Las Vegas Lights Up for Agents

The glittering destination that is Las Vegas once again put on a show-stopping performance for travel professionals over the past 12 months, winning the Best USA Destination for Travel Agent Support for the fifth straight year in Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

“It’s truly an honor that readers chose Las Vegas once again for this award,” says Art Jimenez, senior director of leisure sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “The leisure sales department at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority works hard to make selling Las Vegas as easy as possible for agents. As a destination marketing organization, we strive to make the Las Vegas brand exciting and appealing.”

Next year, he adds, the destination will continue to re-invent itself. “The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a new 2,995-room casino resort, will open on the Strip on Dec. 15. The property will bring first-to-Las Vegas dining venues and retailers, a spa, three unique pool experiences and nightclubs,” explains Jimenez. With a great location between the Bellagio and CityCenter, this is the only hotel to open in Las Vegas in 2010 and brings with its opening a groundbreaking arts program to the Strip, with different genres represented. Other innovative features of The Cosmopolitan: a departure from nightclubs into “day club” experiences; the Sahra Spa and Hammam; and a first-time “China Poblano” culinary concept from celebrity chef Jose Andres. The resort is set to ring in the new year with performances by Coldplay and Jay-Z, broadcast live on The Cosmopolitan’s 65-ft. marquee overlooking Las Vegas Blvd. Rates start at $199 per night.

Next year will also see the rebranding of the former Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas into a Dolce property, set to re-open in the first quarter of 2011. “Other properties, such as Tropicana Las Vegas, will unveil complete renovations and new attractions, such as the ‘Mob Experience,’” says Jimenez. The “Las Vegas Mob Experience” recreates the heyday of organized crime in Nevada and the rise of Las Vegas with a huge collection of artifacts, videos and memorabilia mixed in with the latest in interactive entertainment technology.

And despite our great chagrin at the Liberace Museum closing its doors for good this past October and Cher departing after almost 200 shows in Las Vegas since 2008, there’s still plenty to see and do. “The entertainment scene will continue to ‘wow’ as Celine Dion returns to Las Vegas in March 2011 to begin a 3-year residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace,” says Jimenez.

The LVCVA’s website is constantly adding new videos on new developments and ways to sell and book travel in Las Vegas, as well as information on commissionable opportunities and on becoming Vegas Certified to enjoy the perks of being a destination expert. This trend will continue next year with the 10-module online certification; graduates are included in a special database available to area hotels that then provide incentives, FAMs and other information to travel professionals. Those who get their Las Vegas Travel Trade Certification are also able to download their certificate of completion or use a designated logo for their business cards or other marketing materials.