Attendees today are not necessarily seeking the identical things they sought a few years ago. Demand for outdoor space has increased, as well as for more robust internet service and expansive food and beverage options are a must.
Wynn has been a leader in this kind of creative event offerings. With that in mind, we sat down with Steve Blanner, vice president of sales for Wynn Las Vegas, to discuss what's new with the Las Vegas entertainment leader. Below are highlights from that conversation.
Thanks so much for joining us, Steve. For those who have not be to Vegas, or to a Wynn property in the last couple years, what's new or might be unexpected for them?
Well, since 2019, we completed a 300,000-square-foot convention center expansion. It's got an 84,000-square-foot ballroom and a 40,000-square-foot outdoor pavilion area, with terraces about 20,000 square feet that really capitalize on the natural light — all surrounding the golf course. The current space just kind of flows seamlessly to the new space.
We actually opened that in March of 2020 — not the greatest timing in the world — but that means 2022 is actually our first full year of really being able to utilize it and having groups break it in for us. It's been very, very well received.
Just this past July, we also completed a $200 million renovation of every room and suite at Wynn Las Vegas. So anybody who hasn't been out with us since before the summer will have a new room product, as well.
People are looking for more space now. The days of cramming into a room are kind of done, so we're in a very fortunate position with these additions. We didn't add anymore sleeping rooms, so we pretty much doubled the size of our meeting space per guest. So now we can allow groups to spread out a little bit and can give them a little extra space.
Since we opened back up, we've also had two new restaurants: Delilah, based off the theme of 1920s, 1930s supper club with live entertainment every night. It's been widely popular. And then we've also opened a new coastal Mexican restaurant called Casa Playa over at Encore. We also opened two new lounges.
A lot of companies are kind of scaling back right now as they're trying to figure out how to emerge from the pandemic. We've kind of taken the opposite approach by going on the offensive. We've spent almost a billion dollars redoing the property. The idea was to come out of the pandemic firing on all cylinders, and I think that's what we've done.
What would you say sets Wynn apart from other properties when it comes to its group offerings?
I would say our outdoor venues and the scalability we have with these venues and the amount of them makes it perfect for groups. We have four venues that can do a 3,000-person party — all outside, all different. Since the pandemic, outdoor space has become very, very sought after. To do meals, breaks or receptions outside is something that a lot of groups are asking for and we're in a very fortunate position to be able to offer.
Speaking of meals, something else that sets Wynn apart is that for group dining, every meal is plated, given to the server and brought to the table. We have a conveyor-belt system, and can do a 2,000-person event and give you a choice of beef or fish or, you know, or a choice of dessert, which I think is another thing that on that scale and that volume is very difficult to pull off.
What else are meeting planners looking for that's maybe distinct from what you were hearing requests for a few years ago?
Technology is changing and a lot of groups are. We went through this virtual wave and there's still remnants of that, which we can accommodate now, but I think everybody wants that face to face interaction.
Sustainability is a hot topic, as well. We have solar panels on the roof of all of our new space and can operate on 100 percent renewable energy. We also have a program where we can ensure an event has a zero carbon footprint.
Are there other activities and offerings for, for groups, you know, after between sessions?
We have an 18-hole championship golf course on property, which a great option for our incentive groups. On Nov. 8, we're debuting a brand new show at Wynn Las Vegas called Awakening, which we spent $120 million to produce, which is a pretty unheard of number in this day.
You can shop, you can go to the spa, you can gamble, go to the sports book — we pretty much have it all.