[AMA] I Set the Hotel Room Rates for the Las Vegas Strip…Ask me how to snag a deal or AMA!

Hi there,

I recently just left a job in revenue management with a large hotel/casino/entertainment company here in Las Vegas that has multiple properties on The Strip. Each property averaged from 2,000 to over 5,000 rooms!

My main job was to set the hotel room rates at these properties to ensure we maximized revenues.

I also worked with marketing departments to create promotions (the “Book Now and Get 20% Off + $50 F&B Credit!”), the casino departments for setting comp rates, hotel operations, and online travel agents (Expedia, Orbitz, etc).

To Get the best deal on a hotel room in Vegas, try this:

  • Google your hotel name and then “Promo code” (i.e. “Caesars Palace promo code”)
  • No luck? Try the hotels Facebook page or Twitter accounts.
  • Book directly though the hotels website! BOOK DIRECT! BOOK DIRECT!
  • Use your players card anywhere and everywhere it’s accepted.
  • Be nice to the staff when checking in and during stay – seriously. We keep comments about you.
  • Keep in mind we have resort fees for every hotel on the strip. Revenue Management loves them, everyone hates them.

Fun Fact, we make mistakes sometimes.

My Proof: http://i.imgur.com/RAjFUP1.jpg plus verification from the Mods.

So, Ask Me Anything!

Did you ever make mistakes the other way, like posting rooms for $1.07, and if so did the property honor those rates? On average, what percentage of room inventory is usually booked vs. sitting empty?

Mistakes are made constantly! We also audit constantly to catch them.

My worst mistake was setting a suite to $66/night for Friday and Saturday over EDC Weekend. The rate should have been $660. It wasn’t caught until the next day. Because it went out to our OTA’s, over 1,000 reservations came in for that suite – that hotel didn’t even have 1,000 of that room type. When those guests checked in, they were most likely moved to a lower level room with inventory. However, we will try and accommodate.

It totaled over $120,000 in lost revenue.

Rates won’t go out that low. We have some parameters in place to prevent that. For example, the hotel that I screwed up – the lowest possible rate at that hotel was $55 – so they system didn’t catch a $66 rate. Anything below $55 wouldn’t have gone out.

Wow, that’s huge losses. What was the consequence of that? I run a (very) small hotel, and I’d be pretty upset if this happened. One or two reservations, that I can let slide. I’m guessing that $120k revenue is likely close to $120k in income in this case, as the expenses shouldn’t be that different.

I was suspended with pay for 1 day.

The argument is, who’s to say that $66 isn’t the right rate for that room? It’s economics – if the rate of $66 can gross more profits than $660, we wouldn’t know. I know it’s a little hard to understand, but revenue management is all guess work based on some forecasting. The $120K lost was just in pure room revenue. That did not include resort fee or estimated spend per folio.

How many rooms do you have?

How did you work your way into hospitality revenue management in Vegas? Kudos to you for doing so in such a competitive town in terms of that industry!

Vegas is a very competitive industry – especially Revenue Management. Revenue Analysts jump all over the city though, so it’s a very small group of people who know each other.

I was a hotel engineer before! I went to room calls and fixed things.

RM is about problem solving really, and I learned how to trouble shoot from engineering.

I also met a high level executive on Grindr and talked with him for months – which I believe may have helped me. I never met him until I started the job.

Engineer with 501?

Oh god no. I’d never want to work for a union. It was an off strip property.

Would complaining about a room really work as in getting a upgrade? I stayed in a corner suite in the Aria in August. One of the tv’s never worked, the fridge door was broken and I hoped to get one of the rooms where the bathroom was looking over the strip. Instead I got one of the ones where it’s in the middle. I kind of wanted it changed, but being from the UK I didn’t want to make a fuss.

I’ve stayed in that suite too! It’s a really cool room.

For complaining and wanting an upgrade, it won’t happen. If you are nice and say that you’re really dissatisfied with your room, they will most likely move you to the same room type you had before or may give you a resort credit. It also depends on how full the hotel is and if there is inventory of that room type.

