2011 VIBE Vista Awards Honor Best Special Event ProgramsJune 13, 2011 By: Alissa Ponchione
During the 2011 VIBE Conference held March 8-10 in Las Vegas, we celebrated the winners of the VIBE Vista Awards. In a series of VIBE Spotlights, we’ve been profiling the winners in each category. This week, we take a look at the winning special event programs from Kona Grill, which took home the VIBE Vista Special Event Program Award for the Chain Restaurant and Multi-unit Operator segment, sponsored by Torani, while O'Sheas Caesars Entertainment received top honors for Special Event Program in the Chain Hotel, Casino and Cruise Line Operator category, sponsored by Finest Call Premium Cocktail Mixes. Congratulations to both!
VIBE Vista Special Event Program Award, Chain Restaurant and Multi-unit Operator
The management at 25-unit Kona Grill realized that the influx of female customers coming in before and after watching the first "Sex and the City" movie for a quintessential Cosmopolitan represented a unique opportunity. So, in 2010 when the sequel was set to come out, management set into motion a promotion that would capture all those Cosmo-seeking ladies.
To capitalize on female patrons, Kona Grill’s team decided to make the release of the second movie a full-fledged Girls Night Out with “Sushi and the City," a 10-day long promotion directed to its female clientele who were planning to see the sequel and celebrate the return of Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda.
Angie Cesario, Marketing Coordinator for Kona Grill accepts her VIBE Vista Award for Special Event Program for Chain Restaurant and Multi-unit Operator segment from Rob Spinelli, General Manager of Business Development at Torani, the award's sponsor.
The promotion was held on Kona’s patio, where large parties reserved seats throughout the 10 days. Fashion magazines adorned tables along with "Sex and the City" trivia cards. Red carpets were set up and New York City doormen greeted guests.
The menu consisted of four sushi items and four drinks that each correlated with the characters in the movie. Each guest also was given complimentary pink cupcakes and entered into a raffle with the chance to win a trip for two to New York City, with all raffle proceeds from the night going to Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that promotes economic independence for disadvantaged women by providing profession attire.
Angie Cesario, Marketing Coordinator for the Phoenix, Ariz.-based Kona Grill says "Sushi and the City" was nothing short of incredible.
“There were more large female groups dining than we’ve ever seen. And the nice thing was these were full-price items, so it monopolized our happy hour sales.”
Cesario says the team customized email blasts, segmenting them to send out to the women on their mailing list, while also promoting the event on Facebook and Twitter. By working with local movie theaters, employees awarded guests who presented ticket stubs from the movie with automatic seats on the patio to “Sushi and the City.”
Staff also took part, wearing black T-shirts with quotes from “Sex and the City” while guests were encouraged to dress up and don their favorite pair of Manolo Blahnik's and turn a mundane night out to the movies into an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime event.
Cesario says that no matter whom you identify with — if you’re a Carrie, a Samantha, a Charlotte, a Miranda or even Mr. Big — each “Sushi and the City” evening was, ultimately, the perfect night out.
“The biggest piece about this, is it fit our market; it fit our guest. It was a sexy, fun event that had people coming out to see others and be seen."
O'Sheas Caesars Entertainment
VIBE Vista Special Event Program Award Chain Hotel, Casino and Cruise Line Operator
When it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, there are people who do it up and people who go above and beyond expectations. In 2010, that honor went to O’Sheas Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas. By taking all the elements that make St. Patrick’s Day celebrations can’t-miss events and expanding on them with more beer, games and entertainment, O’Sheas four-day celebration turned into the mother of all block parties.
The block party, held between O’Sheas and the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, paid perfect homage to the Irish (and those pretending to be), as a series of beer promotions and games had people coming back for more.
Dan Mykovich, Director of Food and Beverage at O'Sheas, said that a constant traffic of people checking out the event was one of the main reasons it was so successful. “You have around 25,000 people walking by Las Vegas Boulevard and they walk in, and we’re pouring so many beers, we can barely keep up,” he explains.
Dan Mykovich, Director of Food and Beverage at O'sheas Caesars Entertainment and Brian Thomas, a.k.a., “Lucky the Leprechaun," accept their VIBE Vista award for Best Special Event Program for Chain Hotel, Casino and Cruise Line Operatorat the VIBE Conference, given to them by sponsor Finest Call Premium Cocktail Mixes.
O’Sheas St. Patrick’s Day promotion grows each year, and the 2010 party was no exception. Beer sales increased 36.7% because of the event, with over 39,000 beers served. Jameson, MillerCoors products and Heineken were all available, as well as Irish staples such as Guinness and Harp Lager.
“We want through 100 kegs of beer. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work. It draws a lot of people,” Mykovich says.
From $3 Jameson shots and 99-cent Baileys Irish Cream shots to $5 16-ounce cups of green beer, O’Sheas' St. Patrick’s Day party was a sensory overload of Irish-themed drinks, games and music.
Throughout the four-day party, Irish-themed bands played and former Playboy model and "Peep Show" star Holly Madison showed up to challenge O’Sheas mascot Brian Thomas, known as “Lucky the Leprechaun,” to a game of beer pong. Additionally, for a $40 buy in, guests could compete in beer pong tournaments, with each winner entered into the World Series of Beer Pong in Las Vegas.
“You don’t know who’s going to pop in to celebrate,” Mykovich explains. “We had George Wallace [the comedian], and Lucky, our spokesmodel, played beer pong with Holly Madison. We had everything.“
Mykovich credits Lucky will making O’Sheas the can’t-miss St. Patrick’s Day party.
“He’s Mr. O’Sheas. He’s out there on the sidewalk taking pictures [and] kissing babies,” he jokes, and, most importantly, he helps make O’Sheas transform the Las Vegas strip into Ireland, at least once a year.