This may seem silly because we already know the answer, but when I hear MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren talk, I wonder if he realizes how many jobs are impacted negatively by his words? The answer is of course, “HELL NO. He cares less about who his words or his decisions hurt, as long as today’s stock price improves his bank accounts. Beyond that, he could care less.
His disdain for the average customer is only matched by his true dislike for those who live, work and support the Las Vegas valley economy. The “Locals”. Ever since his coronation as CEO in 2008, he made no bones about the fact that if there is one thing he hates worse than having to deal with customers in his resorts, it’s having to have locals come in his resorts. Since that day, he has worked diligently to find new ways to offend the locals, hoping we would avoid entering any MGM property, ever. Yet, we kept coming.
Well, in 2017, his wish to rid his empire of the local unwashed may finally happen. As he and his fellow casino owners tighten the screws one more time with increased resort fees, tighter odds at gaming, higher drink, and show prices, and of course, the new parking fees. It’s a pretty sure bet many of us will work to avoid the Strip unless absolutely necessary starting in 2017.
The sad fact is that this decision to chase away the locals from the Strip will hurt a lot of smaller tourist related businesses in these resorts, that work hard every day to keep the doors open, rent paid and how they depend on the locals for business when the large conventions are in town, sucking up all the other resources and cutting down the walk-by traffic they rely on for business.
True, MGM has yet to announce if they will continue the free parking for Nevada residents. But based on their hatred for the people who live and work in the area, I don’t see the free parking for Nevada residents continuing past the end of the year.
Today, Cosmopolitan has announced they will charge for parking with no local discounts in early 2017. Caesars will start charging for valet at most of their properties beginning in early 2017. Self-parking fees will happen soon after that. The Wynn will charge for only valet parking starting around Christmas (for now). The Venetian/Palazzo has stated they are staying free for now.
According to the bean counters running MGM Resorts, they believe that guest parking should be a privilege and it should be seen as an honor for us to pay them to park and enter their kingdoms. Telling us that their parking structures cost money and therefore need to be paid for directly by those who use them!
Really? So now we should expect a service charge to use the doors and walk on the carpet? I was always taught that as a business, you try to serve the customer. Do things to entice more of them to come into your business, not work hard to find ways to piss them off. You especially want to work hard to keep those who will be there when times are slow, business is down. You want to keep the locals coming back. Remeber 2001? Remember 2009?? Apparently Not! WE DO!
This will mean extra pressure on the parking conditions at the smaller resorts not charging for parking, that really want the traffic from the locals and they will be forced to follow suit with parking fees. Kicking out the very people they want to keep patronizing their establishments.
The flip side of this is that since the crash of 2008/2009, the “Local casinos” have stepped up their game. They have become newer, some even larger, friendlier and working harder to be our preferred destination for big name entertainment, gourmet food options, as well the other attractions normally reserved for the flashier Vegas Strip. And they don’t charge for parking!
Las Vegas may be 2 million people, but ask anybody working in the tourist business here and they will tell you that we are still a small town. People here don’t forget those who support them in the good times as well as the bad times. Tell us to F.U. and we will remember that for a very long time!
MGM, Cosmo and Caesars may not feel the pinch right away, but when we have another 9/11 or another financial meltdown (and we will) and people suddenly stop coming here, MGM and Caesars will look to us to bail them out and wonder why we are not there for them. This is why we will not be there… The Greed will come back to bite them in the bank account and stock prices. Especially biting the backside of the most clueless of them all, Jim Murren.
This is Not Iowa
Ok, for those who will try and say “They charge for parking in “fill in city”, I say this: The moment I can go to “insert city”, check into my hotel, go to the bar, get a drink and walk out the front door holding my drink without getting arrested for public intoxication, we can compare Las vegas Strip to “insert city”. Until then, this is Vegas, we locals work at and support the Strip resorts and have always enjoyed that one little perk as they gouged us in every other way. It was one of the selling points to get us to visit the Strip and pay $8 for a beer.
2017 will be an interesting year for The Vegas Tourist.