Thursday, June 18, 2020 / by Ken Couture
Vegas has turned the lights back on and restarted the party.
And call it pent up demand, a desire for a dose of normalcy or the old-fashioned lure of Lady Luck, but enough visitors have returned to warrant speeding up the reopening of even more of the Strip’s iconic resort casinos. Of those that are already open, we’ve seen the expansion of hours, restaurants and other services. The LA Times reports that the day beds and cabanas at the pool at The Cosmopolitan were fully booked up on its reopening weekend.
It’s now expected that almost all of the major Vegas destinations you’ve heard of will reopen by mid-July, with very few major properties still mum on potential reopening dates.
But with more than 150,000 hotel rooms in the area according to the visitors bureau, even if many of those rooms are kept out of commission to aid in the quest for social distancing, how exactly does Vegas plan to bring that many tourists back week after week?
While, thankfully for Vegas, California is a major source of visitors and is a realistic driving distance away, this is still an especially poignant question since around 50 million travelers fly into Las Vegas’ McCarran airport in a normal year. Most travelers surveyed by TPG in May continue to say they don’t plan to get on an airplane anytime soon.
$10 rooms on the Strip
Whether to attract locals, those within driving distance or to spur folks to hop on a plane, it’s obvious that Vegas is going all-in on deals to draw visitors back into the casinos, pools, hotels and restaurants.
Finding $10 hotel rooms in the Caesars family of resorts (sadly, plus resort fee) is easy with a wide variety of dates pricing at that rate this summer at Flamingo, Rio and Harrah’s.
Level up to a nicer hotel
But — it’s not just the bargain Vegas resorts that are priced to sell. The high-end properties on the Strip are also being offered at a real discount. Caesars Palace is pricing at $70 and both Wynn and Bellagio are pricing starting at $111 per night for a variety of summer dates.
According to the Las Vegas tourism bureau, the city had a $132 average daily rate in 2019, so with top-tier hotels in the area coming in well below the average rate across all Vegas hotels in 2019, you know this is a true discount over normal rates.
While some will come (and stay) for the $10 to $30 rooms, others who would have normally spent around $75 to $100 per night for a room in the pre-pandemic days will now see their money take them further into higher-end resorts that normally they wouldn’t have been able to afford with the same lodging budget.
In the weeks leading up to the early-June reopening of Las Vegas, both the M life and Caesars resorts announced the return of free self-parking.
The Sahara took things a step further and has an offer that includes waived resort fees on future stays as long as you book by June 30. Room rates at that property (that has also been known as the W and SLS in recent years) start at around $58 per night.
Private-ish flights are cheaper, too
JSX offers is a private-ish flight experience, largely around California and including flights into Las Vegas. It’s private in that the flights operate out of FBOs (aka private air terminals), dramatically reducing the time you spend in the airport and the number of people you encounter. There are also fewer seats on these planes than most commercial aircraft and there’s above-average space between rows.
JSX has partnered with Wynn Las Vegas to offer packages that include not only your Vegas lodging in a Tower Suite at the Wynn and a $50 dining credit, but also your transportation into the city on a JSX flight.
The price starts at $216 per person for a round-trip flight, two-night stay at Wynn and a dining credit. Obviously, the cheapest flights are from California, but JSX is introducing a new weekend flight from Dallas on June 19. That flight package starts at just under $650 per person for double occupancy for flights, weekend stay and the dining credit. That’s not cheap, but it’s a pretty outstanding deal for someone looking to avoid the traditional airport experience.
Flights to Vegas from $19
If you’re looking to fly to Vegas, but JSX isn’t the right solution, the good news is that there are some cheap flights to be had, too. Using Google Flights, we spotted the following starting prices for one-way flights to or from Las Vegas in the coming months:
- New York: $43
- Dallas: $19
- Los Angeles: $19
- Chicago: $39
- Miami: $49
Many folks are yearning to get out, to get a taste of what they used to enjoy doing pre-pandemic and find a path toward a new normal. Like at popular-dense theme parks such as Disney and Universal, Vegas has a real challenge in striking a balance of fun as we used to know it, and keeping everyone as safe as is realistically possible. For now, at least while shows and clubs are still dark and masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing are still the orders of the day, Vegas is doubling down on deals as a way to get would-be gamblers into the doors and at the plexiglass divided table.
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