Las Vegas is a popular tourist destination that thrives on its image and draws consistent visitors from around the globe. Nearly 37 million visitors are drawn to the area for a multitude of reasons including gambling, entertainment, and conventions. As the area has grown over the years it has charged the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) with the daunting mission to attract a 'steadily growing’ number of new and returning visitors and simultaneously operate the Las Vegas Convention facility.
Viva Las Vegas
Las Vegas had long been a booming town before the influx of corporate interest that began to filter into the area’s gaming industry 1960’s as infamous mafia related activities dwindled. New investments brought with them a new direction for Las Vegas that began with the formation of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) in 1959. From its induction, the LVCVA has been charged with tacking the challenges presented by the cyclical nature of tourism. Specifically, they LVCVA has been commissioned for the past 45 years to find ways to continually attract different segments of the population to Las Vegas – which it has been successful in delivering through multiple reincarnations of the destination’s image and marketing and efficient operation of the 3.2 million square foot facility that houses the city’s premier meeting rooms and exhibit halls.
As a result of their diligent research and opportunist strategies, it is apparent that LVCVA has adapted Las Vegas’ marketing strategy to the changes in the gambling and entertainment industry and made continual changes to their branding efforts. They began by highlighting Las Vegas as a family destination in 1998 through the ‘It’s Anything, and Everything’ campaign. Then the LVCVA made a swift turnaround in 2003 when an inventory of where they were and where they would like to be brought a swift reality to their attention – the ‘family destination’ strategy had expired. At that point the LVCVA successfully repositioned Las Vegas again; this time deciding to highlight the benefits as an adult destination through the ‘Vegas stories’ campaign. The refocus on guilt-free indulgence of the campaign was reflected in the ‘What happens here, stays here’ tag line.
The Branding Las Vegas case study illustrates the modern day challenges (1996-2004) that Las Vegas has had to tackle in their quest to position the city as a relevant competitor in the general resort and tourist industry. Heavily stigmatized by the capitalization of its long history as a 24-hour gambling and adult entertainment it has had to strategically reinvent itself into a world class shopping, dining, and family entertainment destination.
Although the LVCVA has been successful in upholding the mission to ‘attract… a steadily increasing number of visitors to support the hotel and motel room inventory’, it has not come without some creative strategy to overcome some fundamental challenges:
1. Las Vegas is a large conglomerate of resorts and casinos that has tried to break through many decades of cluttered images in search of a unified idea to present to the public.
2. While charged with the responsibility to brand and market Las Vegas’ industry, the LVCVA lacks authority over the collection of resorts and casinos; reducing the control of collaborative imaging, promotions, and actual content of Las Vegas attractions.
3. Competition in the gaming and entertainment industry has grown substantially and reduced Las Vegas’ status as the default destination. The accessibility of gambling and entertainment in destinations such as Atlantic City and Native American Casinos has lured potential visitors away from Las Vegas.
Evaluation of Alternatives
Using the expectancy-value model, the LVCVA had to make some important evaluations and assessments of strategies going forward.
- Could the LVCVA stimulate a real positioning change for current and futures Las Vegas