Founded in 1955, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is a tourism authority that owns and operates the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), the second largest convention center in the United States. LVCC features over 4.6 million square feet of meeting, exhibit hall, food service, and administrative support space and recently completed its underground Las Vegas Convention Center Loop that transports attendees through its campus via electric Tesla vehicles. Many of the world’s largest and most prominent meetings, trade shows, and business conferences are hosted at LVCC, including ConExpo-ConAgg hosted by
the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the Consumer Electronics Show (CTA/CES), ISSA Show North America, and more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LVCC officially closed its doors on March 18, 2020 in response to a statewide shutdown of all casinos and other nonessential businesses in Nevada.
“While we had documented standards and procedures, we were concerned with where to start, especially early in the pandemic,” said Randy Shingleton, Vice President of Facilities, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “The question became, how do you keep everyone safe when 160,000 people walk through your doors during a convention?”
LVCVA’s COO, Brian Yost, recognized the organization’s strengths, challenges, and concerns and looked to industry partners for opportunities that would make navigating the pandemic easier. He brought an accreditation program to the attention of the facility operations team. This program, called GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation, was developed by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC), a Division of ISSA.
The accreditation helps facilities establish and maintain a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program to enable them to minimize risk to employees and visitors. To achieve accreditation, facilities must submit an application that details compliance with 20 key elements, which is reviewed by the Accreditation Council. Facilities must also reaccredit annually in order to uphold the GBAC STAR- accredited status.
“We reviewed the GBAC STAR process and realized that this accreditation was the right fit for us as an organization. It provided the best path for us to revitalize our convention business and to assure our clients that we were being proactive in the fight against COVID-19,” added Shingleton.
The Las Vegas Convention Center was the first facility in Nevada to be awarded the GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation. The accreditation has offered advantages including:
Improving the cleaning process. Cleanliness is critical for high-traffic international facilities like LVCC. According to Shingleton, “we took a holistic approach of not just being good corporate citizens to our local economy, but being good global citizens to keep our corner of the world safe.” GBAC STAR gave LVCC the tools to self-evaluate and streamline strategies. The team reviewed and updated protocols, tools, and training to implement better practices for cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention. For example, LVCC explored more effective options for disinfecting to shorten product dwell time and introduced easy-to-use tools so staff would perform their duties without cutting corners.
Bolstering confidence among workers, attendees, and exhibitors. Securing the accreditation gives LVCC’s meeting and convention clients and employees peace of mind about returning to the facility. Frontline staff feel safer as they interact with customers, which in turn helps customers feel safe, valued, and respected. Adds Shingleton, “accreditation showcases that we put extensive thought and action into following the industry’s top health and safety protocols and best practices.” In fact, GBAC STAR accreditation is now a requirement for many show organizers, so LVCC’s accreditation status enables it to secure business.
“GBAC STAR accreditation demonstrates our serious commitment to health and safety,” said Shingleton. “Looking ahead, we are excited to welcome back all our trade show clients and friends and reaccredit annually to make LVCC the best destination for global meetings and conventions.”