Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Road Not Taken - Vegas Locals Have A Choice

Photo Credit: Las Vegas Idiot.com

Las Vegas Idiot is a picture blog from a man on the streets in Las Vegas. The site is updated frequently and the quality of the photos are fantastic.

Even for hard working Las Vegas locals, it is becoming more and more a question of how much it costs to drive across town to their favorite casino, restaurant, mall, or club for a little R&R. I'm referring to the casual gambling & dining local crowd, like me. The ubiquitous Station casinos are experts in designing awards programs for attracting locals with their frequent player cards, but I've never really played there enough to be sucked into that "black hole". The Station casinos are even reimbursing people for their gas on some 2 night hotel mini-vacation packages, which locals are buying up as Staycations! I give the Station Casinos a lot of credit ( bad choice of words ) for their clever marketing and ability to generate customer loyalty. My favorite Station Casino property, Green Valley Ranch, is literally within walking distance of my home in Henderson.

If you live in Henderson ( a city that adjoins Las Vegas to the South ) like I do, the thought of whether to 1) travel to the Strip or 2) a local casino for just some casual gambling or dining is becoming a "no - brainer", especially on a holiday weekend like the one coming up in 10 days ( July 4th weekend ), with all the crowds and the traffic. Don't get me wrong, I love to "play tourist" and go to the Strip, but there has to be a specific event or planned destination and a compelling reason for me to go there. Unless I have a specific reason to go to the Strip ( and God knows, I wish I had more reasons like the Tapis Rouge event last Thursday! ) I will go to the local places in Henderson like Green Valley Ranch Station Casino or Casino Monte Lago at Lake Las Vegas ( also in Henderson ).

With Vegas becoming a world class travel destination ( which implies higher prices for meals, shows, entertainment, shopping, etc. ) and with the current economic downturn, many Vegas locals are staying closer to home and holding on to their wallets. Look for some tourist casinos on the Strip going more out of their way to attract locals.

In the Las Vegas Sun article cited above, "Hey, neighbor, try our hotel", the Sahara Hotel, which recently changed ownership, is mentioned as an example of a Strip casino going out of their way to attract locals:

'The Sahara is promoting video poker machines that it says are paying percentages more akin to those offered at neighborhood casinos. Word about the machines has spread among locals, who track favorable games that come and go from casinos on Web sites and Internet chat rooms. But the Sahara has given away the secret — all the better to lure tourists who want to be in the know — with a sign designating a part of the casino floor “Locals Lane.”

The Sahara also has created a separate players club for locals that offers deeper discounts for meals, drinks, shows and hotel rooms that can be used for players or out-of-town friends or family.

The Sahara began working on the locals program last year after Los Angeles nightclub king Sam Nazarian bought the property and before the economic downturn.'


Las Vegas said...

That does sound like a great idea for the locals. I'm an out of towner and the strip has become a tourist attraction where you can't find any of the locals. The Sahara has the right idea of attracting the locals because with the economy and airlines ,people are scared to fly and the price of everything. I hope you have a great time at the Sahara and Staycations.

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