MGM Resorts ‘Convene with Confidence’ Plan Utilizes Rapid COVID-19 Testing

Posted on: September 29, 2020, 02:43h. 

Last updated on: September 29, 2020, 03:49h.

MGM Resorts has developed a plan that it hopes will return conventions to Las Vegas and its US properties once states allow large indoor gatherings.

MGM Resorts Las Vegas conventions
MGM Resorts has announced optional CLEAR Health Pass kiosks screening technology for conventions moving forward. (Image: CLEAR)

“Convene with Confidence” is the casino giant’s health and safety approach to hosting meetings and exhibitions in the wake COVID-19. Along with appropriate cleaning and social distancing measures, MGM is offering convention organizers additional safeguards to protect attendees from spreading or contracting the coronavirus.

MGM has partnered with Impact Health to provide rapid on-site COVID-19 molecular testing. Results are produced within 20 minutes.

Nevada’s largest employer has additionally contracted CLEAR to leverage its Health Pass technology product. Health Pass requires attendees to complete real-time health questionnaires on their smartphones, and CLEAR kiosks conduct temperature screenings.

Conventions Critical

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) reports that 6.65 million people arrived in town last year primarily to attend a meeting. That was a 2.3 percent increase from 2018.

The Authority says convention attendees typically spend 18 percent more than leisure travelers. Conventions directly support 43,500 jobs and generate an annual economic output of around $6.6 billion.

COVID-19 suspended conventions throughout Nevada. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) continues to prohibit indoor gatherings of more than 50 people, but his office says he’ll be providing an update on that regulation this evening.

Las Vegas has nearly 12 million square feet of exhibit and convention space. And MGM Resorts, the largest casino operator on the Strip, has vast amounts of indoor square footage reserved for such events.

MGM Property                               Meeting Square Feet

Mandalay Bay                                      1.8 million

MGM Grand                                         854,000

Aria                                                       500,000

Bellagio                                                200,000

Delano                                                  196,000

Mirage                                                  172,000

Park MGM                                            77,000

Luxor                                                    41,000

New York-New York                            21,500

Excalibur                                               12,200

Vdara                                                     10,000

MGM is hopeful to resume convention business as soon as safely possible, but Atif Rafiq, MGM’s president of commercial and growth, says the company is being realistic and patient.

“We’re not under any illusion that we’ll be back to normal business volumes as it relates to convention and meeting spaces any time soon. But we’re eager to get going. It’s a very meaningful part of Las Vegas visitation,” he explained to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

2020 Nightmare

Las Vegas hasn’t welcomed a convention attendee in months, as COVID-19 forced event organizers to postpone or cancel their gatherings. Through July 2020, convention attendance totaled a little more than 1.7 million people — a 57.3 percent decline.

Las Vegas Sands President Rob Goldstein said during the company’s earnings call last month that the casino company’s model doesn’t work in a global pandemic.

I don’t want to predict [2021], because I don’t feel I have enough insight into what might happen to the vaccine or the virus … but I would be less than honest if I didn’t tell you that Las Vegas is in a very difficult place,” the executive stated.

“Without the hotel being full, without conventions driving the rates midweek, without the banquet piece, it’s just very hard for our model to work,” Goldstein added. “That’s true in the entire marketplace.”