Think of upgrades as this: We have a fixed cost on rooms. For example, a standard deluxe room costs us $36/night. A suite can be over $500/night. When you upgrade, that margin of our profit is decreased. And there is always low inventory on higher end suites – we will keep that room type open for a last minute booking of someone who’s willing to pay full price.

Why don’t the hotels cater to locals (or do they?) in an effort to get better viral marketing? I travel quite a bit for work, and every time I get on a plane to come home, the person sitting next to me immediately start asking me for recommendations for shows to see, hotels to stay at etc.

We do market to locals, and all of our hotels have local discounts. Vegas locals get room discounts, discounts on restaurants, 50% off show tickets, and a ton more.

Living in Vegas is great because they really do appreciate the locals. Over half of this city works in the hospitality industry, so they keep us happy!

Is there a secret handshake or sign up page? Aside from the offer that Cirque runs each year, I’ve never seen locals offers advertised.

Nope! Just show your local ID for most restaurants and shows. Local room discounts are usually on the hotel website:

http://www.mgmresorts.com/locals/

https://www.caesars.com/las-vegas/deals/locals

Any notable stories of people claiming ridiculous reservations that were never actually offered? Alternatively, what is the oldest coupon you had to accept?

Oh, another, when you check in, you can be requested as a Non-Registered Guest (NRG).

That way when anyone calls you, the hotel has to say you’re not there and they’ve never heard of you.

NRG reservations are pretty constant with some people – mostly husbands that cheat on their wives. The property teams know exactly what’s going on and who they are, but have to act as if everything is just business as usual.

We have a woman that books 5 or 6 high level suites at our most luxury property. She books them on the most expensive dates a few months out, then always cancels them the week before. We’ve never seen her come in and she has never stayed. It’s like she was trying to have us hold $20K for her, then refund her. We’ve reported it, but not sure what’s happened.

Do you over book normal rooms? What’s the backup plan?

Yes, we over book the standard rooms. The backup plan is to go to a higher suite type. Some rooms are left vacant in the casino block and we can pull from there if we have availability.

Is it better to call to book or book online?

Book online. Calling into book usually charges a ‘convenience fee’, just like the airlines. It’s stupid.

How can I snag a deal?

See my original post.

Sign up for the guestbook, follow the social media accounts, and Google! But remember, always book direct.

November and December also have the best rates as it is the slower season.

In my experience, when push comes to shove, the hotel must deal with the entities that booked the room, which technically isn’t you. I flew into NYC one time and had to deal with someone in Fiji to get my rental car released because I switched airports

This.

When you book with an online travel agent (OTA), you are not a guest of the hotel – you’re a guest of the OTA. The hotel really can’t do anything for you – you are faced with the burden of contacting the OTA on your own.

Rates must be the same due to contracts with OTAs. Some OTAs may experience downtime or lag which will show a different in rates between OTAs. But when you click ‘Book Now’, the site will re-cache and your rates will update.

Why booking direct? I haven’t tried specifically in Vegas, but I have definitely seen hotels cost more on their website then on a site like hotwire/expedia/priceline.

Because Online Travel Agents (OTA’s) get a commission off bookings around 15%. So for a $100 room night, we would give an OTA $15. And when you book though an OTA, you are a guest of theirs, not the hotels. Kinda strange right?

The hotel receives NO information about you other than your name, room type, and check-in/out dates. Have a problem with your reservation? The hotel can’t do anything.

When you book direct, you give us your information. With that, we can market to you directly. You’ll start receiving offers which are pretty good! When you check-in and a front desk agent sees that you booked with us, you are MUCH more likely to get a complimentary room upgrade and better service. Your needs will be met sooner and faster than anyone who booked with an OTA.

Have you ever accomodated a top celebrity?

Very rarely will we know when we do.

Most celebrities stay under an alias or a managers name. Ariana Grande uses a different fake name EVERY TIME – which makes it a pain for our VIP Staff/Butlers.

Celebrities/Presidents/Politicians do not get special room rates – but they may get a room that isn’t offered. For example, Jamie Foxx was put into a suite when they were ‘sold out’ to the public. The booking of these high status guests are usually handled by foreign affairs or an executive VIP agent.

