Plan Your Meals in Vegas and Save Big

Friday, 24 October 2014 by Blog Category: Food.

Planning a vacation is one of the easiest and most overlooked ways to save money in Las Vegas. While it’s easy to make an early macro plan for your trip to Las Vegas (airfare, hotels) we shouldn’t forget the micro planning (meals, activities) of your days while on vacation. That’s what we’re going to do today.

Planning what you’re going to eat in Las Vegas is a great way to save money. Spontaneity is part of what makes visiting Las Vegas fun. Not every plan is rigid and set in stone. What I’m going to discuss doesn’t involve specific locations. What I’m going to discuss is more of a ideology based dining plan.

 

Morning

The later in the day you visit a buffet the more expensive they are. Breakfast is the least expensive and most cost effective buffet of the day. If you’re not big on breakfast you can head over to the buffet as it gets closer to lunch time. You’ll be able to eat a wider variety of food as the the assortment changes over.

If you’re a heavy coffee drinker like I am a breakfast buffet is great. You can get pots on pots on pots of coffee for your table. Compare this to $3-$5 per cup at a quick serve coffee stand in the casino and you’re probably saving money already.

Depending on which buffet you visit for breakfast you may have an omelet station to make a fresh dish as if you were at a traditional restaurant. Combine the coffee copious amounts of coffee with an inexpensive meal and you have a full stomach to power you through a day in Las Vegas.

 

Lunch

I’m not so big on lunch when vacationing in Las Vegas. I’m usually busy enjoying the beautiful weather or in the casino and often want to grab something quick and get back to the fun. Food courts are perfect for a quick cheap bite. (Here are 5 of the best food courts in Las Vegas)

You can grab a quick and filling lunch for under $10 at most food courts. Food courts aren’t the places you often think of dining when you’re on vacation but they serve a purpose and shouldn’t be forgotten.

If you’re looking for a big meal before the sun goes down you might want to hit a lunch buffet later in the day. Depending on your appetite you might be able to eat enough food to power you through the night.

 

Dinner

Happy Hour is one of the most popular ways to eat at the fantastic Las Vegas restaurants at a discount. You’ll be eating an early dinner but you’ll often find dishes anywhere from a few dollars to 50% less expensive than the regular menu.

Happy Hour at The Palm at the Caesars Palace Forum Shops is one of the more famous Las Vegas Happy Hour deals. You can eat small plates of food at a fine dining establishment for a fraction of what it would normally cost. Here are some references for keeping up on Happy Hour in Las Vegas.

 

Drinks

Discounted drinks at Happy Hour are great but here are a couple of other options to save money on drinks. When you’re dining at a restaurant check the price of the full bottle instead of the glass if you’re planning on having more than 2 glasses total. This could lessen the overall cost per glass.

If you’re going out to a nice restaurant see if they let you bring your own bottle of wine. Bringing your own bottle will save you the huge markup. If you don’t finish a bottle of wine (regardless of where it was purchased) you may be able to have it corked so you can enjoy later.

You can visit a liquor store or drugstore to save money on beer and spirits if you don’t mind bringing your own down to the casino from your room. Just remember that you can’t take glass bottles outside if you plan on leaving the casino.

 

Snacks

Last but not least are snacks. If you know that you’re a snacker you can bring a bag of pretzels or whatever from home to save a few bucks. If that’s not on your mind when packing just stop off at a drugstore. The cost of a small snack in a hotel vending machine often costs about the same as the retail sized bag at a drugstore.

 

If you’ve been to Las Vegas recently you should have noticed a lot of changes. These changes are meant to keep the city fresh to returning customers and to attract newer and younger customers. Well, the good news for the casino and hotel operators is that the refreshments they’ve made to Las Vegas are working for the younger and, hopefully, future customers.

 

In the past two years the median age of the average customer in Las Vegas has gone from 50 years old to 44 years old. Simple math would tell you that’s a difference of six years. While six years isn’t exactly a lifetime it is an entirely different life. Nobody is the same today as they were six years ago. Six years ago the people that are now legal age to gamble were just 15.

