If you pay close attention to what’s happening in Las Vegas, you’ve probably seen a lot of nickel and diming of customers by many casino operators. Resort fees came along a few years ago and continue to rise. When you visit a hotel there are fees that include early check-in, late check-out, rollaway beds and more.
Earlier this year MGM Resorts became the first casino on the Vegas Strip to charge for parking. They’ve also cut back the amount of liquor poured per drink and are now limiting complimentary drinks at the bar when customers are gambling at some bars. To be fair, Caesars Entertainment is doing this at all properties and the Cosmopolitan is monitoring drinks at all video poker bars.
Casinos are businesses and they’re always looking for a new way to make a buck. When gambling revenue was king the casino operators designed the properties to keep you gambling. As spending moved to the non-gaming areas in the casino to spas, restaurants, shows and hotel rooms the casino operators shifted their priority. MGM CEO, Jim Murren, recently said that 75% of their revenue in Las Vegas comes from the non-gaming parts of their casinos.
Individually, each of the “issues” above is annoying but individually they won’t break the camel’s back. In fact, when you add them up they still might not discourage people from visiting Las Vegas at all. The most recent air travel and visitation data show that visitation continues to increase from last year’s record. Like a la carte airline fees, the new casino and hotel fees are often seen as more an annoyance than anything else to the majority of people who want to visit Las Vegas.
Moving Forward
The newest marketing segment that casino operators are targeting is millennials. They follow in the footsteps of Generation X and Baby Boomers before them. A recent study of millennials offers an idea that Las Vegas might want to consider in order to generate more revenue from the youngest visitors to Las Vegas. The study showed that millennials might spend more money in the casino gambling if there were all inclusive packages available.
While this idea might get more millennials to gamble, it’s also appealing to long-time visitors to Las Vegas. Many visitors to Las Vegas are tired of the constant extra fees and an all inclusive option might be more appealing. All inclusive packages to Las Vegas might be able to help casino operators with every segment of the market.
When you visit travel websites, you’ll find package deals for many casinos that are simply hotel rooms and airfare. There’s only one casino operator in Las Vegas that offers something close to an all inclusive package. Unless you’re from Hawaii there’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of Boyd Vacations.
Boyd Vacations originate in Hawaii and bring guests to the California and Fremont casino-hotels in downtown Las Vegas. Depending on the dates you book, the prices are anywhere from $699 to $949 for two people. Each package includes roundtrip airfare from Honolulu to Las Vegas, hotel room, airport transfers, baggage handling, and meals. Neither hotel charges a resort fee, so there’s nothing to add.
If you’ve visited these hotels you’ve probably noticed menus that offer dishes that are specifically geared towards Hawaiians. The late night line for Oxtail soup at the Fremont is one of the most surprising things you’ll experience. Visitors from Hawaii make up a significant portion of the revenue for Boyd Gaming in Las Vegas. The Hawaiian vacations are a major key to their financial success.
Creating a similar vacation package in the continental United States wouldn’t be as simple since there are so many cities. However, some of the larger casino operators have partnerships with different airlines. It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine MGM Resorts and Southwest airlines offering all inclusive deals to their top cities like Chicago and Baltimore.
Creating packages that are all inclusive and booked directly through the hotel with an airline partner might be a way for the operator to increase revenue while giving customers a deal that they want. This would also avoid paying online travel agencies a commission. That’s something the casino operators would love. Sometimes it’s possible for good business ideas to be good for both the business and the customer.


Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.
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