EMBA Student Spotlight: Cohort 17's Frank Corto - Founder & President, Sin City VIP
Large corporate groups and small wedding parties alike seek out Frank Corto (Cohort 17), founder and president of Sin City VIP, as the “inside-guy” for access to the latest hot spots and biggest special events in the City of Entertainment.
Founded in 2002 as a destination management company, Sin City VIP is so much more. Under Corto’s direction, a dedicated band of tourism professionals work to create custom Las Vegas experiences for groups ranging in size from two people to sizable corporate outings.
Consulting directly with a designated contact of the group, Sin City VIP’s planners design a trip itinerary to match the desires of the client. “We handle as much or as little as each group would like us to coordinate,” said Corto. From a night on the town to all-inclusive weekend vacations, Sin City VIP assists with hotel bookings, show tickets, club entrance, restaurant reservations, off-Strip excursions and more. “We pretty much let each client pick and choose which experiences the group needs and wants.”
What puts the VIP in Corto’s services? The Sin City VIP business model includes partnering with Las Vegas’ most prestigious casino resort properties, as well as high-end restaurants and “hot” clubs. Working together they offer clients red-carpet service. Corto explains that one of the perks of being a Sin City VIP client is the ability to skip the lines at clubs while being personally escorted through the ropes to a designated table complete with customized bottle service. “It’s really a great way to kick off the night,” said Corto. “You truly get the experience of walking in like a celebrity.” Among Sin City VIP’s many insider “gets” are access to sold-out shows in addition to impossible-to-get restaurant reservations. “We even provide a personal concierge who can accompany clients throughout their trip if they so desire.”
Corto began his rise to tourism-insider-extraordinaire while a UNLV undergraduate majoring in management information systems. “A classmate and I started registering domain names and building websites,” said Corto. “It was in the early days of the internet and the properties around town were eager to create an online presence. That led to us promoting the clubs and other entertainment options.”
It wasn’t long before people from around the country and the globe began contacting Corto for advice on where to stay, play, and party. “The business grew from there,” Corto said. Today Sin City VIP works with almost every major property on and off the Strip and creates custom Las Vegas experiences for thousands of visitors annually. “Much of our business is repeat and referrals. For each new client we sign, it’s exponential how many future reservations result from that initial booking. Ideally, we’re looking for groups that are about eight to twelve guests.”
Constantly evolving to offer clients what they want, Corto launched Draft Party USA in 2014 specializing in creating and staging sports viewing parties for major events including the Super Bowl, Final Four and UFC Fights, among others. Draft Party USA also specializes in crafting Fantasy Football Draft parties. The experience can include venue selection; a private VIP event; a personal hostess who manages the draft boards; custom draft areas with pre-arranged private seating; customized draft boards; on-site celebrity sports correspondents; an open bar, as well as other bespoke offerings. In addition, Draft Party USA customizes team merchandise.
“We really go above and beyond to make each experience unique,” Corto said. And, his attention to detail has paid off. Draft Party USA has been a national brand since 2017, hosting events with partner locations in New Orleans, Baltimore, Denver, Seattle, Minneapolis and Detroit, with new locations coming in Dallas, Dayton, Houston and Charlotte.
From fantasy football to the real thing, Corto isn’t letting the turf grow under his feet. He is in talks with the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders to offer tours of the new stadium and other surprises. Corto explains that sports are already big business for Sin City VIP. “Our busiest times every year include Super Bowl weekend and Final Four among other high-profile events that draw people to party in Las Vegas.”
Why would a highly successful entrepreneur choose to pursue an EMBA? “I’ve be running my businesses primarily on instinct and self-learned lessons,” said Corto. Fortunately Corto’s instincts have been spot on, “but I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” he said.
“Everything I am learning in the UNLV EMBA program I am putting into practice for the business,” said Corto. “After completing the accounting courses, I changed the way Sin City VIP prices its packages, resulting in an increase in revenues.” According to Corto, he has also implemented new marketing methods changing the company’s sales process to make it more efficient and effective. He’s also used his free time and new knowledge to draft business plans for several new endeavors. “The leadership courses not only gave me direction, they led me to the conclusion that I had met my capacity as an owner and was ready to grow the companies by staffing-up to meet both current and future demand,” he said.
Infectiously enthusiastic, Corto can’t wait to share his UNLV EMBA experience with prospective students. “Just believe in yourself and do it!” he said. “I always knew I would be creating new businesses for a long time, and I dream of doing it until I’m well past 100. The knowledge I’ve gained through the EMBA program is going to make that journey even more exciting.”