How does it work if a celebrity does stay there? Do they check in under their alias and later notify the VIP staff somehow? I imagine they would only allow certain employees to know to try and keep it on the DL.

I know Obama stays at Bellagio. And when he does, he pretty much has the Spa Tower (the tower to the south of the main tower) half given to himself and secret service. Only select employees are allowed anywhere near the elevators in back of house.

They will most likely be a Non-registered guest (NRG). That means you can call and ask for them, the hotel will see them, but they have to lie to you like they aren’t there.

And yes, when celebrities are in, only a select few on property now. But it happens so often, many of us don’t even care.

How exactly does “sandwiching a tip between your ID and credit card at check-in” work to get a better room? I’ve never gotten down the balance between “hey, i’m a douche trying to bribe you to get me good stuff” and “just throwing some appreciation your way”

Front desk agents get the “$20 trick” all day long, every day. They know what’s up.

The good front desk agents will take the money, put it on the desk between you and them and leave it there. If they can get you an upgrade, you leave the money, if they can’t they will let you take it back.

My Dad always slides a $20 (or maybe a $50, I don’t know for sure) their way and says something like “My wife and I don’t get to vacation a lot, is there anything you guys can offer to make our stay a little more enjoyable?”. He’s gotten room upgrades every time so far.

We can actually see all of your pasts stays if it has been within the same company. We can see how long your stay is, how often you come, and what you spend within a few clicks on your reservation. Most likely, the FDA didn’t check or care to.

Did you get to eat free in the restaurant or did you have to bring your own lunch?

Our office is located off the strip and not attached to a hotel. So I had to bring my own =[

Every now and then our property teams will invite us to lunch; that’s usually when it’s comp’d off.

Is timing ever important when booking rooms? I know the day before a flight takes off, rates sometimes drop dramatically so that all seats are sold.

Timing is hard!

If a convention drops out last minute, we have to drop the rates to fill the rooms they had blocked off.

A prime example is the Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight weekend.

The fight was announced and we sold out all of our hotels because reservations were coming in like crazy. We couldn’t control it. So we opened up one room type at a stupid rate, $1,600 per night. Reservations were still coming in. HOWEVER, no tickets for the fight had been released or even available to the public. People were booking without tickets (a stupid decision if you ask me). Once tickets were released to the public, a few days before the fight, everyone cancelled their rooms. Rates were $1,000 one minute then down to $100 the next. We knew that is was going to happen, but we didn’t know how many tickets would be released etc. It was a clusterfuck of a weekend for sure.

This is the best representation of that from the fight weekend: http://i.imgur.com/1Kf9pgt.jpg

Wait why did everyone cancel their rooms?

Because the cheapest tickets to the fight were $5,000! The contracts for the fight weren’t signed until 3 days ahead of time – and without signed contracts, tickets can’t be released. And the tickets that were released were only a few thousand to the general public. No one could get tickets – so why even come anymore?

That fight wasn’t even worth the PPV.

Do you know if most resorts do a price watch? I.E. If we book and rates drop would they drop or do they remain the same?

Rates fluctuate quite often. If you book and prices drop, your prices will stay the same. However, if you call in, Im sure a reservations agent would adjust them down. Cause if you’re outside of the cancellation window, you can just cancel your room and re-book at a lower price.

What does the front desk see when they check your player status? Do they just see some code you fall into like “this player spends X per night at our hotel, give him this discount” or do they actually see your specific value? I’ve called in just to see what the desk tells me while I’ve been checking my rates on the site and results vary. Sometimes the rates are exactly the same, sometimes more or less from the agent vs the site.

The front desk can’t determine what kind of discount to give you.

We have a huge department, loyalty marketing, that decides all of that. The algorithm used makes my head spin! Each player is assigned a value, then we determine what we can give you based off your value. That value is a combination of your gaming spend, how long you play, non-gaming spend, average trip length, age, geographic location, income, etc etc. Then an offer in your value range is loaded to your account by loyalty marketing. Your account may have 5 to 15 different offers on it! The agent is just looking at one they believe is the best.

Keep in mind the added value to marketing offers. Your rates may be $5 more, but if you’re getting a $150 F&B credit, it’s worth it!

