As the meetings industry regains its footing in the pandemic-recovery environment, planners are facing yet another challenge: how to create effective events that engage and impact employees shaped by generational differences.
In a report on ‘Building a Multigenerational Workforce,’ the Creditors Adjustment Bureau financial firm analyzed 2020 data and found that Baby Boomers made up almost 19 percent of the U.S. workforce, Generation Xers were about 36 percent, Millennials were just under 40 percent, and Gen Zers were a little over 6 percent of the collective employee base.
Noting that the worldviews of individuals in each generation are shaped by formative experiences including world events and economic or cultural shifts that interact with the aging process, the report postulates that understanding what makes each generation tick “can be crucial to business success.”
That same success principle applies to meetings and events, according to Mindy Hanzlik, manager of experience design and experience and event solutions with The Collective, a division of BCD Meetings & Events.
“There are four distinct generations in the workforce right now, and each brings their own personality to the event,” she said. “They engage with content differently and are motivated by different things. They have different interests, different expectations and diverse life experiences that inform the lens through which they view your event.”
For a meeting to be successful, Hanzlik added, “Planners need to find a way to capture their attendees’ imagination, create content and experiences that will resonate with them, and motivate them to move forward with the initiatives and expectations laid out during your event.”
That makes selecting a destination with the infrastructure and services that can support planners in meeting all those objectives a crucial first step. In that regard, Lisa Messina, chief sales officer with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), is not shy about explaining why and how Las Vegas is perfectly positioned as a multigenerational meetings and event destination.
“We built Las Vegas with multi-generational expectations in mind,” Messina said. “From a planner standpoint, the very same things that make Las Vegas a world-class destination for our leisure guests also appeal to our meeting and convention planners and meeting participants.”
Messina noted that the challenge with creating meetings and events for a multigenerational audience is that, “it taxes the dynamics of planning and budgeting.” From setting up meeting rooms, to planning and producing sessions and evening events, planners are now tasked with accommodating all the different ways generations learn, communicate, collaborate, network and build relationships, and engage with technology.
“Planners have to think about all these things,” Messina said. “It’s no longer a linear process of planning from A to Z; it’s a Rubik’s Cube. Planners are constantly trying to get all the colors lined up.”
Here’s an overview of some of the advantages Las Vegas offers planners who are crafting multigenerational meetings and events.
• Transportation options to and within the destination
Noted Julie Wong, owner of The Event Concierge planning service, “It’s easy to travel in and out of Las Vegas, and easy to get around.”
Molly Sampson, senior director of programs with Down to the Details, said the short travel distance from the airport to hotels is a plus for all generations, and there are multiple options to get around in Las Vegas that can accommodate the preferences of younger and older meeting attendees.
“A Boomer might want a sedan service where they’ve got somebody waiting for them when they arrive at the airport, and now we’ve got autonomous vehicles running throughout,” said Messina. “We’ve also got our low emission Vegas Loop system that is a little bit more appealing to Gen Z and Millennials who feel they are thinking about Earth more than their forefathers have.”
• An abundance of accommodation options
“Hotels and resorts are now set up to offer everyone something special, including the non-gambler,” said Tammy Wightman, independent meeting planner. “There are foodie restaurants, shows, spas, shopping, people watching, the landscaping inside the hotels, and of course casinos. The variety of Las Vegas is appealing to all generations.”
In terms of specific generational appeal, Messina noted that Boomers generally prefer a more traditional hotel experience. “They want to check in with a person and have customer service available from a concierge they can talk to in person,” she said. “They want to hang their clothes in a closet and have a full bathroom, and probably a desk.”
Millennials generally have a different set of preferences when it comes to where they stay. “They want to be by the action, and they just need a place to throw their bag,” Messina said. “They want self-check-in on their phone, and wherever they have their laptop is a good place to work—they don't need to sit in their rooms.”
She noted that Las Vegas accommodations can collectively accommodate every preference, including some hotels that are designed with specific age ranges in mind.
“For example, The LINQ is a real fan favorite with some of our younger travelers who have been raised on their mobile apps,” Messina said. “The LINQ has been built for that. You can go to a self-serve wine bar, and none of the gaming experiences include a dealer—it’s all technology driven.”
Messina pointed to the “hotel within a hotel” concept as another unique infrastructure element that sets Las Vegas apart from competing destinations and eases planning and contracting for meeting planners.
“Take Mandalay Bay as an example,” she said. “You can contract with Mandalay Bay and within Mandalay Bay you can get a Four Seasons accommodation or a Delano accommodation, and you walk to the Luxor on the enclosed skywalk. We have these concepts up and down the Strip and everywhere in the destination.”
• A wide variety of activities and attractions
Noted Wong, “There is so much to do, that Las Vegas accommodates all ages and speaks to the masses.”
Messina pointed to the diverse types of activities and attractions available to attendees in Las Vegas. “From Topgolf to catching a game at Allegiant Stadium or T-Mobile Arena, to going to the Neon Museum or AREA15—which in and of itself has tons of activations inside—these options can tap all types of generational needs and mindsets.”
• Food and beverage choices from fine dining to grab-and-go
According to Sampson, “As you get older the high-end restaurants become more important. They want to have something a little more elegant. For the younger generations, it’s not so much about going to a fine steak restaurant as just going to a great place to eat, so the food can be a little bit more simple and not as expensive.
“In Las Vegas, there are so many different dining options right there on the properties that can accommodate all interests and dietary needs,” she added. “People don’t have to leave the property, and that makes it a lot easier.”
• The multigenerational challenge isn’t going away anytime soon
The challenges planners face organizing meetings for multiple generations is not going away any time soon, as Boomers extend their work lives and more members of Gen Z enter the workforce.
As a result, “The notion that majority rules in planning meetings and events just doesn’t apply anymore,” Messina said. “Planners have to consider multiple and diverse groups of people because that’s the key to a successful event. It’s similar to how we approach menu planning today, with all the diverse preferences from low carb to vegan to gluten free. In the same way, when it comes to different generations, you’ve got to take that diversity of thought and apply it to meetings and events in general.”
That diversity is why Las Vegas is ideally suited to fulfill the vision and objectives planners have for meetings and events attended by multiple generations.
“We’ve been built for the diversity of generations,” Messina said, “and we continue to keep that in the forefront of our innovations and our progress because we want to keep you coming back.”
Bleisure Travel Trend Helps Drive Meeting Attendance
According to a recent report from Morning Consult, blended travel—sometimes referred to a bleisure travel or workcations—is a rapidly growing segment of the travel industry, boosted in the last two years by more flexible work schedules and locations offered by many employers. The report notes that at least 40 percent of travelers plan to take a trip that blends leisure and business travel in the coming year.
That bodes well for meeting planners who want to generate high attendance figures for their event in Las Vegas.
“As soon as a meeting in Las Vegas is announced, people start thinking about what they want to do on the front or back end of that meeting,” said Lisa Messina, chief sales officer with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “That ultimately helps our convention and meeting planners because it drives attendance which is one of the metrics that relates to having a successful meeting or event.”
Reach Out to the Experts at LVCVA
Messina encourages planners to contact the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau (LVCVA). “Give us a call. We are out on our properties all day long, and we have about 75,000 meetings and events in Las Vegas a year, small to large, so our destination sales experts can do two things. We can connect you with other meeting planners who have a shared vision or are facing similar situations so they can share their best practices with you. And, once you have your vision and your plan in place, we can connect you with the right partners, from hotels and venues to attractions, that are going to help you fulfill that vision.”
Plan your multigenerational Las Vegas event now.