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Growth by Caesars and Others in Atlantic City Creates New Event Opportunities

Viewpoints

I was excited to be the first female general manager in Atlantic City, N.J., for Caesars Entertainment. I have been in the hospitality business for more than 20 years and with Caesars Entertainment for the past 15 years. I have had the opportunity to experience many different roles within my company, from vice president of operations at Harrah’s Las Vegas to general manager of The Cromwell. I have had the honor of winning the company wide Chairman’s Award, the highest honor that any Caesars Entertainment associate can be recognized with, and have also been named one of the “10 Women Who Know Business in Nevada” by the Las Vegas Business Press. It has been an amazing experience to say the least. When I was offered the general manager position at Harrah’s Atlantic City in 2016, I didn’t know what to expect. I was amazed to see how much it had to offer.

It was exciting to come to Harrah’s, seeing what we already had with the conference center and amenities, and giving me a chance to bring it to another level. With the opening of the Waterfront Conference Center in 2015, Caesars Entertainment truly ushered in a new era. It reminds me of Las Vegas, when we were a smaller city but with the advantage of being on the water. To this day, we are seeing tremendous success with the conference center, have had the opportunity to work with wonderful companies and have created some remarkable experiences.

Waterfront ConferencePhoto: Harrah's Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center 

Harrah's Atlantic City Waterfront Conference CenterPhoto: Large conference room Harrah's Atlantic City

Large conferences now have the option of staying close to home, as the conference center is within a three-hour drive of one-third of the U.S. population. It stands as the largest hotel conference complex from Baltimore to Boston. Groups now have an option in the northeast and no longer need to go to Las Vegas, Dallas or San Diego for large conventions. Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center offers groups 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting space that can accommodate up to 5,000 attendees. It has changed business in Atlantic City and we are so excited for the future.

The landscape of Atlantic City really sets us apart. Groups love taking advantage of the boardwalk. We can do some creative culinary pieces, especially with seafood because of our location. Our groups take advantage of the attractions such as going on a ferry tour of the bay, experiencing history touring Boardwalk Hall—where the nation’s first indoor college football game was held—or doing team-building activities such as racing to the top of the lighthouse. Our groups love using the special venue program, which allows them to have their meeting at the Waterfront Conference Center and still have dinners and receptions at our other properties, all under one contract and one food and beverage minimum. The opportunities are endless.

Atlantic City Boardwalk
GettyImages: Atlantic City Boardwalk

We’ve had lots of recent updates to the property and our groups are loving it. This summer, we completed a renovation of our Bayview Tower’s 450 guest rooms, a US$30 million investment. The rooms are decorated in fresh design elements and contemporary furniture. In addition, we’ve invested $2.6 million into The Pool, which groups love buying out for events. We also debuted a brand new, state-of-the-art fitness center, as well as new restaurants at all of our Atlantic City properties. Our groups love doing dine-arounds and enjoying our celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill at Caesars Atlantic City.

What really sets us apart is our team. The team here in Atlantic City is incredibly warm and welcoming. A lot of our senior management team comes from our Caesars properties in Las Vegas, including Vice President of Meeting Operations Steve van der Molen, Vice President Stephen Thayer, Regional President Kevin Ortzman and me. We encourage our team to provide that elevated customer service experience for all guests and we instill that caring culture into our team in Atlantic City.

There has been lots of exciting news about Atlantic City lately. We are excited that our competitors are moving in and investing in the city; it elevates us as a destination. The Hard Rock purchased a property that is expected to open in mid-2018. MGM has invested in ownership of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and has invested millions into the property. We are also thrilled about the Steel Pier Observation Wheel, a 227-foot-tall boardwalk observation wheel expected to debut in early 2018.

I am fortunate to be a part of the development in Atlantic City. There are so many different experiences groups can have and I encourage all groups to come and see what we have to offer. Groups will love to explore the outdoor opportunities, our different venue options and our food and beverage options. We are optimistic about the future in Atlantic City and are continuing to develop new ideas for our valued meetings customers. Come by and see us here in Atlantic City!


About the Author

Karie Hall
Karie L. Hall

Karie L. Hall is vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, directly overseeing operational areas and bringing to her role 21 years of tenure in the hospitality industry. Her career includes executive leadership roles at properties such as The Cromwell, Caesars Palace, The Venetian, Harrah’s Las Vegas, LINQ Hotel and The Flamingo.