The Signature Sales Meeting and Trade Show 2013 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. (See other peoples posts and pictures at #Signaturesales2013 on facebook)
NOTE: This Blog post is currently UNDER CONSTRUCTION! I want to put it up now, but please come back and check it out again when I finish it! You can get updates if you “LIKE” my facebook travel page: http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel
Wednesday 1pm: Road Trip! Off to Las Vegas, Nevada for the annual Signature Sales Meeting and Trade Show! Finished my last minute work and ran a few errands, packed up the car and hit the highway. 101 south to the 134 east to the 210 east to the 10 east to the 215 east to the 15 north. Other people from my office chose to fly but I prefer to drive.
Stopped in Barstow for gas and a Double-Double burger at In-N-Out.
Weird rainbow and purple desert skies at sunset and the approaching lights of Stateline:
“Vegas Baby, Vegas!”
The first thing you notice about the MGM Grand is it’s money green color. The second thing you notice is that it’s HUGE! You’ll notice this as you drive around the self parking structure and as you try to navigate your way to the registration desk, and as you stand in the long line to check in. You’ll be reminded during your stay of how huge it is just trying to get from point A to point B, in particular the distance from your room to the Conference Center where your sales meeting and trade show is being held.
It truly is a “mega-resort” and has something for just about everyone. It also has the two biggest problem of a “mega-resort” operation: nobody is directly in charge and the important details get missed and/or overlooked!
Wednesday 6pm: Standing for 30 minutes in line at Check In until an “on the ball” Manager came and helped speed things up. You can see your tweets on the big screen while you wait…
There was a good Group Rate offered to our convention with substantial savings on the Friday and Saturday rate, but the Casino Rate was better for Wednesday and Thursday night. Be sure to get your “M Life” Players Card to take full advantage if you’re a gambler!
After finally checking in, I checked out my Grand King room (with a view) on the 24th floor. It was down a very long mega-hallway. I had requested a refrigerator with my reservation, which was promptly delivered, as were the extra towels and pillows when I called down to Housekeeping. The room was very clean and comfortable, but the bathroom was a little small. I was also comparing it to my recent stay at the Venetian in an Executive King in September for LTX (the Luxury Travel Exchange) which was great. See the Blog!
I want to compliment everyone at the MGM Grand. Everyone I talked to in person or on the phone was friendly, courteous and professional. When I complained about a problem they were quick to apologize, tried to correct it or offered a F&B Credit. Eventually, my F&B was comped by my “M-Life” Casino VIP Card, so I made the request and they comped one night of my stay instead.
I went to get my luggage and when I got back to the room, a Welcome Amenity was waiting! Snacks and bottled water from the “on the ball” Manager at Check In, very well done!
I had a $50 Food and Beverage Credit so I decided to try the MGM Grand Buffet $30 plus tip paid in advance. I was left wondering who oversees the food quality.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: BAD FOOD ALERT!!!)
The worst buffet ever! Everything was overcooked and under seasoned! I really didn’t eat that much, but I tried to taste most of the food and ended up feeling sick to my stomach for all three days I was there. When I say everything was bad, I mean EVERYTHING WAS BAD except the fried chicken. Here are pics, the food looks okay but it had little to no taste and wasn’t prepared well (mostly overcooked or cold). How do you ruin crab legs?
Desserts: various types of flavored plastic cup desserts, baked goods (brownies, cupcakes, muffins all overbaked, hard and tasteless), shortcake, and ice cream.
Quite a selection, and I love dessert, but I tried a lot of different things and was amazed that even the deserts were mediocre to just plain bad. As I told my friends, there are great buffets in Las Vegas, this isn’t one of them.
After dinner I explored the hotel and casino, went across the street to the Tropicana and eventually ended up “working” back in my room.
