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Casinos Think Ways to Attract Customers Despite Financial Crisis

On May 22nd, 2009, it's back to the buffet table, sales and customer bonuses for casino facilities in Las Vegas. Fast food dining is up, dining in restaurants is down and hotel rooms are available for fewer than $50 in a city that has been trying attract financial crisis weary tourists to come back and enjoy the quarter slot machines. Value is the most important thing on the Las Vegas strip this year.

At the O'Shea Casino facility, the head of five Harrah's Entertainment Incorporated hotel-casinos on the Strip is making fun of the economic crisis and the excesses that influence Las Vegas' anything-goes reputation. Don Marrandino points at a sign advertising $45 bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey or Smirnoff vodka and states that the promotions like that remind him of a distant past when gaming resorts marked up alcoholic drinks hundred of dollars per bottle and customers could buy them fast enough. And then all things changed.

Marrandino, who manages the Imperial Palace, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah's Las Vegas and Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon said that he do not get scared too easily but in early January 2009, he was scared for the future of the casino facilities in Las Vegas because of the worsening financial crisis. Across the Las Vegas strip, casino facilities found tourists unwilling to spend a lot of money for premium prices for meals, hotel accommodations, drinks and entertainment.

Hotel occupancy rate all over the strip dropped to about seventy-two percent in January, far below the 90% occupancy rate that Las Vegas casinos usually enjoy. Now the strategy that casino officials executed this year is beginning to take shape-offering bargains and fighting for customers without spending too much for the next attraction.

The story is the same for casino facilities across the US, which are exploring different possibilities to attract customers and convince them to spend their money in the facility. For example, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City offered a 1 week only special for the 1st time this month that combined a hotel accommodation with a fifty minute spa treatment for $210 per night.

Marrandino said that his employees have to be more imaginative to keep players flowing through the entrance. He added that he would not have believed predictions in January that the hotel occupancy would be more than ninety percent at Memorial Day. But as hotel-casino facilities from all over the Las Vegas strip scaled down their rates; tourists have returned to cash in.

By March 2009, hotel-casino occupancy rate rose to 85.9% and 92.5% on weekends. The average room cost about $92% per night, 12% less than in January and a third less a year earlier. Officials said that the changing demands of customers affect every hotel-casino in the strip, from the $159 per night Wynn Las Vegas to the Imperial Palace where the hotel rooms are offered for $34 per night.

The Imperial Palace is offering a package that includes a one-night stay with buffet meals and cafe and drinks at casino and pool bars for $95. Aside from that, Luxor has utilized Twitter to advertise a $35 one-day pass to its buffet including beer and champagne. Other MGM Mirage gaming facilities feature all-day buffet tickets.


06/03/2009 20:48 PM
Richard Kennedy