ARIA Resort Vegas, location of PLANET’s Executive Forum, featured in United Airlines Hemispheres Magazine

I was flying home recently on United Airlines from a consulting trip that took me through Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.  I realized I had not read Hemispheres Magazine (United’s Inflight Magazine) for the month of December yet, so I flipped through it as my plane took off out of a cold, snowy and icy Allentown, PA.  I love the articles in Hemispheres, including the awesome monthly column, Three Perfect Days – where the authors give you a long weekend tour through International desitnations.

One of the columns had a great article on the ARIA Hotel and Resort – which hosts PLANET’s Executive Forum in Las Vegas this coming February.  It was on the automated, computer-controlled liquor delivery system that is throughout the entire hotel.  See the article online here, or, here it is:

Totally Tubular!

A Vegas casino makes liquor quicker.

Illustration Graham Roumieu

Las Vegas

WHEN YOU VISIT the newly opened ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, order a drink and ask the person on the next bar stool to guess how far he thinks the libation will travel from the bottle to your glass. If he gets it right, you’ll buy the next round.

The answer: between 1,000 and 10,000 feet, or up to two miles.

The ARIA, which is part of the stunning new CityCenter, has been constructed with a first-of-its-kind, computer-driven liquor transportation system. Deep in the bowels of the hotel reside six so-called “pump rooms” containing 32 brands of booze. In each room, 1,344 bottles stacked six deep are placed upside down in specialized holders controlled by a computer. Some 26 miles of tubing—or just under a marathon’s worth—zip the liquor around the facility.

Say you’re in the blackjack pit and you feel a little thirsty. You place your order with a server, and she sashays over to a bartender, who punches a code into one of his three liquor guns, sending a signal to the central computer. Precisely measured jiggers of hooch are dispatched through a network of quarter-inch-thick plastic arteries winding behind the casino’s walls. Et voilà: Your Long Island iced tea, sir.

While this set-up helps the casino to monitor its liquor inventory and prevents bartenders from being egregiously generous, it also ensures that customers get their cocktails promptly. “Our liquor guns are pretty intelligent,” explains Heidi Hinkle, beverage director at ARIA. In a casino, every second lost to a bartender fumbling with a bottle of Absolut is time a customer isn’t gambling—and the house isn’t profiting. To make sure nothing goes wrong, ARIA does what casinos usually do: It watches things, very closely. “We have employees monitoring the pump rooms twenty-four hours a day,” Hinkle says. “Just in case.”—MICHAEL KAPLAN

The even funnier part of this is that I was in Vegas recently for a meeting with another client, and the ARIA is large and in charge on the Vegas skyline.  There was an article in Saturday’s paper about their opening in a few weeks, and it was fun for me to realize that PLANET would be having its Executive Forum in a brand new hotel!  Now, I know we’ll have regulated liquor as well…  Ha.

That said, if you have not registered for EF 2010 yet, you can do so here – the early bird ends January 19th (ironically my birthday!) – and the hotel rates are only $149, a substantial discount for this hotel.  See you there!

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