Pencil: The Golden Gate and The D Add Resort Fees
Yesterday morning, Derek Stevens, CEO of the D Las Vegas notified us preemptively that The D and Golden Gate would be instituting a $20 per night resort fee at The D and Golden Gate. He attached graphics of the two statements which would be placed on his properties' websites later that day, containing his statement.
Here's the full text of Derek's statement:
Effective with any new reservations for arrival on August 19, 2013 and beyond, the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate will implement a $20 resort fee per night which will be offset by offering the most competitive room rates in town. Guests will also be provided free high-speed Wi-Fi access, $10 off the D showroom tickets, and free local and toll-free phone calls.
Over the years, I have been a critic of resort fees in Las Vegas. But now, the reality is that over 85% of all hotel rooms booked today in the city include a resort fee. This puts our hotels, the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate, at a disadvantage when consumers book their stays online, as most consumers initially evaluate hotels by price. We'd like to be fairly considered when consumers are making their reservations and don't want published rates to distort consumer choice. Our resort fee will enable us to offer lower room rates while adding free Wi-Fi and show discounts, and our total room cost will be a very competitive value in the marketplace.
Like many of you, I was quite surprised by this announcement. During the height of the Twitter firestorm directed at Caesars Entertainment for their abrupt reversal - and pathetic explanation - of their much touted "No Resort Fees" policy, Derek responded to our post listing Caesars' new resort fees with:
Unlike Caesars' reversal and the bizarre "Fremont Street Experience Fee" bait & switch by neighboring 'No Resort Fee' property Golden Nugget, Derek has chosen to own the resort fee announcement and explain the reasoning to guests. The impetus here - just like the add on fees when buying tickets - is to keep the published rates low, and keep the D's pricing competitive with similar quality resorts that have ballooned their rates with hidden fees.
The interesting thing to note in Derek's statement is:
$20 resort fee [...] will be offset by offering the most competitive room rates in town
And here's the offset...
Golden Gate and The D's hotel room rates, slashed by $20.
Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International both boasted on investor earnings calls how resort fees were implemented to extract more revenue out of hotel room product and toasted their success and future growth. Conversely, the room rates above back up Derek's explanation... when all is said and done, we're still paying the same rate, but The Golden Gate and The D's are listed lower.
The magic trick is further clarified when looking at the listing of Fremont Street joints on VT's Expedia powered reservation system.
When sorted, by price, lowest to highest using random dates in September, The Golden Gate and The D are at the top of the list. The actual price, with the resort fee, is the highest of all hotels in Downtown Las Vegas, save the Golden Nugget. The price we pay is the same as it was before, but The D and Golden Gate have jumped to the front of the line using some shell game tactics designed to fuck the competition.
Derek is the CEO of two large corporations. He has the brains of a businessmen, the soul of a Detroiter and the hands of a plumber. The difference between Derek and the Murren/Loveman is that he's told us how the magic trick works and who he's trying to screw - the competition.
Don't mistake my explanation for approval. The resort fee game fucking sucks, BUT the vast majority of folks who come to Vegas a) don't do research before booking b) don't know what they want/need/like c) gravitate towards a name they've heard a coupla times d) book resorts based on budget and e) "Who stays in their room anyways! It's Vegas!" If you're reading this, you're f) none of the above. Now that you know how the game is played you can use this information to make better decisions... be it stay at the D or some other joint that isn't involved in the shell game.
Derek has agreed to talk with the Vegas Gang this week to discuss the resort fee addition. If you have any questions you would like to ask him about this or anything else D/Golden Gate related, post them in the comments and I will do my best to get as many of them answered as possible.
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