With 130,000 hotel rooms (148,978 if you leave Nye and Laughlin counties), you might think you could find “deals” there. You would most likely be wrong! Finding a “deal” in a city where the property of major resorts is almost unavailable is becoming increasingly difficult. Why? Because the main resort holdings are controlled by a separate group of companies that have no incentive to discount.
The Vegas Law of Demand and Supply
Consider for a moment the simple law of “supply and demand.” When supply is high and demand is low, prices fall. Vegas is a boom city, demand is high and supply is low. How can this be with 130,000 numbers? The answer is simple: 30 million visitors annually and growing! In fact the growth rate is so phenomenal that mega-resorts like Mandalay Bay (43-story $ 375 million Spa Tower with 1,120 suites completed in December 2004), and Venetian (now expanding) and recently completed The $ 2.4 billion Wynn Las Vegas (opened in April 2005) adds thousands of rooms to the “Heart Strip.” The growth is so phenomenal that even public financiers like Donald Trump are taking part. Demand for rooms exceeds supply, so prices are rising!
According to an interview published July 30, 2004 in USA Today, Trump’s plans include a 64-story tower of condominiums to be built on part of the Frontier estate opposite Wynn Las Vegas and next to the Fashion Show Mall.
Scheduled to begin construction around 2005, the $ 300 million project will include 1,000 hotel rooms and 50 luxury homes modeled after the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City. There will be no casino on the property.
Only 10% of Las Vegas hotels are booked online
In several articles I researched this year, published in various business magazines and hotel industry analysts, the actual booking rate of hotels offering their visitors online services is about 10% nationwide. I believe this is a clear idea of Las Vegas as well. (Our company works on several sites that offer hotel reservations, and these figures are in line with our own).
Further proof: “About 10 percent of our rooms are booked at Hyatt.COM,” said Gary Gottling, director of sales and marketing for Hyatt Regency Tampa.
This means that 90% of you use the internet to gather information but don’t actually place an order online! Traditional travel agents and phone calls remain the preferred method of booking. The Internet is used as a source of information, and little more. The Big Players know this and use it to their advantage. Again, there is no incentive to offer lower rates if customers do not take advantage of them. I will briefly touch on the issue of room taxation, saying that most local governments hate the Internet because rooms booked online are not in the public interest and are included in the existing tax fund. Expect local government to act on this issue sooner rather than later.
So where does your money go when you place an order online?
When you search Vegas.com you will find that they are owned by Greenspun Media Group (Henderson, NV), which publishes the daily newspaper Las Vegas Sun, and owns Vegas Magazine, Showbiz Weekly, In Business, Las Vegas Weekly, VegasGolfer, Las Vegas Life and Ralstan’s report. Greenspun Media is part of Greenspun Corporation, which also owns a local 25 UPN channel. Greenspun is a partner in Las Vegas ONE, the cable channel for all news. American Nevada, a division of the real estate The Greenspun Corporation, is one of the most famous developers in the Las Vegas Valley. Their annual advertising budget exceeds 7 digits! Someone has to pay for all this advertising.
You can try the popular LasVegas.com website, which has an interesting and superficial history. The site’s domain was licensed in 2002 from Stephens Media Group of Littlerock Arkansas (Las Vegas Review Journal, Hawaii.com) to Mandalay Resort Group and Parkplace Entertainment. Go further – 2004 Park Place became Caesars Entertainment, which in turn was acquired by Harrah’s Entertainment. The deal was made just a month after MGM / Mirage agreed to acquire Mandalay Resort Group. Need a room on the strip? Hmmm – I think the prices will be pretty consistent! And think you could own LasVegas.com back in 1997!
IAC (InterActiveCorp), managed by Mega Financier Barry Diller, manages these online booking agencies
· Vacation Expedia.com
· Vegas packages from Expedia
Note: Expedia ranks first online for travel booking for independent online booking agencies. But their slice of the overall “booking pie” is still very small. Mr. Dealer also oversaw the recent acquisition of Ask Jeeves for just $ 1.85 billion. Do not expect that prices for these rooms will fall soon.
Saber Holdings Corp owns:
Travelocity – № 3 in travel booking
Note: Saber was a “big player” in the field of travel agents, as most travel agent computers were connected to booking systems. Travelocity lags behind Expedia and Orbitz (now owned by Cedant Corp.)
Cedant Crop is the world’s leading franchisor with more than 6,400 seats and owns either a franchise:
· Orbitz – № 2 among travel visitors
FYI – Cadant also owns Avis & Budget Rent A Car, Fairfield Resorts, Cheap Tickets.com, as well as real estate franchises Century 21 and Coldwell Banker.
So where does this leave you? I suggest you quickly read the tips below.
Short tips for Vegas visitors on a budget?
You probably think I’m suggesting a visit in the “offseason”. Don’t do it! In August, the temperature often exceeds 110 degrees – and that’s the temperature of the air, not the heat that radiates from concrete and asphalt. No, I’m going to suggest you do something much simpler – stay away from the lane! Car rental is cheap when you compare them with the inflated prices of the best mega-resorts “On the strip”. Try a hotel in Henderson or Summerlin. I would suggest small resorts such as SunCoast or Orleans.
Rent a car and park behind Excalibur, New York, New York, or at the Fashion Show mall (it’s covered and very safe). Click on the online ad and see what is available. While 90% of rooms are booked with the option, hotels that are not booked in full are actually advertised! Click these ads! I once stayed at a Fiesta Henderson for $ 29.95 a night for 3 nights in a row and I had a suite with 2 Queen rooms! I found this deal in online advertising! In fact, when I called the hotel to try to make an even better deal, they said I needed to book online! Try corporate housing, as it is usually full on weekdays, but is available on weekends when business travelers return home. Visit the websites of hotels where you can stay and subscribe to their promotions by email to receive offers sent to you just before the trip (use a free address, such as Hotmail). Ask at the table if you are logged in to get additional benefits or offers available to guests. It’s like asking for a seat outside the window on a plane, if you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. And my last tip – “Shape before fashion” – take the most comfortable walking shoes and stock up on bottled water at your local grocer before check-in. Enjoy!