Las Vegas is returning to its value destination roots during the coronavirus pandemic, with hotels offering free parking, waived resort fees and discounted room rates to bring tourists back to Nevada.
Despite excitement and pent-up demand for Las Vegas’ reopening weekend, room rates have been set far lower than for other major events in the city.
A Review-Journal hotel search conducted on March 11, before casino shutdowns, found that room rates at Caesars Palace on Thursday, April 23 — the first day of what was supposed to be a Las Vegas-hosted NFL draft — were $449 per night. A stay starting reopening day, in comparison, started at $140.
“Right now, I think every one of these properties has got to be thinking about keeping their room rates as low as they can,” said Alan Feldman, distinguished fellow at the UNLV International Gaming Institute. “It’ll be done in hopes of getting, frankly, as many people [in the doors] as possible.”
This isn’t the first time Las Vegas hotel-casinos have used steep discounts and promotions to help fill rooms during an economic downturn. And it has restarted debate on whether doing so is good or bad for the Las Vegas brand.
While room discounts could give some visitors a nudge to venture outside after months of warnings to stay home, other experts say these deals might backfire.
“A race to the bottom situation will be the worst situation for any market, unfortunately,” said Thibault Catala, founder and managing director of hospitality revenue management solutions company Catala Consulting.
He said he doesn’t expect lowered prices to increase overall demand during the pandemic.
Some hotel-casino operators, like MGM Resorts International and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, will offer free parking when they reopen Thursday. Sahara Las Vegas is temporarily waiving its resort fee. Wynn Resorts offered rewards members daily credit if they booked a stay by Oct. 30, with an additional 10 percent off for stays in June and July.