I know both are illegal but is it pretty common for tourists to get hookers and also smoke weed in their hotel rooms?

Prostitutes are illegal, but escorting is not.

Smoking pot in your room will make the room smell and hallway smell. Any complaint will get a security guard to check it out (they have to). Housekeepers will also smell it in the room. If caught, it’s a $500 fine in a non-smoking room and could face legal consequences.

Hotel staff is trained how to notice and find drug rooms.

Is there any way at all to have the resort fees waived or at least discounted?

The only for sure way I know of is to be a casino player. Once you reach a certain level of loss or win, your resort fee will be waived.

How exactly does the comp system work? I’m going soon and about to drop a couple thousand and want to get as much mileage out of that as possible.

For the casino to comp you a night, it is all based off your play.

My advice is this: – Enroll in the players card. – Gamble your ass off at ONE location. And gamble where you want to stay. – After you’re done, find the host office or host on duty and see if they can comp a night. Your night will be comp’d at the end of your stay.

Slot players are much more likely to get comps than table players. Tables have much higher odds for the player and casinos don’t normally make money off them, therefore, it is much harder to get comps as a table player. Keep in mind, if you only bring $2K and lose it, it’s laughable at places like ARIA or The Cosmopolitan.

Comps work based around 2 numbers: Theoretical and actual.

Actual = The Actual amount of money you lost/won.

Theoretical = The theoretical amount of money you should have lost.

So you play a $0.25 slot with $10,000, we know you should lose X amount of $ in X amount of time. But if you don’t, your theo builds and builds.

UNLV Gaming says it well too:

Many casinos set comp (complimentary) policies by giving the player back a set percentage of their earning potential. Although comp and rebate policies based on theoretical loss are the most popular, rebates on actual losses and dead chip programs are also used in some casinos. Some programs involve a mix of systems.

Workers in Vegas seem to have gotten nicer in recent years. Is this because of Yelp?

Maybe a little.

People are coming to Vegas nowadays to have an experience. They want the Vegas Experience, not to spend all day gambling.

So these major hotels realize, “Oh Shit – this guest will never come back because of how X talked to them.” The personal interactions are becoming more important than ever to get an edge over the competition.

Also, I think after the 2008 crash, which hit Vegas EXTREMELY hard, people realized you guys are the ones keeping us employed. By you spending your vacation here, you’re supporting me, my family, my coworkers, and our economy. We want you to come back again and have an amazing experience.

Who should I be tipping?

https://www.vegas.com/traveltips/tips-on-tipping/

(not on the list, dealers! $5 for every hour of play or more if you have a large win)

Really anyone providing a service. I do suggest tipping housekeeping $2-$5/nt. That’s a rough, very under appreciated job.

Do you suggest tipping housekeeping as you go or at the end of the stay?

I tip as I go personally. My mother likes to do a lump sum at the end. $2 to $5 a day.

Did you or any of the staff get paid off to tell the paparazzi that there was a celebrity at the hotel?

Honestly, we really don’t give two shits. This is Vegas. There are famous people here all the time and very frequently. It isn’t worth releasing private information and losing your job for $100.

What software do you use to help decide prices? How much human judgement is there in the process?

There’s a lot of human judgement!

The problem with current hotel revenue management systems is that they don’t recognize sister properties.

So if we had to walk 500 people from one property to another, the system can’t recognize that and adjust accordingly.

We mainly use Excel and SAS. Analysts stay with properties for a long time then learn how a hotel books. We have a lower end hotel on the strip that will have 50% occupancy then over night be at 110%.

“So if we had to walk 500 people from one property to another” Interesting! What do you mean by “Walk”?

A walk is when we ‘walk’ someone to another property.

We book our hotels OVER 100% occupancy because we expect a 10% no-show rate. However, sometimes that 10% shows up. So we have to find available rooms for them at another property. We give them their room at the other property free and offer a generous F&B credit. We pay for the taxi ride and bellmen to deliver their luggage.

We don’t want to cut off our booking at 100% even, because then we will have rooms go without anyone in them!

What hotel would you suggest for someone who’s never been to Vegas and on a budget? My friends just got back from Vegas yesterday and I always wanted to go. Also, what attractions would you suggest and see(unless its absolutely must see?)

