Fighting Resort Fees…And Winning

At first, I wasn’t so bothered by resort fees but after my recent trip to Las Vegas that changed.  So, it brings me great pleasure to find an blog that shows how a customer at Treasure Island fought back against resort fees…and won!

Yesterday, he sent me an update:

A letter from American Express stated, “OUTCOME – This dispute has been resolved in your favor. The merchant has not yet provided the information necessary to resolve your claim. Therefore, we have issued credit to your account and removed the previously suspended amount, which will reflect on an upcoming statement.”

Folks, remember this when you encounter a surprise surcharge. The hotel may not see things your way. But your charge card just might.

That’s a great point – if the hotel won’t help go to your credit card company to fight if you feel as if you were unjustly charged.  Resort fees make you pay a bit more attention to the price of hotel rooms now.

In fact, I look at all advertised prices in Las Vegas as lies because there is almost always a resort fee added.  I don’t like thinking about money when I think about Las Vegas.

Resort Fees have potential to backfire on hotels in the long run if consumers become more vigilant when choosing a location.  If the consumer is counting their pennies before they travel they will likely count them while they travel.  That can cause less spending.  In the long term this may bit the hotels in the (insert profanity here).

I encourage you to read the whole article for the full story about undisclosed resort fees.

Updated: Encore Beach Club Opens

The Encore Beach Club opens this week to a lot of fanfare.  I thought the Wynn complex was stuffy when it first opened, but on my past two trips I didn’t find that to be the case.  In fact, I had a great time I had a great time gambling at Encore in December.

I don’t get too giddy with excitement when new joints in Las Vegas open, but there’s been a lot of people following it.  Here are my favorite places to get information about the opening of the Encore Beach Club as it happens.

Vegas Chatter and VC on Twitter. Update here.

Rate Vegas and Hunter on Twitter.

Vegas Tripping (where the picture below is from, thanks!) here and here and here.

There has been coverage everywhere, including the New York Times and Entertainment Tonight.

The Encore Beach club looks very well done.  Props to those covering for making a contrarian like me excited.  I’m sure it won’t be long before the Jersey Shore wannabe’s start making their move from Rehab and Wet to the EBC, but I’m sure that will be part of the fun.

KGB Will Find You Before You Find KGB

KGB Burger
KGB Burger

If you know me, you know I love a good burger.  I’ve read a slew of stories about Kerry Simon’s new burger joint opening at Harrah’s called KGB.

The burger joint will serve lunch, dinner and late-night bites. On the menu will be “inventive burger offerings, signature snacks and sides including ‘Iron Chef’ sliders and tater tots and sweet selections such as strawberry shortcake push pops.” You know Simon, he always needs a junk food platter to complete a meal.

The restaurant will also take on a very different look for Harrah’s. The walls will be covered in 1960s Russian propaganda posters and the full service bar will feature vodka hostesses, an ice bar and chilled vodka specialty drinks. There will also be flat-screen TVs (practically expected in all Vegas restaurants) that will rotate from sports events to “retro-style images.”

The concept is kind of cool – I love vodka and I love a good burger.  However, the name KGB refers to Russian secret police.  I won’t go anywhere that makes me think of shady police.   That’s just not my thing.

When Harrah’s realizes that the name is a bad idea in 3 months they can call Yakov Smirnoff to lend his name to the restaurant.  Now THAT’S a good idea.

Photo: About.com

It’s $3 More to Ride this Cab Baby

Cabs in Las Vegas are starting to get “smarter.”  On my last trip to Vegas I hopped into a brand new cab that took credit cards.  I was stoked, that was going to be $20 for the slots!

During my ride, I spoke with the awesome driver about the machine and he warned me that there was a $3 surcharge for the use of the credit card machine since they were still new and testing.

My fee was only $13, so it wasn’t worth it for me to add another 25% to the bill so I used cash.  I didn’t get to blow the money on a slot.  Oh well.  The driver said that the only people that have used the machine are usually drunk.  I laughed and thanked him for the warning.

Consider this the warning passed on.

Andy Rooney is Old. Not Nice. Not Funny. Not Beavis.

Andy Rooney hasn’t been relevant in my lifetime, but people my parents age seem to listen to his musings and take them to heart.  I don’t appreciate his take on things and never will.  This Sunday he took Las Vegas to task.

Evidently it’s morally better to build a car than to deal or play blackjack.  Whatever, Mr. Rooney.  Die is Cast puts Rooney’s comments into perspective.  It’s a good read, as usual.

Whenever I hear Andy Rooney I think back to Beavis and Butthead.  This is another reason I can’t take Andy Rooney seriously.

First Quarter Casino Earnings

I tend to keep away from corporate casino hotel earnings, but I’ve noticed that there have been a lot of incoming searches for this so I figured that I would round up a bunch of information for those looking.

  • Golden Nugget Reports Increase In Revenue. LV Sun
  • Las Vegas Sands Narrows Loss In First Quarter.  LV Sun
  • Tropicana Reports Loss; Cites Las Vegas “Room Inventory Imbalance”. LV Sun
  • Harrah’s Reports a Loss as Recession Takes Toll. LV Sun
  • CityCenter Pushes MGM Mirage to First Quarter Loss. LV Sun
  • Boyd Gaming Returns To Profit, Notes Improving Economy. LV Sun
  • Wynn Resorts Sees Profit in First Quarter. LV Sun
  • Hard Rock Hotel Reports First Quarter Loss of $26.5 Million. LV Sun
  • Station Casinos Reports Revenue Drop in Fourth Quarter of 09. LV Sun

Each article has is accompanied with commentary.  Check Two Way Hard Three‘s thread for non-local comments.  Non-locals always have a different point of view.

MGM Doesn’t Get It

I was just going to link to a good article on resort fees that the Las Vegas Sun had last week, but I got to a quote by MGM’s Gordon Absher that misses the point on resort fees.

Gordon Absher, a spokesman for MGM Mirage, which began introducing bundled resort fees two years ago, says the fees have spread at MGM hotels because “our guests see it as a convenience to have a single charge added to their overall bill” rather than a series of charges for things customers might not have expected needing, such as Internet access.

Show me one customer of MGM properties that would like to pay for services they don’t plan on using.  I’m sure Absher is just spinning company policy, but he sounds out of touch with his customers.

Harrahs Has A Blog

Sometimes I’m not the smartest beer in the 6 pack.  I was (am) going to post info that Harrah’s Total Rewards Magazine is now available online.  While, I was looking through the page I noticed that all of the contact and privacy information pointed to Harrah’s.  I also read the site for the first time where it states the following:

Welcome to the official blog of the Pulse of Vegas casino-resort destinations: Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Imperial Palace, Paris, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and O’Sheas. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual contributors, and not necessarily those of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc.

It’s kind of tricky that the blog is run separate from harrahs.com, but the disclosure that this is all Harrah’s is nice to see.  I’m not a member of the internet police.  I just look for useful information.

Sure the blog will be promoting Harrah’s properties with only positive information, but since they are not hiding the source I know how to take the information.

Check The Pulse of Vegas Blog

If you frequent Harrah’s properties anywhere in the US the Total Rewards magazine is usually good for one trip to the bathroom or 5 minutes of your time.  Click the cover to read.