As business travel is rebounding, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has unveiled a series of advertisements promoting the city as a place to have conventions and trade shows as well as corporate meetings.
These print and digital ads aren’t like the consumer-driven “What happens here, stays here,” pieces. They’re directly targeted at the decision-makers who determine where and when an event will occur.
Like most Las Vegas ads, they make a point with a memorable visual. The campaigns have a collective price of $4.1 million, which includes production and the media buy, with one campaign running through May and the second through the end of 2015.
Incidentally, even though it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison because the consumer campaign involves television production and reaches a broader audience, the authority is spending $22.3 million on its summer campaign, including $1.6 million in production and $20.7 million in media buys.
The timing for running the new business ads is perfect.
The Alexandria, Va.-based Global Business Travel Association recently said in its quarterly report that business management is gaining confidence in the economic recovery’s strength. History tells us that whenever that occurs, travel and discretionary budgets increase and business travelers trek with fewer restrictions.
The association projects a 6.8 percent increase in business travel to $292.3 billion in 2014.
That’s great news for a city like Las Vegas which hosts more than 21,000 conventions, trade shows and corporate meetings in an average year.
The two advertising campaigns reviewed by the authority’s board of directors target two different business audiences.
“Our goal was to create messaging that cuts through the clutter and stands out amongst our competition,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing in a briefing to the board.
The business-to-business campaign is called “Neon Signs.” The theme is to present an image of a large neon sign like a Strip marquee designed to show that even a mundane gathering can be exciting in Las Vegas.
One neon sign depicted in an ad promotes the annual meeting of amateur philatelists with “new paradigms in stamp collecting, mounting and degumming.”
Another ballyhoos the “second annual competitive meditation divisional qualifiers and ultralow-impact yoga semifinals.”
The tagline is that Las Vegas makes every meeting exciting, reminding people of the hotels, restaurants and entertainment they’ll find here and the nonstop flights to more than 130 different cities and facilities for events of every size.
“No wonder people love meeting in Vegas,” the ad says.
The second campaign is geared to C-suite executives — CEOs and chief financial officers.
“The goal of the campaign,” Tull said, “is to position Las Vegas as a serious place to do business while highlighting our unique flair and personality by incorporating Las Vegas-based entertainers.”
The campaign, called “Entertain You,” got cooperation from Strip performers, including a showgirl, a Cirque du Soleil acrobat and magician David Copperfield.
The ad’s headline says, “We’re here to do more than entertain you,” and the text reminds readers that not only is Las Vegas a top entertainment destination but it’s also a value proposition.
“Consistently rated No. 1 in overall value, our state-of-the-art facilities and renowned service expertise make Las Vegas the place to get the very most out of your next meeting or event,” the ad says.
The Cirque acrobat ad shot, by the way, is a real person doing the splits between two work spaces.
While Las Vegas’ competitors love to tell clients that the city is all play and no work when it comes to business, most meeting planners know the reality of what the city has to offer.
They like the close proximity of McCarran International Airport, the multiple nonstop flights and the relatively inexpensive fares. They love the multiple prices offered by resorts of all flavors. They know that Las Vegas understands customer service and delivers.
They understand that closing the deal sometimes means a round of golf or a round of drinks or show tickets to see a headlining entertainer.
Most shows that reach Las Vegas discover that their attendance is greater because of the city’s allure. Lately, some increases relate to that aforementioned consumer confidence. But over time, Las Vegas has consistently produced better-attended shows, many major events producers say.
And, as all of us can attest, we’re ready for more.