Garth Brooks – A Case of Supply and Demand

I write about the consumer speaking with their dollars if they have a problem with the way they’re being treated.  I’ve walked out of enough businesses to show that I practice what I preach.

Last week Wynn announced that they’re raising, wildly popular, Garth Brooks concert tickets $100 each.

Wynn is jacking up the Garth Brooks tickets by $110 to $253, including taxes and pencil-sharpening fees and whatever else.

These illicited an outpouring of complaints in the blogosphere and twitterspere.  Why wouldn’t Wynn raise ticket prices to the always sold out show?  It’s a simple case of supply and demand.

Sure a $100 raise in price is shocking, but until shows go with empty seats there’s no reason for Wynn to stop increasing prices on the Garth Brooks concert.

If you don’t like the price increase don’t go.  The best way for any business to hear you is for your money not to continue flowing their way.  If you’re very upset, stay away from the Wynn and Encore hotel, casino, restaurants and bars and spread the word to your friends.

For full disclosure I don’t care for Garth Brooks, so this won’t effect any plans I have in the future.

Where Will Beyonce Play in Las Vegas On New Years Eve?

Earlier today Cosmopolitan announced that Jay-Z and Coldplay will be playing an amazing invite-only show on New Years Eve separately and together.  Jay-Z’s wife, Beyonce, is now also planning on spending New Years Eve in Las Vegas.

The rapper’s wife Beyonce Knowles is also said to be planning to perform in Las Vegas on the same night so she can be with her husband to celebrate the landmark date.

There have been rumors for a while about Beyonce shaking her ass at Wynn for a while, so that’s the odds on favorite to grab her.  I’d like to throw MGM into the mix for Beyonce too.  She can perform at CityCenter or the MGM Grand arena to be closer to her husband than by playing at Wynn.

Also, the money available by playing a large venue would also be big.  This would also be a great PR opportunity and it wouldn’t be the first time MGM has participated in New Years Eve.  I rate them as a close second to Wynn.  What do you think?

Planning a Trip to Las Vegas

I was tweeting with DenverGambler before his latest trip to Las Vegas and he talked about a “To-Do List” that he was making for the trip.  I’m a curious guy so I asked to see it.

My trip plans focus around dinners or drinks and I only make mental notes or firm dinner plans which I keep on my iPhone calendar.  My plans are never as major as this list.

Food
Batistas
Stripburger
BLT Burger
Hard Rock – $7.77 Steak and Shrimp off-menu special at Mr Luckys.
Ellis Island – Cheap Steak dinner

Drinking
Riviera – New English Pub
Wynncore – Sinatra Smash, Asian Equation?
Peppermill (Bar side)
Double Down Saloon (near Hard Rock) – Bacon Martini
Dino’s Lounge

Gambling / Casino Scoping
Fremont Street (ride the deuce?) – El Cortez, Western, $1 Craps!, Griffin Bar, Binions, Vegas Club / Golden Gate / Plaza, Gold Spike, Main St Station
Stratosphere gambling
Las Vegas Hilton
Tropicana
Wild Wild West?
MGM Grand – Lions Share & Sigma Derby
Sahara – Play dollar blackjack and drink Newcastles till I lose $40 or until I am too damn incoherent to play at Sahara, Slot tournament – Saturday 11:00am, DOUBLE rewards points on Mondays and Fridays

Other
7 pound burrito challenge
Pinball hall of fame

Curious to see what he was able to accomplish?  I was.  See below for crossed off version of the list.

Food
Batistas
Stripburger
BLT Burger
Hard Rock – $7.77 Steak and Shrimp off-menu special at Mr Luckys.
Ellis Island – Cheap Steak dinner

Drinking
Riviera – New English Pub
Wynncore – Sinatra Smash, Asian Equation?
Peppermill (Bar side)
Double Down Saloon (near Hard Rock) – Bacon Martini (ED: No Ass Juice either!)
Dino’s Lounge

Gambling / Casino Scoping
Fremont Street (ride the deuce?) – El Cortez, Western, $1 Craps!, Griffin Bar, Binions, Vegas Club / Golden Gate / Plaza, Gold Spike, Main St Station
Stratosphere gambling
Las Vegas Hilton
Tropicana
Wild Wild West?
MGM Grand – Lions Share & Sigma Derby
Sahara – Play dollar blackjack and drink Newcastles till I lose $40 or until I am too damn incoherent to play at Sahara, Slot tournament – Saturday 11:00am, DOUBLE rewards points on Mondays and Fridays

Other
7 pound burrito challenge
Pinball hall of fame

It’s pretty damn impressive to knock off over 2/3rds of your to-do list on a vacation with so many items on the list.  I don’t normally have more than 2 or 3 items for day.  DenverGambler had about 10 per day.  How do you plan your trips?