If you’re on that much of a budget, look at staying downtown! Downtown has some really awesome hotels – The D is my favorite.

On strip, just remember, you are getting what you pay for. If you book the $20 room at Circus Circus, know you’ll be in the detached motel rooms and have a terrible time. If you can pony up and stay at a place like New York-New York or Planet Hollywood, your experience will be much better.

I highly suggest Absinthe at Caesars Palace! It’s my all time favorite show. I’d see it over and over again.

What about near the strip but still near the places you wanna go?

You should check out Wyndham Grand Desert. It’s off strip, no resort fee, and offers a free shuttle. Their two bedroom suites usually go for $150/nt – which on strip would be upwards of $300+.

What’s the deal with getting discounted show tickets?

….I work in hotel side. Sometimes we do package deals with room and show – those will be coming up soon since it’s the ‘slow season’. Keep an eye on hotels social media pages!

Do you know what the deal is with “resort fees”? It seems like it should just be included in the price of the room if it has to be paid regardless of whether you will use any of the resort facilities. Do people get mad about this a lot? Why does it even exist?

See this question I had in r/Vegas:

https://www.reddit.com/r/vegas/comments/3tuihc/ama_i_set_the_hotel_room_rates_for_the_las_vegas/cx9bipx

Resort Fees will never, ever be going away. Sorry. As a consumer, I hate them. But as a revenue management guy, they’re hard not to like. Resort Fees are hard to explain, but I’ll do my best: We pay a commission to OTAs for every room night booked. Normally around 15%. So when you book on Expedia 2 nights at $100/nt, the OTA gets $30. With resort fees, that is our money. OTAs don’t get any of that. So we get an extra $30/nt from you. Resort fees are also important on placement on OTA websites. Most (if not all) users sort by price. MGM Grand can have a $60 showing, Planet Hollywood will be $65 – most will go with MGM Grand. However, MGM Grand has a $30 Resort Fee and PH has $25 – so they’re the same price. But MGM Grand just took a ton of bookings from PH for a simple $5 difference. VegasTripping.com has a great image and article explaining it: http://www.vegastripping.com/news/blog/5094/pencil-the-golden-gate-and-the-d-add-resort-fees/

I understand the need for a resort fee when booking through an OTA. But if I book direct through the property’s web site I still get charged a resort fee? What gives?

That’s the placement in the market too! A lot of people use Kayak to find their hotel, then book through the hotel website (which I highly suggest).

It’s also contracts. We have to have the same rates and inclusions on our website as is available to OTAs. Even if it’s something simple as a ‘view upgrade’. That’s added value. That’s why when you enroll in the players card we can give you exclusive rates – because a players card is considered a ‘private club’ even though it’s free to enroll.

Why were there so many cheap rooms available for Thanksgiving Day when I was shopping around for this year?

Thanksgiving week is just a really, really dead time for the city every year. There are no conventions in town and people want to be home with their family. Same goes for Christmas day/week.

On those dates, hotel rooms may only make $7/night profit. That’s how low are rates are.

Is New Year’s Eve usually cheap as well or does it pick up for that?

NYE is one of the most expensive nights of the year. Everyone wants to be in Vegas for NYE! We set off fireworks from the tops of the hotels and close down the strip to have a giant block party.

http://vegas.travelivery.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/New-Years-Eve-on-the-Las-Vegas-Strip.jpg

http://nocovernightclubs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Las-Vegas-New-Years.jpg

It’s a lot of fun.

“My main job was to set the hotel room rates at these properties to ensure we maximized revenues.” Were you maximizing revenue, or maximizing profit?

Revenue, mainly RevPAR or Revenue per Available Room.

The cost of a room is pretty standard and doesn’t fluctuate too much. A standard deluxe room at a luxury property costs about $32-$36 per night – occupied or not.

Interesting. If I understand correctly, you set rates as if: 1)┬áthe marginal cost of another person staying is zero 2)┬áthe hotel’s attached casino doesn’t capture any additional profit from people staying in the hotel.

Precisely. Think of the hotel and casino as two completely separate businesses under 1 roof.