 

That 50 year old that may be hitting a midlife crisis today was a relatively spry young 44 years old just six years ago. The change is made more drastic when you realize that a median is the midpoint of a value and not the average. In this case it means that there are many more new young people visiting than older people who continue to visit Las Vegas.

 

The good news for the older Las Vegas customer is that you’re not really getting older quicker as the people around you are simply getting younger. Those numbers of young customers in Las Vegas are growing and will continue to grow as restaurants, bars, clubs and shows are tailored to fit their needs. Someone closer to 21 has much different desires and needs that someone twice their age.

 

We first saw refreshments in the different types of entertainment. Years ago people would come to Las Vegas and enjoy a free music act in a lounge. Free lounge acts are mostly gone in Las Vegas today. Sure there were shows that cost money back then but paying for a ticket to see Elvis Presley or The Rat Pack wasn’t the only option for entertainment. Today younger customers are paying upwards of $50-$100 when visiting a nightclub to see a DJ play their favorite songs.

 

The Britney Spears “Piece of Me” residency may be looked at as a game changer for shows in the future. In addition to younger customers, the show helped bring Planet Hollywood $20 million more in revenue over the past year. Bruno Mars is doing the same across the street at The Cosmopolitan. Even traditional shows like Absinthe at Caesars Palace are skewing towards younger customers.

 

The changes are also taking place in restaurants. Gone are the bargain buffets that would save you money on meals for the rest of the day. Today buffets are gourmet experiences that often cost as much as eating a meal at a traditional restaurant. Restaurants are also trying to bring that nightclub vibe to a dining experience. It’s working as Tao and Lavo are among the restaurants in Las Vegas that make the most money.

 

Besides bonus bets and lower returns casino games haven’t changed much over the years. Some casino games can never change but it’s reasonable to expect the casino floor to have a new look and feel as their changes mirror the changes in other parts of the casino-hotels. Revenue from the casino may not be what it was 50 years ago but its profit margin is nothing the operators will forget about.

 

Las Vegas is constantly changing for better or worse. The casino-hotel operators are always looking forward to their next customer. It’s been a while since they started building for new customers but it seems as though the operators have found a woking equation for newer, younger customers. Expect these kind of changes to continue.

Interesting Las Vegas Survey Results

Friday, 17 October 2014 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

Not everyone that visits Las Vegas is coming to this wonderful town for the same reason. We know this simply by looking around. This is why we touch on different topics with the blog each week. We’re just trying to make sure everyone knows everything happening in Las Vegas. This is no easy task but we’re up for it.

Every year the Las Vegas Visitor and Convention Authority releases a survey of who’s actually visiting Las Vegas. Every year their findings confirm what we see and offer even more information than we could imagine. 64% of first time visitors to Las Vegas are coming to Las Vegas for vacation. That’s almost 2/3rds of visitors surveyed by Las Vegas! They know that they want to visit America’s adult playground but they’re just coming to town to relax and take a load off.

Veterans of visiting Las Vegas don’t realize how many new visitors there are to this city every year. While we’re always trying to offer ideas of new things things to do it’s important not to forget that there are still people who have never seen the classics like the Bellagio Fountains or the “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas” Sign. Pro-Tip: Veterans should head past the Stratosphere to grab a pic at the “Welcome To Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas” sign.

The Fountains and Sign never get old but there may be a tendency to look for the hot new things to see and experience. Checking out the free art displays available in Las Vegas is a great way to make it around old town and to explore some of the more luxurious hotels in Las Vegas. Going “Around The World” is another way to explore some of the favorite themed hotels. Little tours like this can keep Las Vegas fresh for veterans visitors and give new visitors to Las Vegas a virtual tour guide around town.

