Mike Johnson is industry vice president for Global Gaming Expo (G2E) events at Reed Exhibitions, encompassing the casino gaming portfolio for the world’s leading events organizer; in partnership with the American Gaming Association (AGA). In this capacity he is responsible for the overall strategic management of G2E and G2E Asia. During his time with Reed, he has managed a diverse portfolio of business across the United States and Asia, and is also a certified audiovisual technician and lighting designer, having worked previously at Scholastic, Inc. and the law offices of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP. He is a member of Global Gaming Business Magazine’s top “40 Under 40” for 2013 and a guest lecturer at various universities on the development of the MICE industry as a business and tourism driver throughout the world.
The property, located on the grounds of the classic Sahara casino on the northern Strip, is rooted in strong nightlife and restaurant offerings which are well integrated into its gaming floor, all with a younger customer base in mind. Rebuilding, renovating, and rebranding is something we’ve seen a lot of over the years in Las Vegas in particular, as America’s gaming hub continues to evolve into a multi-faceted entertainment destination. Just this year for example we saw Bills Gamblin Hall reemerge as The Cromwell, and The Hotel come back online as The Delano, which have helped Las Vegas post solid numbers throughout 2014.
In looking regionally and internationally, the common trend here is a desire to build fresh or reinvent with a fully integrated model that drives visitorship from as many segments as possible. I had the pleasure of visiting the Horseshoe in Cleveland earlier this summer and was very impressed with the variety of gaming and non-gaming activities—all well positioned in the heart of the city with a fresh sleek look and feel. The Philadelphia properties are quite similar, as is plans for upcoming IR’s in Washington, DC and Boston. Even in Macau, which is known mainly to date as a pure gaming destination, added emphasis is being placed on non-gaming activities as the local Government works to diversify Macau into a travel destination for all. The remaining properties now rising on the Cotai strip have a very strong focus on restaurant, nightlife, retail, and other forms of entertainment, in addition to their gaming offerings. In fact, nearby Henquin Island will be an entirely non-gaming resort destination designed to pull more families to the region. Perhaps the best example of IR success however is located in Singapore with their two properties doing exceptionally well, and perhaps inspiring expansion in Japan.
As an exhibition organizer we’re proud to be part of this equation as well, with many IR’s incorporating at least some element of a MICE component (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions). In fact, corporately across Reed Exhibitions, the majority of our US tradeshow business is situated in Las Vegas, with most shows specifically located within an integrated gaming resort. In addition to G2E, we also hold major B2B and B2C tradeshows and conventions in Las Vegas for the jewelry, hardware, security, eye care/eyewear, golf, sports entertainment, and fashion industries. The reasons for those choices in venue are themselves multi-faceted, but simply put we aim to serve our customers with as many business and leisure opportunities as possible, supported by strong infrastructure, accessibility, and hotel room allotments. All in all Las Vegas is an exceptional city for conventions which we refer to in our business as “tier 1” destinations, which include only a select few like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. In looking regionally and internationally again, integrated resort venues are very appealing to event organizers for that very same reason—supporting event clientele with as many business and leisure resources as possible.
All of these trends and more will be covered at length at G2E this fall through an array of seminar topics and exhibitor product and services. You can register right now at www.globalgamingexpo.com. I look forward to seeing you there.