The casino holds a block of rooms for their players and the casino pays the hotel for the use of those rooms based off a comp rate. So we say a standard room on weekday goes for $130 comp rate, the casino has to pay hotel $130/nt for every room occupied.

“costs about $32-$36 per night – occupied or not” – I get that you’re not on the cost side, and that you assume fixed costs in your rate-setting. But in reality, wouldn’t an unoccupied room accrue less cost? Both in the aggregate (that guest’s share of the elevator maintenance and hallway vacuuming) and the specific (that room literally doesn’t need to be serviced).

Not necessarily. We have to account for labor too. Those rooms have to be cleaned every X days, even if it has been unoccupied. Pre-arrival cleanings happen on VIP reservations – so rooms get cleaned a lot!

Any specific tips if I’m trying to go to Vegas for New Years?

Im trying to stay on the strip for New Years too!

NYE is a day where hotels use restrictions like 2 night minimums or closed-to-arrivals. So to get a room, you’ll most likely have to check in on Dec 30 and checkout Jan 1. So move your dates around a bit. The prime time to book NYE was about 6 months ago however. Keep an eye on your rates and cancel then rebook if they drop.

Last year I went to the strip and stood in front of Mirage/Casino Royal. I loved it. I suggest looking at Casino Royal since it’s in a prime location with cheap offerings.

Oh, and bundle up! It will be COLD!

Is there any best time to book if I am going in a year? Is there a sweet spot to book? Also if I am travelling with a group any advice you can give to get a good rate?

Orbitz has this really cool rate map they do. It’s a heat map, but for room rates! http://labs.orbitz.com/calheatmap/

I suggest booking early, then following your reservation once a month or so to see if rates dropped. If they do, call the reservations line and ask for the rates to be adjusted. If they won’t adjust, cancel your room and re-book at the lower rate.

At 6 weeks our, start checking your rates once a week.

At 2 weeks out, start checking your rates every day.

At 3 days out, you can no longer cancel or adjust rates.

Group travel depends on how many rooms you’ll need. If you’re booking 5 or more rooms, there’s a department called Small Groups which has a special reservations line and will coordinate everything for you!

Is there a best time of day/week/month to book a room? Is earliest possible always best? When are usually the cheapest times to book in Vegas?

The day most people book rooms is Monday. The best time, I believe to book, is at night (past 6PM PST) on Friday. The teams go home for the weekend and all they care about over the weekend is the next few days, so they won’t be adjusting further out.

For major holidays (NYE), I suggest at least 6 months out.

Remember you can always call and ask for your rate to be adjusted if rates drop!

What’s your educational background? What other careers did you consider before or after doing this?

I have my bachelors of science in economics.

I started in Revenue Management when I was 21 without my degree – most places do not require it.

Before I was an engineer. I would respond to room calls if your TV wasn’t working. I focused mainly on HVAC. It’s a pretty drastic change, but it’s more similar than it sounds. Both involve trouble shooting!

I am now 25 and I moved to Casino Marketing.

You mentioned you had previous experience in the hotel industry through hotel maintenance/engineering work. Are there are any other qualifications that you have or that the industry requires to get this type of job? Given it’s revenue management I would assume some type of finance experience may be required?

Nope, I had no background in finance.

I do have a heavy passion for Las Vegas. I am a nerd about this city. I follow the industry very closely. I watch what other companies do and what mine does. I know the stupid random facts about this town that you never will. What I think landed me the job besides this, was an intense passion for Vegas.

I started as a lifeguard in the pool area so I got my guest interaction. I knew how to handle guests and intense situations. Engineering was more guest interaction and troubleshooting.

As a hospitality student pushing through internships and getting those cool hotel jobs soon, do you have any advice about getting into the hotel industry? There always seems to be tough competition, and getting your name through the application process is pretty intense itself.

Yes, it’s very, very tough to get in.

I got in because my hiring manager and I were talking on OkCupid (didn’t know he was until after I interviewed), I had a friend already in the department, and I was talking to a high level executive on Grindr that helped get my app on the right desk.

So, get Grindr.

