Caesars Forum is poised to conquer the Las Vegas Strip. By the beginning of 2020, the venue had booked more than 1 million room nights and $390 million in contracts for meetings and events. Its biggest selling point: The 550,000-sq.-ft. meeting and conference facility is the first of this scale built on one level. ConferenceDirect, HelmsBriscoe, MPI and PCMA were among the first to sign on. The National Grocers Association also announced its trade show will move from San Diego to the forum in 2021.
“Caesars Forum redefines meetings and events in Las Vegas,” says Lisa Messina, Caesars Entertainment vice president of sales. “Not only will Caesars Forum add to our portfolio in a way we’ve never been able to provide before, it’s also a win for the city because we’re able to partner with some of our competitors, like Sands and Wynn, to keep business in Las Vegas.”
Don Ross, Caesars Entertainment vice president of meeting operations, sat down with Connect to discuss the Forum.
Will Caesars Forum be able to simultaneously serve two full-capacity seated dinner events?
Absolutely. We haven’t had anything of this size, but we’ve opened facilities like Caesars Atlantic City where we have two 250,000-sq.-ft. ballrooms. When we opened the new Caesars Palace meeting space, we had two pillarless 50,000-sq.-ft. ballrooms with kitchens behind each to serve two different groups at once.
Is there a danger of cannibalizing business from Caesars Palace and other company resorts in Vegas?
Certainly, some groups from our properties want to experience Caesars Forum. But what we’ve done is create a campus out of this new conference center. If we hadn’t upgraded the rooms and meeting spaces at these hotels, maybe it would be different, but by putting hundreds of millions of dollars into Harrah’s, the Linq and Flamingo, people want to stay. Some are moving from the Rio and Bally’s to Caesars Forum, but some of those groups were outgrowing us.
How will an event with Caesars Forum coordinate with Caesars resorts where attendees will be staying?
When you commit to a food and beverage minimum with Caesars Entertainment, you’re getting to spend it with all of our properties. You can have your opening night reception at the Eiffel Tower at Paris; you can have meetings at Forum; and you can have the final night at the Garden of the Gods Pool or any of numerous lower price point options.
What did you do to prepare the building for future technology updates?
The way it’s built is conducive to modernization. It’s one level with access through the roof and endless opportunities through floor pockets. It’s not nearly as difficult to retrofit a three-story complex or a tower. Other than the entry video wall, we haven’t done a lot of permanent installations with tech or a permanent stage because I’ve always wanted to be able to give a customer a blank slate, a ballroom like this, that can be set up a different way for the needs of every customer.