No, the articles that matter point out more important statistics. For example, Clark County in Nevada (Las Vegas) recorded a 9.9 percent drop in gaming revenues in 2008. About $33 billion in construction projects have been halted.
The Las Vegas Sun noted, “Consumers are not parting with their discretionary spending dollars on entertainment as they have in the past. Customer service and value have become critical in the downturn.”
While the value and customer service offered during the 1950s Rat Pack era will never return, it's worth a small bet that we'll continue to see less arrogance extended toward tourists and more gratitude that you came by summer 2009. After all, that's what the Rio Hotel All-Suite Hotel & Casino (the host hotel of RDH Under One Roof) was all about during the 1990s before it was acquired by Harrah's (the current owner). The Rio, which is separated by Interstate 15 from the Las Vegas Strip, started out as a “local” casino, catering more to the nontourist customers.2 The two photos below sort of represent the top and the bottom of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The top is the outside deck for the VooDoo Lounge on the top floor (52nd). As mentioned above, the Rio is separated from the Strip by a freeway. So the view from the VooDoo Lounge is arguably one of the best in Las Vegas. As with most hotel casinos, the bottom floor is usually dominated by the casino. Bear with the metaphor here. The main hall exiting the casino, though, winds past some restaurants and the swimming pools. At the end of the trail is the hotel's convention center, which will be the location for UOR's exhibits and seminars.
The photo above is the view of the convention center just off the “Rotunda,” gazing backwards away from the casino. RDH readers who went to the 2006 RDH Under One Roof at the Rio will remember the seminars being at the front of the photo. The difference in 2009 is that the seminars and exhibit hall are in rooms at the back of the photo, a little farther away from distractions such as an international poker tournament (2006 attendees remember what I'm talking about).
But comfort is the second thing to bank on. The Rio does make you and suite mates comfortable. The suites, though, do not mimic that floorplan of Embassy Suites, for example. It's not two rooms divided by that kitchenette. But the Rio's rooms are very spacious. As you walk into a room at the Rio, you are confronted by a large, double-sink vanity with a closet containing a refrigerator. The main area of the room is very open, even with the bed, sofa, armchair, and desk.
There's plenty of room for a roommate or two, perhaps even three. The rates run from $145 to $205, which can be neatly divided by thrifty hygienists who wish to save on expenses. Need a roommate? Join the “listers” at AmyRDH.com and ask around. Quite a few strangers (all hygienists) have become BFFs after their UOR experience. But if you can afford the luxury of a room to yourself, enjoy it.
The Web site for RDH Under One Roof (www.rdhunderoneroof.com) contains a link to its housing bureau for the above show rates. All registrants who book their rooms through UOR's housing bureau are automatically registered for a three-day, two-nights' getaway at any of the six Harrah's hotels in Las Vegas. The winner of the contest will be announced on the last day of the conference.
Las Vegas has plenty of parking spaces available, and valet parking is an option too. If you arrive to town via the airport, the Rio is approximately a $20 cab fare away. We personally do not recommend the airport shuttle since it stops at too many hotels.
Use your own discretion about allowing your children to come along to UOR. The hotel does have a Brazilian “topless” sunbathing area cordoned off out of sight from its main pool areas. The famous Chippendales (male strippers) are a headline act at the hotel. Even the Mardi Gras theme in the casino means the cocktail waitresses wear less clothing than their peers at most of the other Las Vegas hotels.
The sultry vibes, however, will not offend most adults, but parents may be concerned about exposing children to it.
Yes, there is a casino at the Rio. But we're not betting on your winning (although we certainly hope you do).3 The third sure bet at RDH Under One Roof is the triple aces of continuing education. At all UORs, the seminars are presented in three formats: General sessions, hands-on workshops, and small group lectures.
• General sessions are open to anyone with a show badge. Over the three days of the conference, 14 general sessions will be presented in the larger meeting rooms, which means it is usually not difficult to find a seat. Unlike the other two formats, general sessions do not require preregistration or additional fees for the seminars.
• Due to limited seating and materials in the hands-on workshops and small group lectures, preregistration is required and sometimes an additional fee. The workshops and lectures tend to be hosted in smaller rooms. So preregistration can result in full seminars even before the conference opens. Attendees are encouraged to begin plotting out which hands-on workshops and small group lectures they want to attend well in advance of the conference in July.
If you are already registered for UOR, attendees can add workshops or lectures to their registration by faxing the requests to the PennWell registration department at (888) 299-8057. Otherwise, attendees enter their name on waiting lists for courses that are full. Maybe Lady Luck will smile upon you.
UOR attendees from 2006 will remember the Rotunda — a circular reception area that serves as the entrance to the Rio's convention center. In 2009, the registration area is in the meeting area and not the Rotunda. So keep walking.
If you have preregistered, all you need to do at the registration area is pick up a badge holder and a “showbag.” The showbag contains, among other things, product samples and literature, a show guide, a trivia game card, drink tickets for the receptions, and CE verification forms.