Even though 72% of visitors to Las Vegas are going to see shows only 13% are seeing the big, expensive shows. Almost everyone (87%) that comes to Las Vegas to see a show is spending their time at lounge acts, less expensive or free shows. Not only does Travel Vegas offer discounted show tickets but there are also free show tickets. Occasionally this blog will highlight some free Las Vegas shows. A couple of weeks ago we spotlighted a series of free shows you can check out at The Lounge at Palms.

There aren’t many free activities left in Las Vegas like there once was so we try to seek out free things to do that aren’t a waste of time. The free shows and concerts at the Fremont Street Experience is a great way to multi-task an inexpensive part of your Las Vegas vacation. Not only can you see free concerts and light shows but you can also explore Downtown Vegas, which many people still consider to be “Old Vegas”.

We come up with new blog ideas by spending a lot of time out and about in Las Vegas, by monitoring social media, from your questions and by reading surveys like this one from the  Las Vegas Visitor and Convention Authority. Don’t hesitate to ask for ideas if you’re curious about things to do in Las Vegas. We’re always here for a quick tweet or a blog that everyone can share.

 

Found a Vegas Discount? Check The Fine Print

Thursday, 16 October 2014 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

We’re always looking out for ways to save money in Las Vegas. There are so many ways to save but some of those discounts, deals and special offers can get confusing. Marketing and advertising people are in the business of deception. Most people over 21 understand that the sandwich on TV never looks the same when they see it in person. We know that what we see isn’t always what we get. This is true anywhere but especially in Las Vegas where all marketing, PR and advertising is embellished to some degree.

Marketing can get confusing when a hotel, restaurant or show is promoting “specials”, “deals” and “discounts”. There’s often fine print with the great offers that we find. Here are some things to consider when you see an offer that seems too good to be true.

 

Discounts

There’s a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for most items. Few businesses charge this much. They’ll often sell goods for a price that they think customers will pay, not what the manufacturer says. This discrepancy is what makes guessing prices on shows like The Price Is Right so difficult. When it comes to discounting things in Las Vegas like show tickets and hotel rooms make sure you can an eye on where the discount is coming from. Discounting a hotel room 20% from MSRP may not be as much of a discount than you’ll get from just searching for a hotel room on any travel website or entering your players club information in the casino website.

 

Specials

Las Vegas has a special for just about everything. You can visit a bar who sells a certain brand of beer for $5 a bottle. That same bar may also have a “special” where you can buy a bucket of 5 beers for $25. That’s not really a special. It’s just a commitment to buy 5 beers for the same price per beer as a single beer. The price isn’t the problem but the lack of truth in advertising is a problem. It’s a personal preference that I try to stay away from businesses that practice this kind of deception.

 

Deals

Not all deals are deals. Let’s try this without naming names. Let’s say a hotel company in Las Vegas allows you to eat at their buffets for 24 hours at one low price. You may think that’s a deal until you add up individual buffet prices and realize the deal costs about the same as buying the package deal. This kind of deal may save a few dollars but the restrictions may not be worth it. It’s important to know the details of each package deal.

 

Fine Print

Make it a rule to look for fine print when you see discounts, deals and specials in Las Vegas. There may be exclusions. For example in the buffet scenario you may be limited to which hotel buffets you can eat. The beer special may limit your bucket of beer to certain brands. Limitations may make the special offers less appealing.

This isn’t to say that all discounts, deals and specials are bad. Quite the contrary. There are so many good deals out there but you just have to make sure you’re actually getting a great offer. In an effort to keep up with the real deals some marketing people have decided to use the buzzwords without offering an offer of substance. Keep an eye on all of your deals and get the most for your dollar.

 

Top 5 Halloween Events in Las Vegas 2014

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 by Blog Category: Entertainment.

Halloween in Las Vegas is something else. Halloween may not be an official bank holiday but it feels like it could be in Las Vegas. Over the past few years the popularity of Halloween has exploded in Las Vegas unlike any other city. Let’s take a look at some of the bigger Halloween events besides what you’ll find in your favorite bar or club.

