LVHA – Las Vegas Hospitality Association
The Las Vegas Hospitality Association (LVHA) is a membership-driven, volunteer association dedicated to providing its 400 members with education and networking through special events, monthly meetings, and community involvement.
Since 1962, LVHA has been the hospitality industry’s go-to place for networking and new events. “It’s very popular to belong to our organization,” says Mary Thomas, Parliamentarian for LVHA. “We bring people together with one main goal, and that is to bring travel and tourism to Las Vegas in the best way possible.”
According to LVHA President J.J. Wills, “Everything we do is for our members and done by our members. We’re a volunteer board, so we really work together as a community to network and educate ourselves. We make sure that we’re the best we can be and in a position where we’re offering the best experiences and opportunities for our customers.”
A USC business graduate, Wills brings years of experience in the hospitality industry to the table. Beginning with catering and hotel sales in Portland, Oregon, and moving on to convention sales, she focuses primarily these days on the meetings industry with Las Vegas Meetings by Caesars Entertainment.
LVHA -ROLE IN THE INDUSTRY
LVHA raises positive awareness in the local community and industry through monthly membership events primarily focused on education. “I think it’s really important to be engaged and get to know your peers within the industry and to help support it,” says Wills.
LVHA’s list of events also includes Panel Discussions, an annual upcoming event where top dog professional speakers address pressing industry topics. Customers from various market segments learn directly from top dog leaders, with past speakers including Anheuser-Busch, the American Medical Association, IBM, and Expedia.
25 years ago, LVHA decided to concentrate on offering education scholarships to members, members’ children, their spouses, and now even their grandchildren, an effort that dually supports the educational institutes in the community. These scholarships bode well for the hospitality industry, as seen through thank you notes from recipients such as Haley Etchison: “I’ll do my best to perform with excellence and reflect well on my financial sponsors such as the LVHA.” LHVA has raised over $700,000 through fundraising events such as their annual golf tournament and charity auction.
Other philanthropic endeavors include support of charities including Three Square, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Toys for Tots, and Child Haven, to name a few. Through their own “Fill a Bag with Cheer” campaign, LVHA adopts a school and members fill and deliver bags to ensure those children receive everything they need. As Thomas recounts tears shed as children open new socks and coats to replace their own tattered ones, she says, “We’re loving it – it’s very heartwarming.”
LVHA – PARTNERSHIPS
LVHA works closely with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), a quasi-governmental agency that markets Las Vegas as a tourism destination. “We’re a membership organization representing our members, whereas the LVCVA is an organization that does definition marketing,” says Wills of their strategic partnership.
Several of the LVHA members undergoing construction are practicing environmental responsibility. Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s expansion at Caesars Palace Conference Center achieved LEED Silver Certification, and the CityCenter construction project built by MGM MIRAGE received LEED Certification for ARIA, currently the largest hotel in the world with Gold LEED status.
“As an organization,” Wills points out, “we have tried to do our part to go green. We’ve done away with mailings and we do everything electronically. All of our event invitations are electronic, and this year we started taking RSVP’s electronically.”
LVHA uses technology to promote the organization and events on FaceBook, and is exploring further exposure through LinkedIn. “Going into 2012, our action plan is to add another position to our board that would specifically be a marketing position that could help us engage through social media with our membership and promote all that we’re doing,” says Wills.
New on the horizon in Vegas is the unveiling of the results of Tropicana’s nearly-completed renovations, as well as recently announced plans from Caesars Entertainment for Linqs. A $550 million shopping and entertainment complex center on the strip, Wills says Linqs is “absolutely a new experience that people are going to want to come see.” The focal point will be the world’s largest observation wheel called the Las Vegas High Roller, rising to 550 feet.
From the Cosmopolitan hotel on the strip, to the Vegas Mob Experience, to the zipline flying over Fremont Street, there’s always something new to do in Las Vegas. As the dynamic Vegas continues to grow, the LVHA will continue to serve as its premier hospitality organization.