Second Quarter Casino Earnings

I did my first roundup of casino earnings last quarter and the information is easily available so I figure it’s worth sharing.  On a headline glance the information is mixed.

  • Boyd Gaming profits drop 75%. LV Sun
  • MGM net income down a lot, but revenue about even year over year. LV Sun
  • Las Vegas Sands turns in much better quarter than same period last year.  LV Sun
  • Wynn profits double in the second quarter because of Macau income.  LV Sun
  • Harrah’s has 2nd quarter loss, but sees upside. LV Sun
  • Hard Rock Hotel loses 35% on earnings. LV Sun
  • UPDATE: Station Casinos Loses Widen.  LV Sun
  • UPDATE: Even improvements don’t slow Tropicana loses. LV Sun

I’ll update this information as more becomes available.  For more commentary check Two way Hard Three.  There’s always great feedback from their community.

Wynn Red Card Info Now Available Online

Wynn and Encore are finally allowing you to access information for your Red Card online.  Of course, there is no noticeable place to find this on the Wynn website.  You will find your access point at the upper right corner of the reservations page.

Since you now know how to find the red card page, you’re about 1/3 of the way through the process.

Now you have to spend about 10 minutes registering for an account.  The process is annoying, but once you register and confirm you now have access to Red Card info you once had to call Las Vegas to get.

You’re about 66% done now and the rest is fun.  You can now see what the Red Card has for you.  You can check the following:

“My Promotion” – Latest offers available to you.  I have room offers and early booking offers.  I’m sure this will be different for everyone.

“My Account and Profile” – Address, Email, Password updating.  Access to all of your account info.  This is good to check.  The person at the Red Card desk entered a wrong letter in my email address and street address as well so I never got offers.

“Contact Wynn Las Vegas and Encore” – Find out more and contact Wynn. Easy access to all Wynn numbers

“My Casino Account” – Player Information.  You can apply for credit or check your comp dollars.

“Reservations” – Room, Dining, Shows, Other.  This is an excellent and easy way to plan out a trip.  The restaurant reservations have enough detail to never have to go to the main website.

Overall Wynn’s online rewards system may not be the most robust and may be a pain to set up, but it’s once you are into the system everything is set up nicely.

I’ll be bookmarking this page so I never have to hear Steve Wynn talk to me again or the music in the background.  Everything I could want for a trip to Wynn is located on the Red Card page.

Do yourself a favor – spend the 10 minutes or so setting yourself up.  Bookmark the page.  Never deal with the rest of the Wynn website.  Or you can go to wynncore.com and enjoy that.

Solo Travel – Las Vegas

My trip in April to Las Vegas was my first alone.  I don’t vacation much alone, bu I decided that this trip was meant to be – friends or not. As it turned out, my buddy bailed on me.

It wasn’t until last year where I realized that solo travel was a “thing”.  I met Gray from Solo Friendly and now vegassolo on twitter and have slowly learned about it.  Gray and I even contributed our solo experiences to each others blog.

My solo trip to Atlantic City
Prepping for a Vegas Adventure

I learned a few things on this trip to Las Vegas alone.  First and foremost, Las Vegas is a great place to travel alone.  I figured that I wouldn’t have a shortage of things to do and i didn’t.  I gambled, napped, ate, laptopped, drank and gambled whenever I wanted.

Sleeping, Gambling & Drinking

Since I don’t sleep much, I’m used to gambling alone to start the day.  However, things got a little more sketchy as the day went on and as the drinks flowed.  I had a pretty awful run at 3 card poker at Planet Hollywood one afternoon, but it didn’t bother me too much as I proceeded to have way too many Grey Goose & Soda’s.  This lead to a “nap” from about 6-9pm.  I wouldn’t normally have done this if I was with friends as we probably would have had dinner planned in that time frame.  Traveling alone made this not a big deal.  I didn’t have to be anywhere and had nobody waiting on me.  That was kind of freeing.

