Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are desperate times for Las Vegas.
Evidence: MGM Resorts announced it will suspend paid parking at its resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.
The announcement comes as Las Vegas casinos prepare to reopen following a two-month shutdown due to COVID-19.
Restrictions were recently lifted on restaurants and other non-essential businesses in Nevada, and it’s expected casinos could reopen as soon as June 1, 2020.
MGM Resorts has said it will open Bellagio and New York-New York first, with other casinos coming online based upon demand.
We’ve gotten word employees of a number of Las Vegas casinos are already being recalled to prepare for the reopening.
The move to nix paid parking should have a positive impact on drawing California drive-in visitors and Las Vegas locals, a group that’s been largely ignored by Strip casino companies recently.
Even before the Las Vegas shutdown, there were signs casino companies realized they were alienating visitors with short-sighted decisions like paid parking and other nickel-and-diming tactics.
In July 2018, Wynn Resorts made parking free again.
It was expected other casino companies like MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment would follow suit, but it didn’t happen. In light of MGM Resorts’ move, it’s a near certainty Caesars Entertainment will have to change its paid parking policies as well.
While we’re giddy to hear MGM Resorts is rolling back paid parking, we are also compelled to mention these are some of the same bean-counting asshats who kicked off the paid parking fiasco back in 2016. All due respect to beans and hats.
It’s a little tough to get excited about reversing a decision that never should’ve happened in the first place, but at this point, we’ll take any good news we can get. Now, let’s get busy on those resort fees.
Another reason we probably shouldn’t get too excited? MGM Resorts has said the suspension of paid parking is for the “foreseeable future.” Sort of a loophole there.
Still, the rollback of paid parking is expected to be one of many ways Las Vegas casinos will begin to drive demand again. Pun intended, probably.
While we’re predicting a lot of pent-up demand, casinos don’t seem to share the same optimism, especially because travel restrictions remain in place.
We’ve been told on an MGM Resorts conference call about the reopening, executives shared they expect just 10% hotel occupancy on weekdays and 35% on weekends initially. Brutal.
Beyond safety measures, Las Vegas casinos will have to get creative with perks and promotions to get customers back.
Losing paid parking, hopefully permanently, at Las Vegas hotels is a great start.