Welcome to Las Vegas (or not) …
As we all know, Las Vegas suffered immensely during the latest financial downturn. You’d think as the economy looks back up, the city would have learned a lesson. From my recent experience there, I’d say, “Not so much.”
I was in Las Vegas to do menu tastings for a client. To most people this is a dream job. I get to pick a couple of the best restaurants in town and eat whatever I want. For free. But this is easier said than done.
I also had to contract meeting space for my client’s pre-dinner press conference. Here’s where it got tricky. Many of the fine-dining restaurants in Las Vegas are independently owned, so the hotels didn’t feel the need to work with them to bring in joint business. My piece of business was treated as two separate events, and each venue wanted to make sure it got its share of the revenue.
I called several hotels and restaurants to see what was available and what it would cost. My group planned to use the space on a Sunday when hotels are normally empty.
In several instances, the hotel wanted a full-room rental plus a minimum spend of $65.00++ per person — even knowing that the group would dine an hour later for a restaurant buyout. The hotel sales rep understood that although I might not have big bucks for the hotel, I’d be spending more at the restaurant. None of that mattered to the hotel in terms of “being a good guy” and doing the right thing by the property. It took a lot of doing, but eventually we found a space that made sense.
So where does this leave Vegas in my mind? Back at square one. It’s sad to me that the hotel didn’t see that some revenue was better than no revenue, especially if it feeds an eatery on their property. It seems they haven’t learned anything from the recession and will likely find themselves in the same boat when the economy dips again.
That’s my story for now, and I am sticking to it.
Have you had a similar experience in Las Vegas, or elsewhere? How did you handle it? Please share your tips and thoughts in our comment section below.