Las Vegas Jacks Up Rental Fees

Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)   Las Vegas Jacks Up Rental FeesVirtual view: A ballroom comes to life in three dimensions.
Virtual view: A ballroom comes to life in three dimensions. It now costs more to meet at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where the daily square-footage fee went from 20 to 25 cents as of Jan. 1. The move has raised eyebrows, as it comes during a recession and amid reports of lower attendance at events.

The increase was needed to help pay off the center’s $150 million expansion, due to open on Jan. 1, said Tom Smith, vice president of facilities at the convention center. It also will help offset higher electricity bills that still plague some venues in the West.

Smith believes the rate hike was overdue. The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority has not raised rates since 1998, he noted, when the square-footage price went from 15 to 20 cents.

“The convention center went 15 years without a rate increase,” said Tampa, Fla.-based Robert Canton, director of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ sports, convention and leisure practice. “Even with this increase, the center is extremely competitive.”

In fact, the Sands Expo and Convention Center, also in Las Vegas, charges 35 cents per square foot, per day. The convention center at Mandalay Bay, set to open in January 2003, will charge 30 cents per square foot, per day.

Scott Voeller, vice president of marketing at the 3,309-room Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, says,“Planners ultimately are interested in space, dates and rates, in that order, so I don’t see the increase as affecting the meetings industry here at all.”


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