Special Events Find a Special Venue in Mohegan Sun

CAROL ANDREWS, EDITOR-AT-LARGE
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Uncasville, CT – What makes a special event special? For three companies – Agway, W.B. Mason, and Bozzuto’s Inc. – the answer has more than a little to do with Mohegan Sun, the resort and casino in Uncasville, CT that hosts some of their special events and trade shows.

Agway Hosts Food-Themed Special Event
Agway is a wholesale lawn and garden, farm, wild bird and pet products distribution company in Westfield, MA, and its Spring ’08 Growing on Success Show, was held at Mohegan Sun, Sept. 18-19, 2007. About 450 Agway dealers from 11 states were invited to attend the show and evaluate products from approximately 200 Agway suppliers. The show gets bigger each year as dealers are offered more and varied products; last year the show utilized 48,000 square feet of exhibit space in the main ballroom, pre-function area, and three meeting rooms. The special events held in conjunction with the show included a dine-around for approximately 100 dealers at several Mohegan Sun restaurants.

“The dealer sales managers and our executive management team hosted groups of 10 to 25 dealers who enjoyed meals at different restaurants,” said Deborah Rizza, Marketing Manager for Agway. “It’s another way to say thank you to our dealers for their business throughout the year.”

This event worked especially well at Mohegan Sun because all of the restaurants are under one roof, close in proximity to each other, so there was no need to arrange transportation.

W.B. Mason’s National Sales Meeting Energizes, Educates and Empowers
W.B. Mason, an office supply company based in Brockton, MA, included a variety of special events in one major event. The company’s 3rd Annual Sales Convention & Trade Show was held at Mohegan Sun, Oct. 8-10, 2007, and approximately 1,000 participants took part in a two-day sales meeting, a welcome reception, a golf tournament, a blackjack tournament, a trade show, and a closing dinner with entertainment, including Cirque du Soleil-themed performers.

“The main focus of our event is our annual national sales meeting, but the trade show gives our vendor partners the opportunity to interact with our entire sales force at one time and in a more relaxed environment,” said Lindsay DiRuzza, Product Manager for W.B. Mason. “It is the only time of the year that we bring the entire sales force together with W.B. Mason executives and vendor partners. Our goal with the sales force is to energize them as we embark on a new fiscal year, educate them on our most important company objectives and initiatives, and empower them with the marketing tools needed to succeed in a competitive marketplace.”

Bozzuto’s Conference Focuses on Sales and Entertainment
Bozzuto’s Inc., based in Cheshire, CT, is a wholesaler and distributor of food to grocery retailers. The company held its Independent Retailer Conference at Mohegan Sun, March 11-12. The event included a Business Session with industry-related presentations given by noted speakers; a trade show that utilized the entire 30,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Arena and an additional 14,000 square feet in the Arena mezzanine; and the Annual Retailer and Supplier Excellence Awards, an elaborate event with an Academy Awards format. The Awards ceremony featured a four-course dinner for 900, actor and television host John O’Hurley as emcee, and a performance by cellist Marston Smith.

The Mohegan Sun Experience
“At Mohegan Sun, everything we need – exhibit space, restaurants, and entertainment – is all under one roof, making coordination and attendee care easy,” Rizza said. “We also appreciate the great customer service and professionalism of the staff. They are good partners – easy to work with and respectful of our budget and our needs.”

DiRuzza agreed. “Mohegan Sun does everything with exceptional taste and attention to detail. Our attendees are impressed by the beauty of the hotel, from the accommodations to the easily accessible convention space and the unlimited entertainment options,” she said. “But beyond that, the top-notch staff at Mohegan Sun is a major part of the resort’s appeal. Mohegan Sun is customer-centric and operationally excellent, which is the best of both worlds.”

When asked about her company’s experience at Mohegan Sun, Amy Yeager, Director of Advertising and Communications for Bozzuto’s, concurred with Rizza and Di Ruzza, especially on the subject of the hotel’s staff. “What we appreciate most about Mohegan Sun, without question, is their extremely professional and accommodating event management staff,” she said.

Christopher R. Perry, Vice President, Hotel Sales and Marketing for Mohegan Sun, summarized some of the property’s attributes. “Mohegan Sun is the perfect solution for groups who want to hold events in the Northeast, but can’t afford venues in the larger cities. Our food and beverage and guestroom rates are at least 40% less than other major facilities in the Northeast,” he said. “We have our own transportation company and our own destination services company on site to handle special events, including themed parties, entertainment, and golf outings. Also, we took advice from a meeting planner advisory board and created a floor layout that eliminated the need to walk through the casino to get to the convention and exhibit space.”

Finally, Perry mentioned how easy it is to travel to Mohegan Sun. “We have two major airports with more than 300 direct flights daily, as well as Amtrak accessibility,” he said. “Neither airport has the volume that other major airports have, so navigating through them is easier. For example, in another major city, it could take 20 minutes to get to the baggage claim area once you leave the plane, then you have to wait in a taxi line for another 20 minutes, and it’s likely you’ll sit in traffic for awhile. When you travel to Mohegan Sun, you’ll be at the resort an hour after you step off the plane.”

Reach Lindsay DiRuzza at (508) 436-1174 or Lindsay.diruzza@wbmason.com; Christopher Perry at (860) 862-7353 or cperry@mohegansun.com; Deborah Rizza at (413) 568-9201or Deborah.rizza@sscoop.com; Amy Yeager at (203) 250-5313 or ayeager@bozzutos.com

SIDEBAR  1:

Mohegan Sun Fast Facts
–        100,000 square feet of flexible meeting and function space, including the 38,000 square foot Uncas Ballroom, which is divisible into ten separate meeting rooms

–        14,000 square feet of pre-function space adjacent to Uncas Ballroom

–        1,200 guestrooms

–        Three entertainment venues that can also be used for trade shows or meetings, including a 10,000-seat arena with 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 350-seat Cabaret Theatre, and the 350-seat Wolf Den

–        A 130,000 square foot retail shopping experience that includes Tiffany, Swarovski, and Coach

–        30 restaurants, including Todd English’s Tuscany, two Michael Jordan restaurants, and the Longhouse, a fine-dining steakhouse

–        Mohegan After Dark, a 22,000 square foot complex, featuring three individually themed lounges and nightclubs that are available for private functions

 

SIDEBAR 2:

Project Horizon Expansion
Mohegan Sun’s Project Horizon expansion is a multi-million dollar, 1.4 million square foot project that adds 11,000 square feet of meeting space, a second hotel, and additional gaming, retail, dining, and entertainment space. The first part of the expansion, the new 64,000 square foot Casino of the Wind, is scheduled to open in the fall.

By 2010, Mohegan Sun will add a new 39-story hotel with 658 Mohegan Sun guestrooms and a 261-room hotel within a hotel run by the House of Blues.  It will also include a 1,500-seat House of Blues Music Hall.