Las Vegas Sands, SmartSource and Visit Anaheim Do Their Part to Help Those In Need 

May 29, 2020

As the fall-out from the pandemic continues, it’s heartening to see trade show and event suppliers step up to help their employees, industry and communities be strong, resilient and hopeful. Check out what these venues, vendors and CVBs are doing to support the greater good.

The Venetian and Las Vegas Sands  

From donating millions of pieces of PPE to healthcare workers and delivering food to local food banks to distributing 20,000 hygiene kits to Las Vegas charities while making sure its employees are cared for during the state of Nevada-mandated closure, the Las Vegas Sands has implemented a host of CSR initiatives since mid-March. Here are just a few of the generous donations the hospitality company recently made:

  • 2 million surgical masks and 20,000 protective suits to help health-care professionals, first responders and nonprofit organizations in Nevada and New York.  
  • $250,000 to Three Square food bank, Communities In Schools and Share Village Las Vegas to jumpstart their community relief responses.
  • 60 pallets of fresh produce, proteins and other food items, filling more than two semi-trucks (the equivalent to 56,723 meals), to Three Square food bank.
  • 1,000 boxed lunches to Catholic Charities each day from May 1-14. The 14,000 boxed lunches were used for the organization’s homeless outreach while its dining facility remained closed due to the pandemic.            
  • More than 55,000 bottles of water and 150 cases of dry food to community organizations including The Salvation Army, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, U.S. Vets, Family Promise of Las Vegas and more.

ABCOMRENTS and SmartSource Join Live for Life COVID-19 Coalition 

ABCOM Technology Group companies ABCOMRENTS and SmartSource — both providers of computer, audio video and interactive technology for businesses and events — joined the Live for Life Live-Event Industry COVID-19 Coalition to help create temporary emergency field hospitals during the pandemic. The Coalition, which comprises more than 200 event-related companies, works with hospital systems and regions experiencing high rates of acute infections requiring additional facilities and controlled environments to treat affected patients.  

“At the onset of the pandemic, we made it our goal to use our equipment and expertise to keep America working, learning and supported during this time of need – we know we can have an even greater impact by joining the Live for Life Coalition,” said Ali Vafa, CEO of ABCOM Technology Group.

ABCOM and SmartSource provided digital signage including large displays, digital kiosks and LED walls to help provide real-time updates as well as directional and facility information. The companies deployed these products on-demand to temporary health care facilities such as at the Javits Center in New York City, which recently closed but is still standing by in the event of a second wave of coronavirus infections. 

Now, with COVID-19 cases decreasing in some localities, the company has shifted its efforts to advocating for the protection of the events industry, according to Shannon McNealy, marketing manager for ABCOM/SmartSource. 

“The Coalition has created assets that we are using to show our support for the events industry and celebrate the power of live events,” she explained, “We are sharing posts and videos to bring attention to our industry and help promote our economic and community recovery, which will be so important. We hope that the initial mission of the Coalition is behind us all, which is a reason for good news!”

Visit Anaheim Coordinates Unused Meeting Supplies Donation 

When the Society of Toxicology cancelled its 59th Annual Meeting & ToxExpo at the Anaheim Convention Center in mid-March, Visit Anaheim made sure the event’s almost 6,000 unused meeting bags didn’t go to waste. 

On May 18, the CVB worked with SOT and Transportation Charter Services to coordinate the donation to the Anaheim White House restaurant, which provides meals to local youth and families through its nonprofit Caterina’s Club. The bags will be used to deliver and distribute food to those in need throughout the community.

“The Society was disappointed that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented our planned event in Anaheim, so we are pleased to be able to support the Anaheim community through the donation of nearly 6,000 meeting bags to help deliver meals to families in need,” said George P. Daston, president of SOT.

Established in 2005, Caterina’s Club was founded by Chef Bruno Serato of the Anaheim White House to serve free dinners to children in need. Even with the temporary closure of the restaurant, Caterina’s Club has still served more than 545,000 meals to local families over the last couple of months.   

To learn more about Visit Anaheim’s recent giveback efforts, go here.  


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.