Over Mother’s Day weekend, top chefs and sommeliers from around the world descend
upon Las Vegas for Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit, throwing the city into a flurry of foie gras and fine wine. Not sure who was present during this four-day festival? Think TV personalities Giada De Laurentiis, Buddy Valastro and Gordon Ramsay along with celebrity chefs Michael Mina, Joël Robuchon and more. This year, events were hosted at ARIA, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, MGM Grand and The Venetian and while my #TeamWhiteley colleagues tried their best to offer as much advice as they could for my first Vegas Uncork’d experience, nothing quite prepares you for the real thing. Below are five tips for PR practitioners that can work for any multi-day, multi-venue event:
1. Prepare in advance. As with any and all events, the more you can get done before, the better off you’ll be. For us, this includes creating a “PR Book” – more like Bible – complete with staffing schedules, contact list, media attendance list, press releases, media alerts, talking points, run-of-shows, a tip sheet and event one-sheets. Having all of your supporting documents in one place is not only crucial when trying to correctly name each chef (hello, tip sheet), but also when checking in media, arranging interviews and making sure you arrive at your event on time.
2. Learn the back roads. There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting at the same stop
light and watching it turn from green to yellow to red two or three times before making it through. For this reason alone, do not take Las Vegas Blvd. to get to properties on The Strip. While it may be unavoidable at times, there are back entrances to most of these properties. Dean Martin Dr., Frank Sinatra Dr. and Koval Ln. are lifesavers when you need to get from one end of the Strip to the other. With a variety of events taking place simultaneously at each of the properties during Vegas Uncork’d, you have to make your way between the properties very quickly.
3. Arrive early and be attentive. As PR professionals, our first order of business when arriving at an event is to make sure everything is set up for attending media. This means checking to see if the restaurant has arranged for a media table (and there are enough seats reserved for those scheduled to attend), deciding on a media escort and, finally, meeting with the manager to chat about pre-arranged interviews. At the same time, you’ll need to call/text/email attending media (thanks, PR Book) if they haven’t checked-in as some chefs won’t begin until all seats are filled.
4. Remember to eat. Although this is a food festival, you’re lucky if you can sample dishes at 1% of the events since rushing from property to property leaves little downtime. Make
sure to stash a snack somewhere or find a break in your schedule to grab a quick bite. However, there may be a rare moment when the event staff will ask you to sit. Take full advantage of these times as you’ll be enjoying food from some of the best chefs in the world.
5. Relax and enjoy. While working such a large-scale event can be stressful and daunting at times, it’s important to take time to relax and enjoy all the hard work you’ve put in to make it a success. After all, where else can you find world-renowned chefs and sommeliers from across the globe in the same city at the same time? Only in Vegas, baby!