 

Fright Dome at Circus Circus: 7pm-midnight all month

Circus Circus’ Adventuredome is turned into Fright Dome for the month of October. Terror Dome is comprised of six (6!) haunted houses, four new “scare zones”, 25 rides and attractions, live performances and more. Fright Dome is a family friendly environment that is meant more for kids than their parents. Tickets begin at $39.95 with VIP passes available.

 

Fetish & Fantasy Ball at Hard Rock Hotel: October 31, 10pm-4am

The Fetish & Fantasy Ball has become a tradition in Las Vegas in the exact opposite way Fright Dome has. This is definitely not one for the kids and only 21 and over are allowed entry. The Ball expects around 7,500 guests at this year’s event. This is probably the most adult themed event that you will find for Halloween in Las Vegas. There are DJ’s, a variety of performers including fire breathers and more. The Fetish & Fantasy Ball is a huge freak fest unlike any other in the country. Words cannot do this justice so check out the NSFW teaser video for a better idea.

 

“Rockin’ Horror Picture Show” Bash at The Bourbon Room inside The Venetian: October 31 10pm-4am

Here’s something different. A free movie screening in a Las Vegas casino. The Bourbon Room (aka Rock of Ages bar) will be screening the movie “Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Halloween. Not that you should need an excuse to dress up for a screening of RHPS but there is a $2,000 grand prize for the best dressed. There will also be Jack Daniels drink specials all night. Since the Bourbon Room is a bar on the casino floor this isn’t open to anyone under 21.

 

The Victim Experience at Grand Canyon Shopping Center: 7pm-11pm or 12am all month

The Victim Experience is off the Vegas Strip and geared towards locals but it shouldn’t be skipped if you’re looking for a unique Halloween experience. This is a semi-adult themed haunted house experience with nobody under 18 allowed. The goal of The Victim Experience is true and realistic horror. It’s not for the faint of heart. This is as realistic as a haunted house will get. You can learn more here.

 

5th annual Las Vegas Halloween Parade on Fremont Street: October 31

This is another event that’s more locals focused but fun for anyone. Las Vegas Halloween Parade returns to Downtown Las Vegas for the 5th year with lineup beginning on Fremont and 13th Street at 4pm. The parade begins at 7pm sharp and moves west along Fremont Street East. There will be floats, art cars and people in costume. There will also be awards given out for best costumes in a variety of categories.

 

These 5 events are really just the tip of the iceberg for Halloween in Las Vegas. Just about every bar and club will have a Halloween themed party. To be frank, you don’t even need a party. Just grab a drink and a seat at a casino bar and watch the freak show walking through the property.

 

6 Great Places to Shop for Vegas Souvenirs

Friday, 10 October 2014 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

So, you’re in Las Vegas for the first time and you want some memories to take home to friends and family. Your stories of a great time can only have so much of an effect on others. You know your friends will appreciate the thought of an actual gift that they can keep. Like any city built on tourism there are gift shops everywhere to snag something for your friends and loved ones back home. Of course not all gift shops are created the same. In fact, not all gift shops are gift shops. More on that later. Let’s take a look at some places to find a souvenir.

 

Hotel Gift Shops

If you want a gift specifically branded from a certain hotel-casino in Las Vegas your best bet is to head to the property gift shop. You have the best chance of finding an Excalibur castle shirt at the gift shop on site. Just expect to pay higher hotel prices for the gifts whether you’re in the lobby or a mall at a hotel.

 

Drug Stores

Drug stores are the best all purpose stores on the Vegas Strip. You can get inexpensive drinks, snacks and toiletries and you can also find Las Vegas souvenirs here. You won’t find the branded hotel souvenirs at CVS or Walgreens but you will find a nice selection Las Vegas shirts and other trinkets to bring home. Since these aren’t hotel prices you should expect to pay a little less than you would at a hotel gift shop.

The Latest Slot Machines Coming to Vegas – G2E 2014

Friday, 03 October 2014 by Blog Category: Gaming.

