A fixture on the Las Vegas nightlife scene for more than a decade and head of Las Vegas Nightlife Group, which operates Encore Beach Club, Surrender Nightclub, Andrea’s and Society Café, Sean Christie needs little more than that for an introduction. While Christie’s résumé also boasts stints with the House of Blues and Light Group, we were surprised to learn this nightlife don also has extensive nontraditional marketing experience and in fact curated campaigns for the residential arm of City Center. Given this skill set, Steve Wynn recently charged Christie with attracting major film and television productions to the resort. We caught up with Christie to discuss his new role and to see how he and his team are keeping things fresh at Encore Beach Club as it enters its fifth summer pool season.
Why is there a sudden interest in bringing movie productions to Wynn and Encore?
When Maurice Wooden became president, he shared a meal with Mr. Wynn, who asked Wooden, “What do you think is something of big-picture importance we need to be doing?” Maurice responded that we should explore both traditional and nontraditional measures to expose this amazing place. Wynn has always strived to offer the best service and décor, and this is validated—at least in some way—by the awards we’ve received. Their goal is to expose the brand. And with millions watching, they thought this was the best way. From there, they approached me to help, because I am someone who is a bit nontraditional. We’ve started pursuing projects similar to what has been done at Mr. Wynn’s earlier properties with Ocean’s 11 at Bellagio and Vegas Vacation at The Mirage.
How are you going about that pursuit?
We’ve pretty much created a mini department with a team that consists of [Wynn Resorts’ senior vice president of marketing] Michael Weaver, [Las Vegas Nightlife Group publicist and communications specialist] Lisa Long Adler and myself. Together, over a six-month period, we traveled to Los Angeles and met with agencies that we already have relationships with like William Morris Endeavor, from our nightclub bookings, and production companies like Lionsgate and Sony. The idea was to tell Hollywood and reality-show [producers] that we are available.
The offers have started coming in, and, in fact, we’ve almost received too many! This affords us the luxury to make sure that the opportunities we select are also the right fit for the brand. With [the sequel to] Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Kevin James actually rewrote the entire script to make the resort the co-star, and once [we wrap principal photography], we already have another very exciting project in the pipeline.
Do you have any background in film production?
While I personally had no experience in this arena, Michael Weaver has had extensive experience from working on The Hangover at Caesars, and our entire team has really risen to the challenge. It’s been just like any new project I’ve undertaken at Wynn, be it an ultralounge, the beach club or a restaurant, in that it’s very much worth doing.
Shifting gears, on the eve of Encore Beach Club’s four-year anniversary, what are you doing to keep the programming fresh?
We have a bunch of great new residents, and are the first property in Las Vegas to have Avicii—who is probably the biggest DJ in the world—exclusively. We also have Ryan Lewis and Macklemore playing over Memorial Day weekend and at our four-year anniversary party, which will happen June 4. [Lewis and Macklemore] are really having as big a year as anyone right now, and really crossed over to the mainstream lexicon with what I consider to have been the best performance at the Grammys with the mass wedding ceremony occurring to “Same Love.”
What is Encore Beach Club at Night?
We have had a sporadic Thursday Night Swim party, where we’ve opened the interior of Surrender nightclub and had guests enter and exit through the casino. Part of the appeal of Encore Beach Club for locals is that they can walk into the venue directly from the parking garage. So we are repositioning the door [like we do for Encore Beach Club] and really encouraging people to get in the pool. We will be having more contests and promotions than ever, and locals will of course be free. We are really taking a page out of our sister club XS’ playbook. The party will also be visually heavy and take full advantage of our new LED screen and focus on big-name talent. We will have Zedd three times, Ne-Yo on July 3 and Major Lazer on June 19, which is almost sold out. Out of 21 Thursdays in the season, a third or more will feature what we consider “A-entertainment.”