In a nightlife ecosystem as cutthroat as Las Vegas, clubs come and go like feathers in the wind. But Ryan Jones has always found solid ground.
As the Assistant Vice President of Nightlife for Wynn and Encore Las Vegas, Jones has played an integral role cultivating one of the most formidable power-players in the entertainment capital of the world. Thanks in part to his disruptive marketing strategies, XS Nightclub, Encore Beach Club and the rest of Wynn Nightlife's properties have long been considered a paragon of innovation in Sin City.
However, Jones' latest triumph is arguably the most impactful brushstroke of his gilded career canvas. He's credited with launching the first-ever North American nightlife residency of legendary trio Swedish House Mafia, whose return after a near-decade hiatus has gripped the electronic dance music community at large.
EDM.com caught up with Jones to discuss his role in the residency and the secret sauce to longevity in Las Vegas.
EDM.com: Can you tell our readers about your start in nightlife? How did you first get into entertainment?
Ryan Jones: I got my start on the operational side, but really found my passion in nightlife by going through each and every department, where I later found my niche in strategy marketing and entertainment. I’ve served many positions from general manager of Encore Beach Club to executive director of operations for multiple venues, to much more.
EDM.com: You’re credited with launching Swedish House Mafia’s first-ever North American nightlife residency. How did that come about?
Ryan Jones: Swedish House Mafia really came about via our relationship with not only the band, but management as well. Whether it was working with the artists as individuals or with the management team on other artists, we already had an established relationship.
The reality of an SHM residency came to fruition when the band got back together at Coachella and dropped a new album. The conversations continued to flow and here we are landing Swedish House Mafia and their first-ever North American nightlife residency.
EDM.com: What role did you play in landing that historic residency? Walk us through the motions.
Ryan Jones: After we had Steve Angelo and Sebastian Ingrosso as resident artists in 2019, I grew a close relationship with not only the band, but their team. So getting all three members to Wynn for an exclusive residency is something that has been in the works for quite some time. I was persistent in bringing this first-ever nightclub residency to Wynn Nightlife, so continued negotiations with the group and here we are.
EDM.com: You’ve seen firsthand how Wynn nightlife has evolved—and stayed on top—over the course of a decade. What’s the secret sauce to longevity in an ecosystem like Vegas?
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Ryan Jones: First and foremost, I think it’s always looking into that crystal ball and around the bend of what’s coming next as far as entertainment goes. It’s important to find that something that will keep the brand fresh and relevant in addition to throwing the best parties, booking top-tier talent and hosting out of market activations.
I would be remiss to leave out the fact that our daylife and nightlife venues are located within Wynn, and we give—in my opinion—the best service, hospitality, and have the best staff assisting our guests day in and day out.
EDM.com: What are some of the values at the bedrock of your approach to nightlife? And which do you feel are most responsible for impact on Wynn’s blue-ribbon nightlife experiences?
Ryan Jones: Entertainment and service are the core value of what makes Wynn Nightlife successful. You need to have compelling entertainment that is exciting and relevant to keep the visitors coming back time and time again.
Once the guests are in the room, you have to give them a great experience and impeccable service that leaves them with that undeniable feeling that I not only got an incredible show, but amazing service. This level of service is universal across our property as a whole whether a nightclub, spa or restaurant.
EDM.com: Considering you’ve consistently risen through the nightlife ranks, what would your advice be to an organizer or promoter who feels they’ve hit a vocational glass ceiling?
Ryan Jones: In this industry people get stuck in one lane. I started out on the operational side and now I have little to do with operations, and much more on the other side of the business with marketing strategy and talent.
I believe it’s important for young people in this business to try all different aspects of it whether it’s hosting, sales, public relations or operations and find where your true passion lies. It’s almost like going to college without a degree in mind, so you go into the business wondering where can I go from here, and find the lane that you love. Once you find that lane, grind through it as hard as you can.
EDM.com: If you could pinpoint one experience that was directly responsible for a breakthrough in your career, which would it be?
Ryan Jones: There have been many milestones and we will continue to have more, but a notable moment in my career was being a part of the team that conceptualized putting multiple world-famous venues under one umbrella, which resulted in the creation of the Wynn Nightlife brand as opposed to Wynn just having individual outlets.
EDM.com: What does the next 10 years look like for Las Vegas nightlife?
Ryan Jones: Vegas nightlife you will continue to see a lot more of in the current market. It’s a big business and I don’t think you’ll see it go anywhere anytime soon. It’s a true attraction for the city when we book big artists and performers.
What you will see for Wynn Nightlife in the next 10 years is renovations to our current venues, new outlets popping up, different style experiences and continuing on the path of booking top-tier DJs, and entertainment as a whole.