When big business sneezes; small business can catch pneumonia

October 20, 2008 by Andy Ebon

bellagio-exterior.jpgIn this morning’s Las Vegas Review Journal, columnist Norm Clarke floated a sizable rumor for general consumption and discussion.

He suggested that MGM/Mirage is considering selling its ‘crown jewel,’ the Bellagio Resort Hotel & Casino for a cash infusion to help complete its massive City Center Project.

Background: City Center is a multi-billion dollar project, slated for completion in 2010. It is the largest private development in the world, and will have considerable variety within it: Resorts, hotels, condos, office space, the works!

city-center.jpgThe City Center construction skyline has made a section of the Las Vegas Strip look much like an active Manhattan resurrection project.

You see, in Las Vegas, when developers and hotel-casino companies play Monopoly, they play it with real money… big money.

How this affects the small business and catering sales manager: The short term impact of a hotel being sold, particularly one of the most prominent, in any market, has a tremendous ripple effect.

For the Catering Sales Manager, their employment immediately becomes unstable. Depending on what company buys an existing property, any given job could be gone, tomorrow, six months from now, or not all. Almost always, some kind of restructuring occurs.

For the small business operator, your ‘relationship’ with the hotel will typically come ‘under review.’ If a new Director of Catering is hired, and you’re not on their short list of great vendors, you’re probably off the list, immediately.

Of course, if some Catering Managers wind up with other jobs at other properties, that can work in your favor, too.

Here, in Las Vegas, assuming the economy has worked through its doldrums, in 2010, there will be a lot more opportunities for everyone, at every level. But that’s a long time down the road. We live in-the-now.

What should you be doing? Doesn’t matter whether you’re in Las Vegas, the Twin Cities, Atlanta, or Timbuktu; you should be doing the same thing.

Always expanding meaningful wedding marketing relationships through entire departments, welcome people to new jobs, and be helpful to people who are out of a job. It’s easy to be there for people when you need something. Being there for people when times are challenging is the definition of true friendship, not just a business relationship, based on referrals.

Don’t worry about things you can’t control! In twenty-five years in San Francisco and five years in Las Vegas, I have seen plenty of real world Monopoly being played. I have seen some great hotels change hands, several times, seen new properties being built, and other imploded.

Those things can’t be controlled. What you can manage is relationships. So make a few calls, today, and go have a cup of coffee with a person you value. And if they need you, be there for them.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Blog

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