Well I don’t know how my boyfriend would feel about that lol. But I appreciate the advice regardless. I will work on networking then. Thanks.

Network your ass off and don’t be afraid to start at a lower entry level job. I started as a lifeguard, then engineer, then revenue. Just being able to get in and do your 6 months is all it takes.

I want to book a room at the Monte Carlo or Mirage with the highest f&b credit within the next few months (between Jan to March), will there be a certain month I should hold out on from booking? Is booking from a player cards website the same as direct hotel?

February is a really slow month, your rates will be cheapest then.

March is when Spring Break starts and Spring Break lasts March – April here. January is more a convention month with CES and the porn awards in town plus a 3 day weekend.

2 year NAB vet here. When traveling on expenses no fucks given. When trying to get there to see friends and hang out, fuck you! $49 a night either side, $350 a night during. How do I fight this?

(NAB is the National Association of Broadcasters and they have a huge convention every year, for those that don’t know)

NAB isn’t the only thing in town, there’s also Spring Break happening. Plus this year the new arena will be having an event on every weekend in April – there is a huge demand for Vegas rooms. Unfortunately, that means rates go up. You may find some discounts out there, but many will be blacked out over NAB week.

Book early and keep checking to see if your rates drop. If they do, call the reservations line and ask for your rates to be adjusted down. If they won’t adjust, cancel your room and rebook the same dates at the lower price!

So we have a room booked for this next year’s EDC. Will a $50 at check-in get me an upgrade? We are staying at the Trop, for whatever it’s worth. That’s a small price to pay for an upgrade IMO.

So that upgrade will most likely just get you a ‘view upgrade’. So you’ll go from having a few of the pool to a few of the strip. It’s only worth $5. So the agent will gladly upgrade you and pocket the $45.

EDC weekend is the 3rd busiest weekend in Vegas, hotels will be sold out. Chances of an upgrade are slim to none.

Also, be sure that you guys are following ALL hotel rules. No more than 4 persons in a room and do not get loud and crazy. They will find a reason to kick EDC patrons out. EDC goers are a huge liability to the property since most are under 21 and doing drugs. Just keep that in mind.

I’ll see you at EDC 2016!

Any tips for booking a hotel during EDC for a larger group 8-10 people?

Book now, book at LEAST 2 rooms. See that post above. Hotels will find any reason to get you off the property. Follow ALL hotel rules included the no more than 4 persons per room (this is actually state law). Do not party in the room and have the utmost respect for the staff.

Be sure you’re booking Queen bed rooms. Don’t expect them to connect (that’s very hard for the front desk to coordinate). Look at Wyndham Grand Desert. They have a 2 bedroom suite (sleeps 6) with a full kitchen that starts at $160/nt – a steal.

I’m currently in AP Microeconomics in high school; how much of what I’m learning would actually benefit me if I were to do your job?

Im an economics major! We do look at elasticity of demand pretty frequently, however, it isn’t used in my everyday work.

As you advance with you’ll learn about things like ‘tourist trap’. Resort fees are part of that. I actually wrote most of my college papers on revenue management in hotels.

The fundamentals of economics is used every day, but formulas/actual lingo is not.

For example, I want my hotel to be booked with the highest amount of room rate with ALL rooms occupied. And using time series data and pacing, you will figure out if you need to adjust your room rate.

I assume you use data and analytics to map density and demand, specially with seasonality. That being said; my question is do you receive merits and promotions based on rooms filled and hotel percentage capacity in order to set yourself apart from others?

Absolutely. We know what dates we need help on and ones we are pacing slowly with. It varies by hotel though (because of conventions and events on property). We call those dates “Need Dates”. Those offers will go out to you if you are a member of the players club and have NO spend at all. They’ll give you a nice discount just to get you to come in and stay the night.

Need Dates offers are pumped out every month to every 3 months. December and February are months you’ll find the lowest rates and best offers.

Also we do trigger based marketing.

Say you book your room, 1 week before you arrive, we will send you an email with an exclusive offer of “Upgrade to a higher room for only $20” and that offer will only be good for 48 hours. The link then dies after 2 days.

What kind of notes do you keep? Do they just say “asshole.” Or are they more specific?

