Monday, Jan. 7, 2008 | 2 a.m.
With 140,000 people attending the Consumer Electronics Show beginning today at three Las Vegas locations, hotel executives are free to triple and even quadruple their regular room rates.
But CES organizers are now challenging that traditional Las Vegas business assumption. They have asked officials with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for help as they negotiate with the hotels for lower costs.
For leverage, the organizers have let it slip that they are talking with convention officials in Chicago and Orlando, Fla., for a possible move to one of those cities after their leases for exhibition space here expire in 2011.
This news was broken by the Las Vegas Sun’s sister publication, In Business Las Vegas. Reporter Richard N. Velotta quotes a senior CES official as saying, “The rates have become astronomical ... Las Vegas is no longer the cost-effective destination it once was.”
The first CES was in New York City in 1967, but the show has been a staple here every January since 1978. Though Las Vegas has a tremendous edge over other cities its unparalleled entertainment being uppermost the organizers’ talk of moving their show cannot be simply dismissed as a negotiating gambit.
Many cities, Chicago and Orlando, Fla., among them, are investing heavily in visitor amenities. It is not inconceivable anymore that another city could make a competitive offer to the Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on the show.
The CES is a big moneymaker for Las Vegas. Those who attend have a reputation for being live wires during and after work. They gamble, go to shows and fill the restaurants. They also tend to spend heavily at retail stores as they set up their sales offices, dress up their exhibition spaces and power up their product lines.
Additionally, the show is a big draw for reporters, who broadcast from here and send stories all over the world datelined Las Vegas.
We hope the convention authority, hotel representatives and CES officials meet and reach accommodation on the cost issue.