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You wont find a single traveler that enjoys paying resort fees in Las Vegas. At this point, we all know they are there, waiting to ambush us at the check in desk yet most have still not acclimated to the added expense. Las Vegas casino operators, however, seem to be catching wind that their hotel demand problem in an otherwise healthy US economy may be driven by travelers that have had enough of the price gouging. Enter some pretty cool resort fee promotions.
We have previously explained TI’s Optional Resort fee that can be booked on their website utilizing their “TV AD Special” but a couple other resorts are ditching the fee all together for a short time. In exchange for opting out of TI’s resort fee you forfeit the services the resort fee covers, namely access to the fitness center and wireless internet.
After an abysmal quarter for hotels on the Las Vegas Strip resorts seem to be responding by getting back to the value proposition that made Vegas an attractive destination to begin with.
- Palms is offering no resort fees for bookings made through the resort directly. You need to book before November 27th and travel before August 30th, 2019.
- SLS is waiving resort fees for rooms booked directly through their site by November 26th for travel before March 31, 2019.
- Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is waiving resort fees for all stays through December 27h 2019.
Although select Vegas hotels kicking resort fees to the curb on a short term basis, we hope executives have finally come to grips with the fact that hotel demand and gaming revenue are weak due to a decline in value perception that they created.
While (a very small) amount of hope remains that one of the major casino operators will choose to ditch the resort fee model completely, it would be challenging. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 37% of tourists booked Las Vegas hotels through Online Travel Agency (OTA) sites like Expedia, Hotels.com, etc. Resort fees allow hotels to appear more price competitive to prospective travelers as they are able to post a lower room rate due at the time of booking because of the resort fee waiting for you at the front desk. A hotel that does away with resort fees would likely see their base rate on OTAs increase putting their properties lower on the list when travelers sort by price (which most of us do). Additionally, resorts don’t have to pay OTA’s a commission on the resort fee as it isn’t due at the time of booking. Scrapping resort fees would increase the commissions due to booking sites.
Could hotels in Las Vegas get creative by offering no resort fees only to customers booking direct on a permanent basis? Could a major Vegas resort operator say screw it and ditch fees all together and use it as a marketing tool? We think scaling back fees paired with a marketing campaign admitting “we screwed up and are committed to return to our value roots” would be quite compelling.