Vegas Consultant: “Once international travel picks up, it’s going to be crazy”

James Edgar came to Las Vegas from his hometown of Newcastle, England to pursue a career in the hospitality and live events industry, but he didn’t expect to start his own business when he did. has reached its 30th anniversary.

“I arrived in June 2017 and started with the Hakkasan group as a modest marketing coordinator,” he said. “I wasn’t in charge of much, I was just posting on social media and capturing club stuff, intern stuff.

“But I was really lucky to have this opportunity and I didn’t want to let it spoil. I spent four years sleeping about three hours a night, doing whatever I could at the office, coming home to study, going out to network, and coming home at 4 a.m.

He was breaking into the vibrant Las Vegas nightlife scene with one of the biggest companies in the world, but Edgar said he sees opportunities for growth in the digital marketing space by promoting club events. and other live entertainment offerings. His study time was focused on Facebook Blueprint, Google Ads, and other online marketing platforms.

“By the time the pandemic hit, my responsibilities had shifted from almost nothing to creating digital marketing strategies for each [Hakkasan] nightclub and day club in Las Vegas and San Diego, developing these campaigns and defining high level strategies, ”said Edgar.

And then it was all gone when March 2020 arrived. He was put on leave with the vast majority of Hakkasan Group staff in Las Vegas, then fired weeks later.

As the big nightlife and hospitality companies in Las Vegas and around the world slowly came back to life with the reopening of some clubs and restaurants last summer, Edgar was using his self-taught skills and valuable experience for a first small-scale consultancy work. . It started with restaurant brands in Las Vegas and LA, as live events weren’t happening, and when some of her clients and colleagues switched to live streaming events, things quickly picked up speed.

Edgar returned to England last fall but continued to work with clients in the United States, and although travel restrictions prevented him from returning to his Las Vegas business center, he is busier than never. His new company, Five Eleven Marketing, collaborates regularly with some of the biggest nightlife, hospitality and festival brands in the United States.

“The position I am in now, I couldn’t have been here otherwise,” he says. “I earn four times the money and manage my time. COVID sucks really bad for everyone, no doubt about it, but I feel like coming out of it as one of the lucky ones. “

One of the most significant trends in the COVID-era economy is laid-off employees who become entrepreneurs. Figures from the US Census Bureau show that about 4.3 million new business applications were filed in 2020, about one million more than in 2019.

In the world of Las Vegas nightlife, the Hakkasan group bounced back and got their staff back to work as clubs reopened to an enthusiastic crowd ready to party again. In April, the merger of the Hakkasan Group and the Tao Group was announced, forming a hospitality giant operating more than 60 locations across five continents. In Las Vegas, the expanded Tao Group now operates clubs like Marquee at the Cosmopolitan, Omnia at Caesars Palace, Wet Republic at MGM Grand and restaurants including the new Casa Calavera at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Lavo at Palazzo and the Tao at flagship Venetian.

“Demand now, we’ve never seen anything like it,” Edgar said. “Everything we put on sale disappears immediately, across the board, and the demand for experiences is higher than ever. Once international travel picks up, it’s going to be crazy because when you can travel anywhere, everyone chooses Vegas. It is the ultimate destination for people in UK, Europe and the rest of America as well. “

It is also the ultimate destination for Edgar as he plans to return and continue to grow his business as soon as possible.

“It’s nice to see friends and family back in England again, but being this far away and being eight hours ahead of the United States is not ideal,” he said. “Since I don’t need the entire office setup, I can work from anywhere. I can come to Ibiza, where I am now, and bring my laptop, but you take the rough with the smooth I guess. I can’t wait to be back in Las Vegas.

This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

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