As We See It

Local venues offer a taste of Vegas with pop-up events across the country

Paris Hilton, Redfoo and Kaskade help bring Tao to Sundance.
Joe Scarnici, Getty Images

People lounged on the Cosmopolitan’s blue couches. They sipped on the hotel’s spicy Bloody Marys and munched on Holsteins’ crispy pork bun sliders. And it all happened in Miami, where Cosmo set up at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival from February 24-26.

The hotel began taking its signature swagger on the road before the property even opened, offering patrons special deals in exchange for their information. “We decided that it was a great way for us to start engaging potential consumers in other markets,” says Amy Rossetti, director of public relations at the Cosmo. Rossetti says the hotel continues to offer specials at such events and monitors their success with tracking codes. One of the specials offered in Miami was a free upgrade for booking a room. “We’re constantly looking for new ways to continue building our database, that’s proven to be really successful,” said Rossetti.

Since opening, Cosmo has brought its brand to more than 10 annual events, often using a portable two-story structure called “The Slice.” “Through the look and feel of the space, which has the essence of our guest rooms … [patrons are able to] absolutely get a slice of the Cosmopolitan,” Rossetti says. Past patrons of the mobile structure have enjoyed happy hours on its rooftop patio, attended a mixology seminar with Cosmo mixologist Mariena Mercer and learned more about the Strip property by interacting with various members of Cosmo’s team. “It’s a taste, it’s a tease and it makes them want to come and visit,” states Rossetti. “We can engage with the consumer on the ground and … share the story behind the Cosmopolitan.”

Many of the events the hotel has set up at have been prestigious wine and food festivals around the country, and Rossetti assures this is not just a coincidence. “We find that you’re reaching … an affluent audience that loves to travel, loves to drink great wine, loves to eat great food and tries to have new experiences as a whole,” states Rossetti, adding, “That’s why we gravitate towards the food and wine festivals. The demographics, they really align with ours, and it’s just a great fit.”

Portable Vegas: The Slice in Miami.

Portable Vegas: The Slice in Miami.

Hotels aren’t the only businesses going mobile. Tao Group has been putting on afterparties at the Sundance Film Festival for the past eight years, creating pop-up Tao and Marquee nightclubs and lounges and exporting the Vegas experience for four nights.

“I had been going out there … doing events for some of the movie producers we knew, and I just saw that there was no great nightlife going on,” states owner Noah Tepperberg. “We felt it was the right place to do a pop-up because so many of our friends and constituents were there with nothing to do.”

The company’s pop-ups don’t end at the Park City film fest, though. Tao set up shop at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami last year, and is returning to do the same in 2012. All three of the company’s brands (Tao, Lavo and Marquee) will be represented at this year’s pop-up, which serves as a special VIP area for the electronic music event. Tepperberg explains that patrons must purchase a premium on top of their festival ticket to access the VIP area, and he’s quick to add all the amenities festivalgoers would enjoy. “They get a premium experience,” states Tepperberg. “They have their own entrance, they have private bathrooms, they have an elevated stage where they can sit and watch the show, it’s the best view of the show, there’s extra security, it’s a really great thing.”

Tepperberg says the company uses these exclusive events to create relationships with celebrities and DJs, in hopes they will become part of the programming. “We hosted a party for Spike Lee and a movie that he had in the competition … they had a great time and told us when the movie hits theaters next year they want to do a big event with us in Las Vegas.”

The company could soon be bringing their experience to international markets, as the owner stated that the company is looking into creating pop-ups in Ibiza during the island’s busy month of August and at the Cannes Film Festival.

“These pop-ups are, for us, a way to integrate our brand into their world,” Tepperberg says. “When they’re at Sundance, it’s the world of movies, and at a music festival, like EDC or Ultra, it’s the world of dance music … We do rely on those industries for a lot of the content we provide.”

So keep your eyes open next time you’re on vacation. You never know where your favorite club or property will pop up.


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