Learning Las Vegas: The Top 5 Misconceptions

unnamedIf you’ve been watching any television in recent weeks, there’s a good chance that you’ve encountered one of the more brilliant examples of marketing; the kind of creative salesmanship that has helped to transform a small desert town into a world class destination.

Not long ago, in an effort to take a larger slice of the lucrative summer tourism market, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA)—the folks tasked with ‘selling’ Las Vegas as a desirable destination to visitors from around the globe—initiated an innovative summer marketing campaign. Understanding that—not entirely inaccurately—Las Vegas had a reputation for rather ‘warm’ temperatures during the summer months that could potentially dissuade visitors, the LVCVA introduced thei “Summer Is Vegas Season” marketing campaign.

A brilliant stroke of counter-intuitive marketing, the ad campaign promoted the notion that there was so much to do and see in (a fully air-conditioned) Las Vegas during the summer, that triple-digit temperatures were of little consequence; in fact, the campaign argued, few if any American destinations better embodied the “laissez-faire”, laid back spirit of American summer fun than does Las Vegas.

Has the LVCVA succeeded in its marketing efforts? I would only point out that in 2014, Las Vegas welcomed more than 41 million visitors, a new record.

So, as CEO of a company that is proud to call Las Vegas home to our corporate headquarters–and in keeping with the LVCVA efforts to ‘clarify’ any misconceptions about the city (no matter the season)–I’d like to proffer a few clarifications of my own about America’s favorite desert destination.

To that end, here are what I believe to be the Top Five Most Popular Misconceptions About Las Vegas–and the realities beyond the myths:

Misconception 5) “Las Vegas is in the desert, therefore, it must be searing hot all year round.”

Reality: In actuality, like most cities, Las Vegas has four very distinct seasons, and temperatures that reflect those seasonal changes.

Yes, the summer months bring with them daytime highs that usually surpass 100 (although–as is so often repeated–the humidity is quite low, and therefore it’s almost always a more tolerable ‘dry heat’). But come October, temperatures decline, and coats are almost always mandatory long before Thanksgiving.

For those who are fans of the Yuletide, Las Vegas actually offers up quite cool temperatures in December (traditionally the coldest month of the year), and this past winter, we even had a couple of notable dustings of snow. Winters—such as they are—are much briefer than in most of the country (rarely lasting more than 3 months).

So to summarize, Hollywood’s desert images notwithstanding, for nine out of every 12 months Las Vegas’ weather mirrors that of other cities fortunate enough to enjoy mild springs and autumns, and shortened, temperate winter months.

Misconception 4) “The Las Vegas Strip is home to most Las Vegans, as well as being all that there is to see and do while visiting.”

Reality: The Las Vegas Strip—often referred to simply as “The Strip”—runs for less than five miles. Very few Las Vegans actually reside on the Strip, and some of the most popular tourist destinations are miles away from the Strip’s neon lights.

To be fair, the Las Vegas Strip is home to some of the world’s greatest hotels, five-star restaurants, sparkling nightclubs and diverse shopping experiences; combining that reality with the fact that the Strip is, in fact, the epicenter of tourist activity for millions of visitors, one can easily understand how this misconception came to pass.

But Southern Nevada is also home to Lake Mead and the Boulder Dam (still one of America’s most wondrous engineering feats), the glorious, multi-hued wonder of Red Rock Canyon, and the natural beauty of Mount Charleston.

And for the record, the majority of Clark County’s 2 million residents live miles away from the Strip, often in quiet suburban settings.

Misconception 3) “Gaming Is The Only Business, Of Any Size, in Las Vegas.”

Reality: Las Vegas is home to a diverse and rapidly growing business community.

This is one misconception I can personally address with a high degree of certainty. As a major Las Vegas-based employer, Sackett National Holdings has a growing national business presence in several industries, including financial services, employment screening, automotive and retail energy.

You will note that not one of those business sectors involves ‘gaming’.

So, while we certainly wish our gaming-related neighbors well, our business is illustrative of the many diverse Las Vegas-based companies who are thriving–outside of the gaming sector.

Misconception 2) “Las Vegas’ Labor Market Is Limited In Scope.”

Reality: Las Vegas Offers A Diffuse and Diverse Labor Force.

Again, this is one misconception about Las Vegas I can address with first-hand knowledge.

As CEO of a large—and rapidly growing—company, I can say with certainty that Las Vegas offers a wide array of job candidates, many of whom bring with them considerable professional skills and impressive education.

There may have been a time when Las Vegas’ labor market was limited in size and scope—but that time has most certainly passed.

Misconception 1) “The Only Reason To Visit Las Vegas Is For The Gaming.”

Reality: Las Vegas Offers World Class Entertainment, Fine Dining, Unique Shopping Experiences & Wondrous Natural Beauty.

Perhaps more than any other misconception, the dated notion that Las Vegas exists solely—or even primarily—as a gaming city is just plain wrong.

In fact, the largest Las Vegas gaming companies derive only about half of their revenue from gaming; for the past two decades, an ever-growing number of world-class chefs–and restaurants—along with renowned retailers and top tier musical and theatrical entertainment have tipped the balance, and helped transform Las Vegas. Each year, tens of thousands of tourists have wonderful vacations dining on fine cuisine, shopping in world-class retailers and enjoying top-flight entertainment—all without wagering a dime.

So there you have it. I hope that helps to clarify some popular misconceptions about a city we’re proud to call our corporate headquarters; I also join with the LVCVA, and invite you to discover for yourself what millions of others already know: summer is, indeed, “Vegas Season.”