Meeting Professionals are generally list makers, but when it comes to planning an event at a casino property one requires a unique set of considerations. Planners who have held events at casino resorts know firsthand what to look for and ways to maximize their time and attendee experience.
Jennifer Braun, CMP, CSEP, CEO, Type A Events, has years of experience in the world of casinos and offered many of the tips and advice included below. Once you decide using a casino resort is a safe bet, we hope you find this checklist useful for your next event!
- Where is the casino located? Since many can be in remote areas, make sure you have enough rooms allocated. There may not be overflow hotels within easy walking distance.
- Investigate transportation options available for attendees. Does the resort offer free shuttle service to and from the airport or nearby attractions?
- Are there enough onsite activities available for people not interested in the casino? If not, seek alternatives including transportation and available hours.
Logistics & Meeting Space
- Since casino floors can be large and confusing, do a walkthrough from where your guests will enter to discover any issues they might encounter in finding the hotel check-in, guestrooms and meeting rooms. With the resort staff’s help, find the best route for your attendees. Ask about signage and if additional signs can be provided for your group if necessary.
- Is there smoking allowed? In some casinos smoking is still allowed and that could likely be a concern for your guests. Find alternative routes for people to avoid smoky areas when possible.
- Casinos usually offer more unique meeting space due to their entertainment and special event component. Find out what’s available and utilize their built-in amenities like auditoriums, stages, sound systems and lighting. Make the most of your budget by incorporating these types of existing setups.
- Casinos are well-equipped to handle VIP treatment. Incorporate their programs and amenities for your own VIPs. Ask about special suites, services and other perks available.
- One of the main benefits is the “resort destination” aspect of casino resorts. Highlight what’s available to your guests, from spas, pools, shopping, dining, golf and entertainment, and any associated costs. If there is onsite entertainment during your event, find out if group tickets and special pricing are available.
- Check out what complimentary services are available. Do they offer free valet service or drinks on the casino floor? Let your attendees know what’s included.
Event Schedule & Themes
- Build on the strengths of the casino and integrate them into your schedule. If you think your guests will likely stay up late enjoying the casino, set your general session to start a little later than usual.
- Share the aforementioned amenities and available hours in your conference material.
- Casinos tend to have a lot of onsite décor. Be sure to ask what is available when doing your initial planning to see if you can incorporate them into your event. This is a great way to save on extra expenses while still creating a “wow” factor.
Casino resorts have a lot to offer for gamblers and non-gamblers alike. When you review the many options available and discover the potential cost savings in using them, and factor in the overall experience, they can be a great fit for your attendees and organization. Approach potential scrutiny head on and include all the benefits when explaining why this type of venue meets your needs and goals.
“These days, we meeting planners face a good deal of judgment when placing events in locations associated with ‘fun.’ Ensure you have talking points ready to share with stakeholders about why selection of a casino made financial and strategic sense,” shares Braun.