On a related note, Earl of Sandwich is an excellent spot to get a quick bite to eat at Planet Hollywood.  It reminded me of Quizno’s.  Not bad, but not the best sandwiches on the earth.  I’m a New Yorker and nothing beats a New York deli sandwich. I’m a bit of a snob about that.

Eating

I’ve mentioned in previous trip reports that I like to share excellent meals with friends, but when I’m alone I really don’t worry about what I eat and where I eat.  This solo trip proved that as I ate at Grand Lux a lot since it was in the hotel I was staying.  The only trip I made for food was to Burger Bar, where I ate at the bar.  The other meals I had were overpriced fast food.  Never again will I allow myself to fall prey to the $15 hot dog combo at Nathan’s at the Venetian.  Which leads me to…

Planning

I was stoked to have nobody with me which lead to me not planning anything.  I’m not an over planner, but I do like to make sure I maximize a trip.  For example, my trip in December had a night planned at Wynn.  My friends and I planned a night at the casino based around dinner at SW.  Simple plans like this allowed me to get to specific casinos.  I realize that without a plan it’s much easier to be lazy about leaving home base.  For future solo trips I’ll make sure to plan things out a little.  I’m not best left to my own devices. 🙂

Twitter

If you follow me on twitter you know that I love to tweet.  I found twitter to be an asset for traveling alone.  I shared tales of where I was visiting or checked out special events at the casinos, stayed in touch with people I had met on twitter that lived in Las Vegas and more.  It also provided me with a fun way to walk the strip.  I stopped at every casino between Palazzo and Planet Hollywood and tweeted.  It was a good excuse to stop and take in the sites.

Overall

Overall, I had a blast solo tripping to Las Vegas and it’s something I see myself doing again.  I’ve learned a little on how to maximize my stay without adding stress.  If you need some time away from the world Vegas is a great place to explore and have a good time alone – whether you gamble or don’t.  Feel free to comment or email or tweet with any questions.  I only grazed over the trip here.

Wynn Adds $20 Resort Fee

Wynn added a $20 resort fee to their standard room rates.  By way of these resort fees Wynn Las Vegas has, in essence,  raised standard room rates by about 10% based on a check of rates on their website. Props to Vegas Tripping for being the first place where I saw the information.

Here is the official statement from Wynn Resorts:

In an ongoing effort to enhance our guests’ resort experience, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore has implemented a $20 resort fee to all resort room reservations. Responding directly to extensive customer feedback, the resort fee will offer value to customers with a bundling of the most sought-after amenities. Effective June 10, 2010, the mandatory resort fee will be applied to all resort rooms. The daily fee will provide guests with the following amenities during their stay:

Complimentary access to the fitness center (a value of $30 per person/per day)

Complimentary in-room Internet access (value of $13.99 per day)

Complimentary local, domestic long distance and toll free calls

Complimentary printing of boarding passes

Ultimately, if people are willing to pay resort fees than hotels will charge them.  That’s how supply and demand works.  It’s interesting to see that hotels are raising resort fees, but not room fees.  I have to think this is probably because they keep 100% of the resort fee, while travel agents and booking sites (orbitz, etc) take a percentage of room fees.

I’m sure that Wynn Las Vegas thought long and hard about adding the $20 per night resort fee while the market is over-saturated with rooms.  However, most rooms available aren’t on par with Wynn Las Vegas.  From what I’ve read this doesn’t seem to be scaring most in the “luxury” travel market.  In a good economy rooms at Wynn would be more money anyway.

This doesn’t encourage me to stay at Wynn but I’ll never say never.  As always when I travel I’ll do price comparisons for where I want to stay.  Hopefully, all resort fees will be disclosed when I look next so I don’t have to strain to do the math. I don’t want to have to deal with fighting non-disclosure.

I’ll share my new room rate math next week.  One word – OBNOXIOUS.

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.

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.

Wynn Moving To Macau?

Steve Wynn says in an interview with MSNBC that he’s considering moving Wynn headquarters to Macau.

Obviously, he’s trying to butter up the market but that likely won’t ever happen.  Especially as gaming revenue growth in Macau has probably already peaked in popularity.  Gotta love corporate speak.

On another note, his attitude towards creating beautiful and quality hotels is fantastic.  I love the line “I don’t think bigger is better.  I think better is better.”  I’d rather focus on that attitude than the corporate gibberish.