Major Vegas Casino Owner Hikes Resort Fees
The L.A. Times is reporting that Caesar’s Entertainment, owner of nine prominent Las Vegas hotels is moving to a one size fits all resort fee for all of their properties.
The company which owns, Caesar’s Palace, Cromwell, Rio, Paris, Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Planet Hollywood & the Linq will be moving to a $25 resort fee at all of their properties.
Six of the properties are seeing an increase in fees that ranges from $3-$5. (Caesar’s Palace & Cromwell were already at $25.) The $25 fee puts all of Caesar’s properties in line with the most of the high end Strip properties including: Bellagio, Wynn & the Venetian. (Hmm. Same charge for the Linq & Wynn. Something seems wrong with that.)
“No Resort Fees”
If you follow Vegas closely, then you might remember that Caesar’s is the company that built an advertising campaign for years around “no resort fees”. The company made the “No Resort Fees” moniker their mantra and even had a billboard covering the side of Bally’s advertising it.
Apparently they were getting killed by MGM who began charging resort fees after the beginning of the recession. Early in 2013 Caesar’s backtracked on their policy and rolled out resort fees to all of their properties.
Analysts worry that this move will cause other casinos to raise their resort fees as well. $25 may have just become the new base since almost all of the major Strip properties are charging that much. The few lagging behind are likely to raise their fees to match sooner rather than later.
Caesar’s is also a company with a ton of debt and a very shaky financial future. Bloomberg is reporting that they may not be around for much longer. Perhaps this move is a desperate last attempt to raise revenue to stave off bankruptcy or a ploy to make their assets look better when everything heads to court.
A Change to Total Rewards
This resort fee change also brought in a change to Caesar’s Total Rewards Programs. Vegas Chatter reports that only their top level elites will be eligible for resort fee waivers. Lower level elites who previously enjoyed that benefit will have to pay up. So they raised the fee and are charging it to more people!
Of course resort fees are just the tip of the iceberg. Hotels in Vegas and other places have started charging ridiculous fees for just about everything. As a savvy consumer you should always add up all taxes and fees to consider your true cost.
For example, I just looked up a room at the Rio. It is advertised as $36 per night, but after taxes & resort fees the total is $68.32. I consider $68 my cost and don’t even give any thought to the $36 number. It is just one part of the whole. Don’t mentally fool yourself by even taking that number into consideration.
Impact on Hotel Industry
Las Vegas is the largest hotel market in the world. If consumers continue to accept these fees, there is no reason to believe that they will not continue to spread across the entire industry. No matter the outcome, I have no doubt that executives across the hotel industry are watching to see just how well this experiment goes.
If you believe the stock market, Caesar’s is on the verge of bankruptcy. This move reeks of desperation to me, especially considering less than two years ago they didn’t charge any resort fees at all. What do you think? Does this make you less likely to stay at one of their properties? Do you hate resort fees? Let me know!