Random Ramblings April 2016


Las Vegas Strip

April 2016: Visitation numbers are going up, up, up. The pro’s and the con’s
After a rather rough time between 2008 and 2014, Vegas seems to be recovering rapidly. Since 2014, visitation numbers are increasing. In 2014 a little over 41 million people visited Las Vegas, in 2015 this number increased to 42.3 million. During the first couple of months of 2016, the number of people travelling to and through McCarran Airport increased with almost 9% compared to the same period in 2015. So it’s safe to say people are willing to spend money in Vegas again. A wonderful development in some ways. Las Vegas continues to reinvent itself and new exciting things are being accomplished:

• New hotels/resorts coming to the Strip: Resorts World Las Vegas, Alon Las Vegas, The Lucky Dragon and Sands Las Vegas considering to add another 1000 rooms to the Venetian
• The Riviera closed and will be imploded to make way for a new and expanded convention center
• The construction of the 20,000 seat T-Mobile Sports and Entertainment Arena between Monte Carlo and New York New York
• The construction of The Park Las Vegas between Monte Carlo and New York New York
• The building of a new 5,000 seat Theater at the Monte Carlo
• The complete rebranding and improving of Down Town Las Vegas which has been a work in progress for a couple of years now

For a couple of Vegas nuts like we are, it’s great to see all these wonderful new things coming to Vegas. But there’s a downside to all of this good news as well, especially for regular, returning visitors of Sin City. When Vegas was struggling, the returning customer was “King of the Castle”. Vegas resorts enticed us with great offers an showered loyal Vegas customers with free rooms, discounted shows, resort credit, free upgrades, free play, etc. Groupon and Travelzoo had great deals for dining and shows, prices for food and beverage were reasonable and walking the Strip was still doable. A lot of “Vegas regulars” are cheering for Vegas’ recovery throughout the internet and in some ways we wonder why. It’s hard to disregard the downside of the growth in visitation numbers as a returning customer:

• Offers through players clubs like Total Rewards and Mlife seem to go down (less free play & resort credit)
• Decreasing benefits connected to players club status
• The introduction of paid parking on the Las Vegas Strip (starting April 2016)
• Increasing resort fees
• Prices for food & beverage going up ($35 for a bucket of beers at a Las Vegas pool is very common)
• Prices for show tickets going up
• Tighter slotmachines, no more +EV video poker, 6:5 Blackjack, in other words: bad gambling odds
• Walking the Strip is becoming a real pain in the butt with the increasing number of panhandlers, street performers, time share hawkers, porn slappers, cd-hustlers, water salesmen and………..a growing crowd in general

All of these things probably won’t matter much to people who visit Vegas once or for the first time. But somehow, returning visitors like we are have very mixed feelings about what’s happening in Vegas right now. We don’t feel appreciated like we used to do. Our business does not seem to mean what it used to mean a couple of years ago. So what’s your take on all of this? Do you feel what we’re feeling or should we just stop whining?

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