Fighting the Coronavirus in Las Vegas

As the Coronavirus lingers on and cases continue to rise many businesses have closed while the travel industry has taken a big hit. The Casino business being part of the travel industry has taken a huge blow to its bottom line with no other place like Vegas being hit the hardest. But with all of the doom and gloom and the future projections being unfavorable, Las Vegas is not taking this Virus sitting down and has been adapting to the continuing change.

What is Vegas doing to Counter the restrictions of the Pandemic?

In an article published in the Wall Street Journal on October 25, 2020, Nat Ives interviews Kate Wik who is the chief marketing officer at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. We will link to the article, although only WSJ subscribers can access the full interview. Because of this we will discuss some of the most important aspects of the article to provide an insight to Ms. Wik’s challenge for the current and future impact on Las Vegas.

According to the Convention and Visitors Authority Las Vegas has seen a drop from 28.4 million people last August to 12.7 million in August of 2020. No doubt a huge drop but considering the circumstances I was surprised that it wasn’t more considering that a large majority of visitors fly to get to this gambling mecca.

Because of the massive cancellations of many of the Trade Shows, Ms. Wik is focusing on hybrid versions of these shows where there are much smaller gatherings with more people “attending” the conventions virtually. She anticipates this to continue even after the Pandemic as there are always those who cannot attend the conventions. But in many industries, these face to face trades shows are where contacts are made, and business gets done.

Two commercials which were created to bring Vegas back to fore after the quasi re-opening were “The Light” and “Vegas Smart”. These were intended to make the public aware that Vegas was back in business, although at lower capacity, and that health protocols were put in place to guarantee the safety of visitors to the city. Another push after the opening was the fact that many of the Sports teams were back playing, and as the betting capital of the world, Vegas was the number one destination to enjoy the games while betting on them.

With many shows reopening at the end of October and beginning of November, Vegas is set to start attracting more visitors than the previous months. The latest iteration of the get back to Vegas campaign is the “Let your hair down but keep your mask up” marketing push.

Credit must go to CMO Kate Wik and her team for re-inventing themselves during one of the most impactful Black Swans of all time. This marketing challenge was one that needed to be addressed in record time and without hindsight of knowing what the future holds for the Pandemic and the new rules and regulations implemented by the State of Nevada. Never has Vegas confronted such a challenge in its long history, but we are confident, as before, that Vegas will rise to the occasion with Ms. Wik’s leadership and laser focus.


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