Yes, I did a little gambling. Played some video poker and had some fun winning:
NOTE: The pillow stuck in the bedframe! I banged my shin on the sharp corner twice, the second time drawing blood! So, I was forced to improvise and used the pillow to prevent further injury. When the room service waiter came she laughed when she saw it…because she and everyone she works with have banged their shins too.
Day One – Thursday – Signature Sales Meeting and Networking Session #1
Woke up to find out the TV and WiFi wasn’t working hotel wide. No internet makes my work as a travel agent very difficult. I got ready for the first day and walked the mile to the Conference Center and arrived at Registration at 8am. There was a continental breakfast buffet and coffee service for attendees.
Breakfast was hosted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and offered muffins, danish, fruit, and fruit juice served on carts in the event lobby. Coffee and tea was also available all day long.
Thursday 8:30am: Workshop #1 – The Inside Track on Signature’s 2014 Hotels and Resorts Program. Industry trends, recent hotel additions to our consortium, updates regarding to our hotel programs, and special offers and amenities for our clients were the topic of the seminar. After the first session there was a break with refreshments hosted by Hertz (baked goods, soft drinks, bottled water, and coffee/tea service).
Thursday 9:45am: Workshop #2 – Mexico: Grow Your Business with Destination Expertise presented by the Mexico Tourism Board. More Americans travel to Mexico than any other destination! After the session there was another break with refreshments hosted by Hertz.
Thursday 11am: General Session (welcome) and Lunch hosted by Classic Vacations. There was a general update, a tribute to Michelle Morgan the past President who recently died from cancer, and a keynote address by Shawn Achor “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance”.
Lunch: Cheddar cheese, ham, swiss cheese, and turkey slices; bread and butter, lettuce, a quarter hard boiled egg and tiny tomatoes with an iced tea. Red velvet cheesecake (made with cheesecake flavored whipped topping not cream cheese).
Thursday 1:45pm: Networking Session #1 with our Vendor suppliers. I was assigned Blue Table 172 and was seated with three other agents. We stayed seated and the vendors moved from table to table and gave a short 8 minute presentation and then answered questions before moving on. At 4:15pm the session ended and there was another break.
Thursday 4:30pm: Workshop #3 – Selling Travel to the Millennial Generation. A panel discussion moderated by Paul Wiseman the President of Trafalgar
Welcome Reception on Thursday night hosted by Mexico Tourism:
Mexican Food Buffet!
Mexican Dancing and Live Musical Entertainment!
Day Two – Friday – Sales Meeting and Networking Session #2
Breakfast, Sales Seminars,
Cocktail Party hosted by Tauck and Switzerland Tourism
Cocktails and Appetizers for invited guests. Cheese, crackers, crudite’ (carrots, celery and dip) and an open bar. Networking, short host company presentations and someone won a trip to Switzerland, but it wasn’t me.
They took all the chairs out of the room, so it was a standing event after a long day and lots of walking. There were two food tables and two bar stations, but the lines for food and drink got long very fast as the guests arrived. It quickly became a lot of people in too small a space.
There was a guy blowing a Swiss horn for entertainment and he let a couple agents try to play it.
Dinner hosted by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara Cruises
Presentations by the Host Companies and Dinner
Two offensive cruise comedians and the BeatleManiacs entertained us! The travel agents went wild, rushed the stage, and danced to the (almost) Beatles! The guys were good musicians and the tunes were catchy, but their resemblance to the actual Beatles was questionable. Great wigs and costumes! Go ahead sing along, they know you want to.
Bacon Cheeseburger and fries for breakfast! $18 plus tax and $4 room service fee and a $5 tip = $29 Craving for good food at 5:30am.
Day Three – Saturday – Sales Meeting and Trade Show
7:30am Breakfast Session
Late Check Out at 2pm done by telephone with Guest Services, long walk back to the car and so looking forward to Saturday night in Las Vegas!
Off to the Rio! COMING SOON: the next blog – the Rio All-Suites Hotel Saturday night and Sunday afternoon adventures in Las Vegas.