Night lights: A rendering of
When the new $1.8 billion Cosmopolitan opens on
the Las Vegas Strip in mid-2008, it should be well prepared to
battle its many competitors for meetings business.
Chicago-based Global Hyatt Corp., which has been picked to
manage the 3,000-room casino-hotel, and 3700 Associates LLC,
developers based in New York City and Miami, are designing the
project with groups in mind. This past December, the two partners
invited eight senior meeting planners to a closed-door presentation
of The Cosmopolitan’s preliminary architectural layout, as well as
the retail and food and beverage options under consideration.
The participants approved of the 150,000 square feet of meeting
space, the 70,000-square-foot casino and the 300,000 square feet of
luxury retail on multiple levels. But it was nuts-and-bolts issues
that drove a lively Q&A session.
For Fenton, Mo.-based Mary Clare Darland, a travel buyer for
Maritz Travel, luggage transfer was a concern. “How will group bags
be pulled and stored so they don’t get mixed up with the luggage of
transient guests?” she asked.
The suggestion that bags could be stored in the meeting area
until transfer did not sit well with Michael Barratt, CMP, vice
president of meetings for the Bethesda, Md.-based Automotive
Aftermarket Industry Association. “I might need that meeting space
for something else, and I have to allocate it to luggage?” he
When it came to ballroom design, “Chandeliers can be gorgeous,
but what we really need is ceiling height,” noted Julie Zimmerman,
meeting planner consultant for Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal
What drove the most interaction, however, was the topic of
F&B. When Bill Temper, Las Vegas-based vice president of hotel
operations for 3700 Associates, asked if an in-house celebrity
chef’s involvement in banquet planning and execution would give The
Cosmopolitan an edge, the answer was a resounding “no.” Planners
worried about quality control and consistency.
“I need the hotel to take ownership of my food and beverage
dollars,” said Tim McKenna, CMP, senior manager, strategic
procurement, for Carlson Marketing, based in Minneapolis. “I would
hate to have everything not in control of the hotel, which is who I
have my contract with.”
The concept of a third-party involvement in food service could
prove a hard sell, the hotel chain conceded. “Hyatt is known for
its quality of F&B,” said Robert Purdy, Chicago-based executive
director of salesresorts for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. “If we
give up ownership, I would be very concerned about diluting the
The upshot of this unusual roundtable give-and-take? Back to
the drawing board.