Doesn’t everyone love Las Vegas? It’s been the subject of countless TV shows, movies, songs and stories. It even has its own mythology – what happens there, stays there, even if the slogan went out of official use years ago.
At any given point there are at least a couple of trade shows going on in Las Vegas, along with bachelor parties, lost weekends, shopping extravaganzas and gambling jaunts. At any time of the day, any time of the year, you can lose your shirt, lose your dress, buy a new one, win a million or write up some new business.
Being in the marketing world, we travel to Las Vegas several times a year to represent our clients at a number of different trade shows. Right now we are on a plane flying home from a double-header – two shows in a row; eight days separated by a weekend spent trying to find a bit of peace and quiet by the pool. This was of course fruitless as there is no quiet to be found, anywhere in the city. Anywhere you go, there is music, the jingling of slot machines and the buzzing hum created by thousands of people shouting encouragingly at dice. Noise is everywhere, including in your room, apparently, even if you are on the 38th floor on the “quiet” end of the hotel. Not that I’m bitter, Mr. Wynn. Just tired.
So, with all those aggravations, of course Las Vegas is the worst place in the world to go to a trade show – the worst, except for everywhere else. Why, you ask? Because even though Vegas is a totally artificial city filled with totally artificial attractions (the Eiffel Tower! the pyramids!) and totally (or at least partially) artificial people, it is tailor-made for visitors.
For example, there are plenty of cabs. I know – you probably just stood for half an hour in a cab line at the convention center. Still, it could be a whole lot worse. Just try catching a cab outside a restaurant in Atlanta. Or Dallas. And on the subject of restaurants, there are more restaurants in Vegas than on a fleet of cruise ships, and all within a couple of miles. If you’ve ever had to plan five client dinners and four press events within five days during a trade show, you will understand the value of having two dozen restaurants and twenty meeting rooms of varying sizes within dice-encouraging shouting distance of the convention center.
That’s why, after a few years of shows in Vegas and other cities, Vegas and I came to an understanding. I won’t badmouth Sin City anymore. And I will fly home with eight tiny bottles of lemongrass shampoo in my suitcase. It’s a fair deal.