While entertainment retail has been a growing trend for some years now, the "E" word also seems to be entering every other aspect of daily life. So much so that this year's Entertainment Real Estate Forum will focus on the broader topic, "out-of-home entertainment."

Ecklein Communications Inc. (ECi) is holding its sixth annual forum, June 27-29, at the new Bellagio resort/casino in Las Vegas. The 1999 conference, also co-sponsored by Shopping Center World and Gaming Today, is different from previous years in that it addresses the entertainment industry more extensively.

"This year, we're covering anything in the out-of-home entertainment market," says Dave Derby, vice president of Novato, Calif.-based ECi. "Basically, it's anything involving real estate and entertainment -- including amusement parks, retail, themed restaurants, sporting events and theaters."

ECi defines out-of-home entertainment as the effective and successful integration of enjoyment into various facets of the consumer lifestyle. >From shopping for food or clothing to getting the car washed, Americans are seeking more enjoyment during everyday activities. Entertainment, Derby says, is changing the way people shop, play, work, eat, drink and live.

Besides the expansion of the entertainment category, this year's conference will also include a new networking arena for exhibitors. Situated between the general session room and the break-out room, the networking arena will be the hub of the entire conference.

"Our exhibit space in the past was in the general session room," Derby says. "This year we will have a 4,000 sq. ft. networking arena for the 30 exhibitors of products and services."

Here's what's on tap for the three-day conference:

June 27 Conference registration begins on Sunday, June 27, at 2 p.m. From 3-5 p.m., the pre-conference workshop titled "Theming the Experience" focuses on the "nuts and bolts" associated with developing state-of-the-art "experiences." The opening-night welcome begins at 6 p.m.

June 28 On Monday, June 28, a continental breakfast in the networking arena is followed at 9 a.m. by the opening session, "Out-of-Home Entertainment Defined." From 10:45 a.m. to noon, the general session covers "Beyond UECs: What's Next for Entertainment-Driven Retail."

Following the keynote luncheon presentation, the "What's Next" workshops offer in-depth panel discussions on a variety of topics: "UECs and Retail Entertainment" and "Culture, Arts and Heritage" at 1:30 p.m.; and "Innovative Restaurant Concepts" and "Destination Downtown" at 3:15 p.m.

At 4:30 p.m., in the "What's Next Roundtable Sessions," industry experts discuss where the market is today and where it will be tomorrow. Attendees can select from 15 different topics: retail entertainment, cultural attractions, destination downtown, tenant mixing, dining alternatives, work/play deals, strategic alliances, interactive FECs, the sporting life, gaming and entertainment, destination resorts, retail tourism, middle market madness, entertainment technology and consumer trends.

The roundtable discussions are followed by the "What's Next" cocktail party at 6:30 p.m.

June 29 On Tuesday, June 29, after a continental breakfast in the networking arena, two "What's Next" sessions begin at 9 a.m. Attendees can choose from "Entertainment-Driven Retail" and "Destination Resorts."

From 10:35-11:45 a.m., sessions include "FECs, LBEs and Theme Parks" and "It's not Gaming ... That's Entertainment." The closing keynote presentation takes place at 11:45, followed at noon by "What's Next for Out-of-Home Entertainment."

Finally, attendees can join the "Vegas Hot Sites Tour" from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

ECi recommends the conference for creators, designers, owners and operators of entertainment-driven attractions and venues. The conference fee is $850, plus $50 for the Las Vegas tour, which is optional. For more information on the sixth annual Entertainment Real Estate Forum, call (800) 285-2332. Or visit the ECi website at www.eci-global.com for more details as they become available.