In the face of the massacre of concert-goers Sunday night in Las Vegas, the event industry is battling back, aiding the wounded and going forward with many scheduled events.
On Sunday, a shooter killed 59 people and injured more than 500, firing from his 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel onto a crowd of some 22,000 attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The country music event took place in an open-air, ground-level venue across the famed Vegas Strip, only 400 yards away from the shooter’s hotel.
Although the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority does not yet have an official estimate of events affected by the massacre, Special Events has learned that many events are going forward.
For example, Wedding MBA, which draws an estimated 5,000 wedding pros, kicked off as planned yesterday. Also, IMEX America 2017 will run as scheduled Oct. 10-12, according to IMEX CEO Carina Bauer.
PUT OFF THE PARTY Some local events were indeed cancelled yesterday, largely because the city was in no mood to celebrate, observers say.
“We had an event scheduled tonight at the Vortex space at the Linq that was cancelled; I think it is more about not feeling like celebrating than being afraid to hold an event,” Kellie Hanley, president of Las Vegas-based AWG Destination Services, tells Special Events. “All of us in the hospitality industry take this very seriously and understand that it is our responsibility to ensure that guests at events we are involved with are safe and that there is a plan in place in case something unfortunate occurs. All of Las Vegas is grieving. This is the city where people come to enjoy life, let loose and forget about their problems; hate and violence are not welcome here.”
The team from the Las Vegas office of big DMC Hello Destination Management knows too well how horrible the situation was. “We actually had three of our staff there enjoying the concert and one was my coordinator,” says Michael Brown, CSEP, executive producer. In some good news, he says, “They are all fine, but took the day off as they are a little traumatized.” But events seem to be moving forward, he says: “We have an event for 5,000 guests in front of T-Mobile and the Park on October 19. Haven’t heard anything from them yet, but assuming we will soon. Not sure if they will make a move or not--crazy times here.”
Jaki Baskow, head of iconic Vegas DMC Baskow and Associates, sees events moving forward. At present, “Our clients still doing their meetings,” she tells Special Events.
Dona Liston, owner of Lambermont Events in San Antonio, is in Las Vegas for Wedding MBA. She tells Special Events that the city “looks like Vegas as usual, with lots of police presence.” She adds that U.S. president Donald Trump is arriving in the city today, "which we have been warned will mean roads will be closed in some areas.”
INDUSTRY STEPS UP TO HELP The team from Hosts Global Las Vegas has been busy donating blood to help the wounded, notes Joshua Jones, DMCP, regional president for Las Vegas and southern California. He adds, “The Hosts Las Vegas team is committed to supporting our beloved city, fellow Las Vegans, visitors and all those affected by this senseless act of violence. We have received word that all proper security measures are in place for IMEX and other upcoming trade shows and that business will go on. Today, as always, the Las Vegas hospitality community will stand strong together and help in any way we can.”
The Knot and Wedding Wire, both part of Wedding MBA, have turned tonight's party into a joint fundraiser for Las Vegas victims and the community. The event will now take place from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at JEWEL nightclub at Aria. Suggested donations of $10 will benefit the Las Vegas Victims Fund; The Knot and Wedding Wire will also donated $10 ($5 each) for each person who attends this event.
The team from DMC Destinations by Design is at work to make sure clients’ plans come through “We are working diligently with our clients and partners to ensure their concerns are properly addressed and as always doing whatever it takes to meet their needs,” says Josh Martin, DBD brand marketing manager. “We stand strong with the Las Vegas community and together as one, we will persevere.
MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay Hotel, has established a hotline for the victims, their family members and others who were directly impacted by recent events; call 702/692-2300 or toll-free 888/634-7111.
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