Registration for the conference can be completed at www.rdhunderoneroof.com. Your badge for the program should arrive at the address you provide approximately two weeks before the conference. The envelope carrying the badge will also contain a letter that provides details on what to do when you show up for the conference.
The Web site is also handy for deciding which courses to attend. Detailed course descriptions are provided. Click on “conference” at the home page and then on “course descriptions” as well as “speaker biographies” if you wish to know more about a speaker.
Some of the speakers at UOR also write articles that are published in RDH magazine. The conference is a great place to meet the authors who have inspired readers to take their careers to new levels. Some of the RDH columnists speaking at the 2009 conference are Ann-Marie DePalma, Anne Guignon, Noel Kelsch, Bill Landers, Dianne Glasscoe-Watterson, and Kristine Hodsdon.
However, UOR attempts to bring new speakers to each conference. Notable newcomers include Jessica Blayden, Bruce Christopher (see previous page), Fiona Collins, Dr. Margherita Fontana, Maria Perno Goldie, Lori Hall, Juli Kagan, Lisa Kallis, Connie Lorich, Karen Raposa, Jennifer Stutz, and Renee Marchant-Turner.
Is there anything else that's a sure bet? Sure there is. Las Vegas is hot in July. The hotel keeps its air conditioners running at full blast. You may think it's cold; bring a sweater.
However, entertainment in Las Vegas can be as simple as taking a swim in the pool or wandering through the casino when the hotel's free show, “Masquerade,” is underway. The latter (some of the dancers and singers are shown at lower right) includes tossed beads from dancers in floats from high in the sky above the casino's patrons. It's not too difficult to think of Mardi Gras occurring in July.
The Rio also features its top headline acts — Penn & Teller and the Chippendales.
The hotel also offers a full service spa with a variety of options ranging from massages to body scrubs and wraps.
Although no one is monitoring your activities (we honor the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” mantra), we should point out that your UOR tuition includes networking receptions. The receptions end at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. on Thursday (although the Blue Man Group participants will make an early getaway), and 6 p.m. on Friday.
RDH Under One Roof places a special emphasis on “networking.” In fact, it is not uncommon to meet an attendee who never leaves the hotel during UOR.
In addition, you can easily walk to two other hotel/casinos — the Palms and Gold Coast — from the Rio. The bridge over the interstate highway to the Las Vegas Strip can be easily crossed, but we don't recommend it at night. The best way to walk the Strip is to ride a free shuttle between the Rio and the Paris Hotel. Hotel guests can catch the shuttle at the entrance nearest the hotel's buffet area.5 The buffet is a safe bet when you're really hungry.
Actually, there's two of them. The Carnival World Buffet is the hotel's main eating area. It's a little pricey ($15 for breakfast, $17 for lunch, and $24 for dinner), so only a big appetite makes it worthwhile. Guests from other hotels like to catch the Masquerade floor show and the seafood buffet at Village Seafood ($38 for each adult).
The Rio's diner is called the Sao Paulo Cafe and is on the main walkway to the convention center. Entrees range in price from $15 to $25.
Two new restaurants worth noting have arrived since UOR's last appearance at the Rio in 2006. Martorano's (above left) is an Italian restaurant famous for the South Philadelphia style meatballs. In addition, a Mexican restaurant has been replaced by Rub Barbecue. An Irish pub was situated off the Masquerade floor show too, but since 2006 the ownership has changed and is now called McFadden's, which offers a variety of comfort foods (above right).
Every UOR attendee usually eats at least one meal at the moderately priced All American Bar & Grille. The restaurant offers a good variety of burgers, chicken, and steaks, as well as tasty entree salads.
When it's time to splurge, try the Alaskan king crab legs or Chilean sea bass at Buzio's or the VooDoo Menage à Trois (filet mignon, lobster, and prawns) on the top floor.
With the choice of 12 restaurants at the Rio, it's highly likely that you won't have the same meal twice, or leave the hotel to eat.
Remember, though, the UOR tuition feeds attendees lunch on Thursday and Friday, and the snacks served at the early evening receptions on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday may be just enough to suppress desires for a hearty dinner.
To review, the five things worth betting on for RDH Under One Roof are:
- Las Vegas will offer more value than in years past.
- UOR attendees will find the hotel to be comfortable.
- The conference's seminars are better than ever.
- There is no such thing as boredom.
- You won't have to leave the hotel to find great food.
“Why Are Women So Strange and Men So Weird?:How to Communicate Effectively With the Opposite Sex”
Bruce Christopher is the keynote speaker at RDH Under One Roof, and the title above is one of his most popular seminars. He is a clinical psychologist who holds degrees in psychology and interpersonal communications. The Mayo Clinic has been one of his clients, and the American Heart Association once referred to him as “America's foremost Enter-Trainer today.”
As for the UOR presentation, Christopher says, “At the heart of any practice is relationships — between team members, patients, and doctors. Interpersonal effectiveness has been demonstrated to be a key factor in professional, personal, and practice success. Individuals who are excellent communicators have better relationships at home and at work.”