When seeking out new and exciting places to hold your event, casino properties can be a perfect solution. Many casinos in the Midwest have expanded to include luxury hotels with numerous Las Vegas-like amenities to complement the casino. Options include golf courses, spas, boutiques and a variety of restaurants to meet everyone’s tastes. There are even venues that offer family friendly activities such as mini waterpark-like pool areas, planned children’s programs with arts and crafts and other options to keep non-gambling fans of all ages entertained off the casino floor.
With many resort-like casino properties available in the Midwest, planners are able to find centrally located and affordable choices where they can hold their event and extracurricular activities under one roof.
Here’s what two Midwest planners have to say about taking a “gamble” at a casino property:
Midwest Meetings: What do you like about holding your event(s) at a casino property from a planning side?
Tom Harvey: Based on our needs and wants, various department heads at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino (HP) were assigned to find answers and solutions. Previous events were held [at locations] where resources were limited, planning was not as thorough and sometimes left it to us to determine solutions.
Scott E. King: What we enjoy about holding an event specifically at French Lick Springs Resort & Casino, is that they work with us to create a conference that allows our attendees to take advantage of all the features of the property. Whether it is helping with planning our reception menus, their audiovisual department meeting with us to provide design assistance to make our meeting presentations “pop” or setting up tours of their historic property; the team at French Lick really work collectively to make the most of our meeting. When we are onsite for the conference, their conference and casino personnel assist our attendees and really become an extension of our staff.
MM: Why did you decide to use a casino venue?
TH: The facility was big enough for our event and location was accessible to our clients. Also it gave our attendees additional entertainment choices after our event concluded.
SK: We selected our location not only because it is a casino, but also because it is a destination. The facilities are not only historical, but the overnight rooms are well appointed. Their golf courses are nationally ranked, full service spas, fine dining, etc. It gives our attendees so many choices beyond gaming, but at the same time is great for those that wish to gamble.
MM: What kind of feedback or response have you had from your attendees?
TH: An overwhelming positive feedback was received. “Why would you ever have this event anywhere else?” was heard from many of our patrons.
SK: What I hear frequently from attendees is the overnight rooms at the properties possess high-end/luxury finishes and comfort you will find at downtown/city hotels without the luxury price. It’s also the incidental items, like free parking and valets, that make the overall experience at a casino venue a comfortable one for attendees as well as an economical one even if your attendee is not a gambler. Again, people find French Lick to be a destination conference, rather than “just” a gaming venue.
MM: What do you think are the most beneficial things about holding an event at a casino and how do you incorporate this type of venue into your program? Do you have any planned events featuring the casino? Do you set up any special offers or incentives with them that you share with the attendees?
TH: Amenities are many: valet parking in February in Indiana and world-class culinary experiences to name a few. While no events are currently planned featuring the casino, patrons who signed up for the Club Centaur the night of our event were given vouchers for a small stipend of money to gamble. This was promoted and several of our guests visited the casino.
SK: We have been very fortunate to work closely with the casino staff at French Lick Casino to produce our own private slot tournament for our conference attendees. We even “crown” a slot King or Queen each year and incorporate the winner in our marketing and promotion of the next annual conference. The casino management and marketing personnel work with us well in advance to come up with new and innovative ways to make the slot tournament better each year. Our attendees love the exclusivity of the private tournament and novice gamblers are more comfortable going to the casino as a group and share the experience with their fellow conference attendees.