More specific.

My very sarcastic mother was checking into a hotel that I did RM for. I told my mom, “Ask the FDA if they have anything available for a comp upgrade, I see they have a ton of inventory on their suites.”

20 minutes later a note is on the reservation front the FDA saying, “Guest believes she needs a comp upgrade/suite because her son works for the company.” I talked with my Mom and the front desk supervisor and no such thing was said. Mom said, “My son works for the company and says you may have something available for an upgrade?”, the FDA said no and my mom left it at that. It really upset me.

Notes are made if you become irate, are hard to deal with, or if it’s a special occasion. Notes can be put on there for anything, but mostly, they aren’t because you’ve been a pleasure to do business with.

Why do all the travel sites allow Vegas to get away with not including resort fees in the price of a room? Why are Vegas hotels allowed this blatantly false advertising?

Remember, there was a time airlines didn’t have to include all of their fees either. The FTC had so many complaints, it forced the airlines to include them. They are advertised, just not included in the total cost.

The FTC has sent letters to all Vegas hotels

I stay at MGM properties exclusively, it move from hotel to hotel. Is it better for offers to stick with one hotel each trip?

Do you gamble? For gambling offers, yes. Gamble where you stay and want comps. For hotel side, it doesn’t matter as much. You’ll be lumped into a category based off the property you stay at.

For example, if you stay at properties like Caesars Palace, Paris, Cromwell, Aria, Bellagio, Mirage – you’ll be a ‘luxury’ guest. You’re willing to pay more for a nicer room. If you stay at value properties like Linq, Flamingo, Luxor, NYNY, Harrahs, you don’t want to spend money on things. And we know that. So the offers will not be as rich.

What’s the best way for a poker player to get comps when they visit? Assuming that they could probably play for about 5 hrs a day.

Poker players hardly get comps. If you want comps, you’ll be having to play in rooms at Caesars, Aria, or Bellagio (the big poker rooms). Even then, you’ll be having throw our more money than I make in a year.

Poker is a game which is skill based – we have terrible odds, you do not. Plus it’s a game you play against other – not the house. We make little to no money off poker players, so no reason to comp them anything.

What is the worst thing to ever happen in a room that you know of?

When I was an engineer, I walked into a room to do emergency maintenance on an AC unit – there was shit smeared all around the master bedroom. The sheets, walls, end tables, lamps, carpet, everywhere.

I work in an office in a cubicle now.

How does visiting other hotels pools work? If it is a sister brand of the same chain vs if it is just a totally different hotel and chain. Is it possible to goto other pools?

Not entirely sure, I haven’t really tried. You can always call ahead and ask for the pool to double check!

Isnt it cheapest to use priceline? Plane ticket and hotel packages always seem to be a few hundred less and you can still get FF miles.

Airlines are a bit different. They can wholesale their rates to OTAs. We give Priceline an amount, then the airline gives them an amount, then Priceline adds those values together for your “Package Deal”. Our wholesale rates to OTAs are the same across the board, it’s the airlines that fuck it up.

Little do people know that the hotel chains have those Air + Hotel too!

http://www.mgmresortsvacations.com/

http://totalrewardsvacations.com/search/default.aspx?plcode=GBCET1

Our “Package Deal” rates are anywhere from $0 – $20/nt off what the standard rate is. I think it’s always best to search around and book separate.

What is the best luxury hotel that wont make your wallet bleed in Las Vegas? Is there any Kimpton hotels in Vegas?

No Kimton’s (according to their website).

Personally, I love Mandalay Bay. The room rates are very decent. The rooms just finished a remodels and are quite big for standard hotel rooms. Plus you have the amazing beach, wave pool, lazy river, Foundation Room at the top, and concerts galore.

Just keep in mind – you get what you pay for =]

What kind of notes are you keeping on us? Does it follow you from hotel to hotel?

Yes!

You are given a distinct profile that matches your name and a players card ID.

There are a few different kind of comments. Ones that are more serious (deal with fraud) that following you everywhere and those not as serious ones (being rude) that don’t show – but we can find them if need be.

Comments usually are added if it’s a special occasion, you’re rude, or any other guests complain about you.

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