Let’s start the news with a short personal story. When I first started visiting Las Vegas I couldn’t afford much beyond a hotel room and low limits gambling. I was 21’ish and didn’t have much money to my name. Similar to my life at home, I knew what I could and couldn’t afford and that was fine.
Somehow, I still fell in love with Las Vegas. I could gamble in Atlantic City but it never offered the same experience as Las Vegas. As I earned more money I was able to sample how the other half lived when visiting Las Vegas.
I fell in love with a different part of Las Vegas. My friends and I might stay at Gold Coast because rooms were cheap but we could now afford one great steak dinner and a night at one of the clubs. This new Vegas experience was amazing. I lived the best of all worlds in Las Vegas.
Things have changed over the years. The economy and visitors to Las Vegas are different. As a resident of Las Vegas, I still enjoy fancy nights out, but there are plenty more low rolling nights out.
Even though things might be different, #NewVegas has new customers and they’re not dissimilar to when I first started visiting Las Vegas. Some visitors want the luxury available in Las Vegas while others just want the fun Las Vegas they can afford. There are even more visitors coming to Las Vegas for work.
Some things in Las Vegas have changed drastically and some things are almost the same as they were when I first found Las Vegas. Having said that…
Increasing Resort Fees And Parking Fees In Las Vegas
Being nickeled and dimed by Las Vegas hotels every few months is obnoxious. Hey, like 6:5 blackjack that’s #NewVegas. This week MGM Resorts and Station Casinos increased resort fees at most of their hotels. Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment decided to raise their parking fees. We’ve updated the fee lists again in case you’re keeping track:
Here are a few tips if you hate fees. Total Rewards Diamond and Seven Stars tier members receive complimentary self-parking, valet parking and don’t pay resort fees. Mlife Rewards members Pearl and higher receive complimentary self-parking. Gold members and higher receive free valet parking. You can earn upgrades with free self-parking by signing up for Caesars and MGM Resorts credit cards. You can read more here.
Visitation was way down in January compared to last year. You can see the chart here. Convention attendance fell sharply (‐16.7%) due to the absence of CONEXPO-CON/AGG, International Market Center, and the Surfaces trade show. However, the average daily hotel room rate increased +9.1% to $163.90 despite fewer visitors. The hotel operators can thank the Consumer Electronics Show for that.
When visitors aren’t personally responsible to pay for resort fees and parking fees, they don’t seem to mind the rising prices. Business travelers don’t make up the majority of people visiting Las Vegas. Overall, visitation was just shy of 3.4 million people in January. That’s only down ‐3.3% from last year.
The hotel operators don’t care where the money comes from – as long as it’s coming. The increased number of meeting and conference spaces will bring more visitors that don’t mind paying for increased fees because they’re not footing the bill.
There are some leisure travelers upset about new and rising fees. At the same time, visitation isn’t dropping as loudly as the tweets are speaking. This visitor data for Las Vegas will be more interesting than usual to keep an eye one during the year.
I expect that we’ll continue to see a migration of some veteran visitors away from the Vegas Strip who are fed up with the fees. At the same time, the Vegas Strip continues to be popular with many people who just don’t want to give up visiting their favorite part of town.
As someone who enjoys both the Cosmopolitan and the Gold Coast I can appreciate both thoughts and look forward to seeing what the future has in store.
Palms And Palace-Station Renovation Update
According to Red Rock Resorts (parent company of Station Casinos) recent earnings report, Palace Station renovations are still on track to be finished by the end of the year. However, plans for Palms Casino Resort have been expanded.
There is now a Third Phase of upgrades. The renovations will now include a casino floor expansion featuring 300 new slot machines and 16 table games, an authentic Hong Kong-style Dim Sum restaurant, and a casino connector that connects to Palms Place and the existing self-park garage into the property.
The new completion dates are as follows:
Phase 1 and 2: Second quarter of 2018, with some parts of the second phase to open throughout the first and second quarters of 2019.
Phase 3: Fourth quarter of 2019.
Axis Theater At Planet Hollywood Now Zappos Theater
On the surface, the name change from Axis to Zappos Theater isn’t a big deal. You can read the press release here. However, Johnny Kats at the Las Vegas Review-Journal has more details that could be interesting for Total Rewards guests.
This partnership could bring discounts at Zappos coming for Total Rewards members in the next few months. I love Zappos and most of my shoes have come from the clothing and shoe website. I will gladly take a discount on shoes when available. I can always use an excuse to by some new kicks.
Lionel Richie Adds Shows
If you read my December Trip Report, you know that I enjoyed Lionel Richie’s show at Planet Hollywood. I actually enjoyed it much more than I expected. Caesars announced that Richie has added 16 more shows for later this year. He puts on a great show and I recommend it specifically if you’re a fan of his solo music or The Commodores or both.
Aug. 2018: 15, 17, 18, 21, 24, 25, 28
Oct. 2018: 3, 5, 6, 10, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20
There wasn’t too much big news in Las Vegas this week if you don’t get bent out of shape by rising prices. As usual, there were a handful of nuggets that might appeal to some people but not the masses. For that, we have Quick Hits!
- Penn & Teller’s Fool Us is recording at Rio this week. You can find tickets here.
- It’s 50-something degrees outside today but some dayclubs are already open. See more here.
- Forbes Travel Guide for 2018 was just released. Check out the best of Las Vegas here.
- Remember when Johnny Manziel was Johnny Football and he went to Las Vegas? Read more here.
- The Smith Center announced their 2018-2019 Broadway show lineup. Read more here.