It’s ‘air bed-and-breakfasts.’ I’ve been staying in those for 20 years; now it’s just gotten easier to find them. It’s not where your attendees are looking to stay. Plus, most of the units are nowhere near hotel ZIP codes. Airbnb is not cannibalizing the hotel industry. How could it? All they’ve done is grow the pie with a different type of traveler.”