The annual Global Gaming Expo happens in Las Vegas around this time every year. The conference is more commonly known as G2E and is expo and conference for the casino industry by the casino industry. It’s the largest casino industry gathering of the year. There are panels discussing the business side of things that casino executives find useful but the expo is where it’s at for casino visitors. The expo side of G2E is where all casinos look to buy products for their respective casinos. There’s everything available from signage and food to casino games. Someone has to buy those chairs for the Diamond Lounge at Planet Hollywood, right?

 

Slot machines, of all the different casino games at the expo, are what end up getting the most press. Unlike most other casino games on display you’ll see many of the slot machines from the expo on casino floors soon. Some slot machines like the new Wonder Woman slot machines may already be on casino floors as you read this!

 

New slot machines are so popular at G2E because they’re not just available in Las Vegas. Even small casinos and racinos located all across the country will have some of these slot machines on their property soon. Here are some of the highlights of the new games we found at G2E.

MyVegas Updates New Games and Rewards

Thursday, 02 October 2014 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

Social casino revenue is almost a $3 billion business according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. When it comes to social casinos in Las Vegas there’s really only one that seems to matter – MyVegas. MyVegas can lay claim to $60 million of $3 billion revenue. Wow, almost 20% of social casino revenue goes to a game that’s based on giving reward to Las Vegas hotels, casinos, activities and restaurants. When you think about it, this percentage of social casino revenue for MyVegas is small

Most social casino games are created for you to play simply to have fun. Your sole reward from most social casino games is fun. When you play MyVegas you can actually win physical rewards to use in Las Vegas (and elsewhere, now) while still having fun. If you’re going to spend money on a social casino game for fun why not actually get some useful rewards?

MyVegas has exploded in popularity since it was introduced two years ago. Surely some of the early players have stopped visiting the game on Facebook or haven’t looked at the mobile games lately. If you’re one of those people you’re missing out on a variety of new rewards. MyVegas has expanded from its humble beginnings where they offered rewards at MGM Resorts hotels. There’s nothing wrong with that but as the saying goes “if some is good, more must be better”.

Saving Money in Vegas Starts With Taxis

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

Sometimes real world skills help make their way into Las Vegas. Budgeting skills from work or home life can make your vacation more affordable and even better. We discuss ways to save money when in Las Vegas pretty often but budgeting is one example of a way to get stoked for your vacation to Las Vegas well in advance of your visit.

 

Don’t confuse budgeting with planning. Personally, I like to keep plans in Las Vegas to a minimum. I enjoy the times when I get lost in the chasm that is Las Vegas. However, I always plan for my vacation in Las Vegas by getting a budget prepared. Budgeting for a Las Vegas vacation will help in an effort to save money. You can still enjoy your vacation without a plan but as long as you have your finances in order before visiting you’ll be able to get the most bang for your buck.

 

Budgeting begins with getting out to Las Vegas. Planning your vacation well in advance will give you better opportunities to find less expensive flights and hotel rooms. Even discount and complimentary hotel rooms increase in price as inventory decreases. Once inventory disappears so do the discounts.

Loyalty Clubs – Players Cards – VIP’s O My…

Monday, 29 September 2014 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

Loyalty clubs are great! Loyalty clubs are a waste of time! Opinions on joining loyalty clubs are wide ranging. Like everything else in Las Vegas, loyalty clubs are different and you’re going to want to be a member.

 

Loyalty clubs are more commonly called players clubs in Las Vegas because they started differently than all other loyalty clubs. Loyalty clubs in Las Vegas started as slot clubs offering loyal slot machine players benefits such as free buffets. Slot clubs slowly morphed into players clubs and offered rewards to slot machine players and table game players alike. The evolution of the slot club continued to where many players clubs now mirror loyalty clubs in other businesses.

 

The newest iteration of casino players clubs offer rewards and discounts for all spending in a casino and its hotel from dining to casino to shows. It’s pretty great and for this reason anyone who visits Las Vegas should sign up for players clubs before or during your trip to Las Vegas.

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