ARIA's Convention Center Expansion Increases Meeting Space to 500,000 Square Feet
ARIA Resort & Casino has completed the expansion of its convention center, adding 200,000 sq. ft. of space over four floors of the hotel. The new space incorporates features including views, natural light, outdoor areas and non-traditional meeting areas.
The $170-million-dollar construction project began in May 2016, and the expansion was completed in Feb. 2018, increasing the footprint of the convention space to 500,000 sq. ft. The new space officially opened on Feb 15.
I asked Tony Yousfi, ARIA’s vice president of sales, why meeting organizers might choose ARIA when there is such a plethora of convention space available throughout Las Vegas. He believes that the hotel’s atmosphere and layout both play an important role, citing the natural light that is pervasive throughout as a key differentiator.
“The convention experience starts from the moment you walk into the hotel and you look up into natural sky,” said Yousfi. “There’s more natural lighting throughout, you don’t get that dark, gloomy feeling that many people associate with Las Vegas meetings.”
The convention space is in a self-contained area, not on the way to anything else, so there isn’t transient traffic. One thing that is important to meeting planners is how far of a walk they – and their guests - will have to get to the convention space. This is one of the benefits of holding a meeting at ARIA: the walk from most sleeping rooms to the new East Convention Center space takes less than five minutes and does not involve cutting through a casino.
“When you’re in our meeting space, your group feels like they’re here to do business,” Yousfi said.
A commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility also makes ARIA a good choice for environmentally-conscious meeting organizers. ARIA is LEED Gold certified and has earned five keys – the highest rating possible - from Green Key Global's Eco-Rating Program.
Surplus (prepared but unserved) banquet food donations from a program begun at ARIA in 2016 and standardized by MGM Resorts International and Three Square Food Bank in January 2018 are expected to provide 800,000 nutritious meals by 2020.
The expanded space includes three new ballrooms, two with built-in stages plus the 21,000 sq. ft. Primrose Ballroom that divides into sections, two of which have verandas, and pre-function space. The two indoor/open-air verandas feature retractable windows and dramatic views of The Park and T-Mobile Arena and can accommodate receptions for up to 2,000 attendees.
Also new is an exclusive loading dock with a large freight elevator – large enough to get a Hummer up to the fourth floor.
The expansion includes indoor-outdoor areas with floor-to-ceiling windows. There are 15 new meeting rooms ranging in size from 459 to 5,400 sq. ft., plus a 1,086-square-foot outdoor terrace.
The Cypress Executive Lounge offers an unconventional take on executive meeting space. The 3,000-square-foot space features a fully stocked pantry, three private suites for personal workspaces and one-on-one meetings, a conference room with flexible furniture set ups for up to 30, and a study.
Stephan Gray, vice president of corporate marketing for Kronos Incorporated, talked about the ongoing success of their annual customer conference at ARIA. He had assumed they would need to find a new venue to keep up with the event’s growth – but the expansion opened up new opportunities.
“With the new expansion, we were able to reconsider our multi-year plan, keeping our customers at a [AAA] Five Diamond resort that offers superior meeting space and top-notch conference and catering teams,” said Gray.
Matt Thompson, Adobe’s executive vice president of worldwide field operations, expressed similar optimism about the expansion.
“We’ve enjoyed a strong working relationship with ARIA for several years, hosting our annual sales conference at the property,” said Thompson.
He continued, “The experience for our meeting and our employees has been first-rate every time. With the convention center expansion – alongside our continued growth – we know ARIA will continue to accommodate our group now and into the future.”
For those looking for off-site options for special events, The Park, T-Mobile Arena and Toshiba Plaza are just steps away and provide a variety of settings, entertainment and food & beverage options.
“Convention business demand at ARIA continues to grow, especially as planners discover we can accommodate larger groups, allowing us to book into 2020 and beyond,” Yousfi stated. “With this expansion, we can better service our clients’ needs and increase the spectrum of events we can host.”