MGM Grand targets incentives

LAS VEGAS -- Daniel Rush is going places -- lots of places.

Rush filled the newly created position of the director of incentive sales for the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, and his travel schedule rivals that of anyone dealing with the incentive industry.

"[Rush's] primary goal is to understand the market and the needs of the customer," said Richard Harper, the resort's vice president of sales.

"Right now he is meeting one-on-one with [the customer] to find out what we need to do to become a player in the market.

"His mission is fact-finding and listening," Harper continued. "Then he takes that information back, we get with our operational teams, and, based on what that customer said, ask ourselves how do we take what we have and package it in such a way that no one else can offer what we do."

The growing recognition that Las Vegas has received from the incentive market in the last few years is what prompted the resort to create such a job, Harper said.

"Historically, [Las Vegas and the MGM Grand] have not been players in that market," he noted.

"Companies were not saying, 'Gosh, we want to reward you. You have a choice of taking a trip to Hawaii, Bali or Las Vegas.' We weren't in that mix.

"Now I think that's starting to change. Companies are looking at more value options, but they still want to give people a rewarding experience."

The opening of several upscale resorts in recent years has helped, Harper said.

"The incentive market has been growing at a steady pace as more and more product has come on line in Las Vegas," he said.

"Bellagio has caught the attention of the incentive market, and now that we're part of the same family [MGM Mirage], we want to [be involved, too].

"Over the years, incentive companies had to diversify," Harper continued. "More and more, the market involved meetings rather than pure incentive.

"We want to become a player, not only on the incentive side, but on the meetings side, too."

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