Schadenfreude

While scanning through Twitter, I happened upon this tweet from Vital Vegas. Vital Vegas, by the way, is the place to go to get the best and latest scoop on what’s going on in Vegas’ underbelly. And good stuff too, but the underbelly is way more fun.

Vital Vegas Parking Tweet

Vital Vegas Parking Tweet

My ears perked up and I dug into as much of the whole story as I could get.  And, as Vital Vegas stated, it’s been what we’ve been ranting (VV said talking) about ever since the parking fees were introduced. Vegas is feeling the pain. If you’re on Twitter, you have to follow the link and see the comments on Todd Prince’s feed. Wow. The ex-tourists are livid. Yeah, I said “ex.”

Garage parking

Garage parking

And, yes, Wynn’s and Encore’s numbers dropped. Because it’s just common sense and almost a rule in Vegas – you stay where you park.

After reading that, I found one of the parking stories at Las Vegas Sun that reported that the Wynn and Encore are changing their parking fee policy.  They will no longer charge guests for parking (charging guests for parking – how stupid can you get) and parking will be “free” if you spend $50. Which is not free.

Whatever. It’s a start.

However, their explanation is somewhat detached from the reality.

So why did they seemingly randomly stop charging for parking? Their PR story is because they love their customers and only want the best for them.

However, the actual story is because The Palazzo, The Venetian, and the Fashion Show Mall – their closest neighbors – refused to even start charging. And, yes, Wynn’s and Encore’s numbers dropped. Because it’s just common sense and almost a rule in Vegas – you stay where you park. When I go to any of the above venues, I don’t leave. The Venetian and Palazzo are more or less joined at the hip, but when I park there, I’m there to make a donation (i.e., gamble), eat, and shop. Why should I dodge the dodgy traffic on Spring Mountain to go the Wynn or Encore which are already decidedly more expensive?

WTF Were They Thinking?!?

Most of the casinos that are charging for parking give you the first hour free. FIRST HOUR FREE. First of all, it may take you a good half hour just to find a place to park and walk into the casino! That was stupid to begin with! Let’s face it, when you go into any of the larger casinos, the chances of staying only an hour is slim to none. Which is why people – especially locals – have been avoiding the Strip in droves. I certainly have!

A recent story described how the Las Vegas Golden Knights (Go Knights Go) brought more locals on the Strip, even those who normally avoid it. Will these locals be back now that the season is over? Um, no. (News Flash – the Golden Knights had a celebration with their fans in Downtown Vegas, where parking is free, cheap, or validated. Far away from their Park MGM nee Monte Carlo home).

Garage arrow out

Garage arrow out!

I mentioned before that I understood why they started charging for parking. The Raiders will begin their inaugural season in Las Vegas beginning in 2019 (I think), and they want to cash in on the money that the disgruntled fans from California (they lost their Raiders. boo hoo) and new fans from Las Vegas will bring. I’m not an economic genius – just take a look at my checkbook – but I reckon that ignoring your paying guests and the locals is not a good business plan. It seems that in order to keep goodwill and repeat business, pampering said guests and locals would be the way to go. They are more likely to purchase overpriced tickets and buy overpriced food as well as stay a little later and toss some coin on the tables, you know what I mean?

And while I’m doing the schadenfreude thing over the angst that the casinos are feeling, I have to say that there’s still some concern. Visitation to Vegas has dropped 1% per month ever since the parking fees were instituted. It may not sound like much, but 1% is about 34,000 people each month who aren’t coming here anymore. And this is after months of steadily rising after the recession. The first month that the parking was implemented, the first 1% stayed away. About 18 months of losing business.

It’s not easy watching the casinos immolate themselves, because it could affect the reputation of Vegas as a destination in the long run. I live here and enjoy the lifestyle that living in Vegas brings. If they mess that up with their juvenile, extortion-level, non-Vegas antics, that would be bad. I hope that they step back and revisit this idea that must have come from the vacant brain of a junior financial analyst from Dubuque, and maybe they’ll give their guests and the locals some love.

We’ll see. You already know that this story isn’t over.

You HAVE to read Vital Vegas’ full story here. It’s a hoot!

Sobering LA Times story – Fewer people visiting Las Vegas