This is a way to increase revenue without paying a commission or having a lower search rank because of higher prices. Let’s take a look at fees you might want to be aware of the next time you visit Las Vegas.
Who can forget the $10 fee Bally’s once charged to use the safe each day of a trip? That no longer exists but there are still plenty of fees. After a great upgrade, one of the best “tricks” from using a $20 Trick is to have the resort fees waived. A tip could also help to avoid an early check-in fee or late check-out fee. Removing resort fees can save up to $45 per night at some of the nicer hotels like The Venetian and The Palazzo.
The fees are a reminder that it’s not so bad to ask for a complimentary upgrade with the $20 trick – whenever possible. The worst the desk agent can do is say no. The hotel room fees can turn a bargain hotel room rate into an ordinary price for a room. Visitors to Las Vegas might as well try to get the best bang for the buck. After all, the casinos are doing the same thing by implementing fee on fee on fee.
For what it’s worth, Las Vegas hotel prices are still competitive after all the fees. Sin City can be a serious deal relative to other cities without extra fees. The all-in price of a Las Vegas hotel room is competitive with other cities but it would nice not to have to dance around.
Frankly, once resort fees become illegal or go away, the hotels win. The total price of the rooms will be the same as the all-in fee. The difference is that there won’t be that extra fee we can negotiate away with a tip or trick. Once a hotel room price is in a computer system, there’s little a desk agent can do to change that.
Look for all the “amenities” offered in a resort fee to be offered as goods and services the resorts would like to offer at no additional charge.
Food and Beverage Fees
Las Vegas hotels aren’t the only businesses that tack on a fee to their goods and services. A few years ago some restaurants and bars started to charge a concession fee. This fee is limited to a handful of locations in Las Vegas…for now.
Vital Vegas is a great resource for keeping tabs on which businesses charge this fee. The Concession and Franchise fee (CNF) of 4.7% (or more) is added to each check at the following bars and restaurants:
- Alexxa’s (Paris)
- Beer Park (Paris)
- Cabo Wabo Cantina (Planet Hollywood)
- Chayo (The Linq)
- Hexx (Paris)
Fees are annoying but less than 5% on a single drink is barely noticeable. The CNF on $8 beer will cost an additional 40 cents plus tax. The bartender is probably the biggest loser as that additional change would probably go towards a tip for the single drink.
This concession fee really stands out when there’s a round of drinks or a group orders a complete meal with drinks. The extra 5% on a $100-$200 meal is noticeable. While taxes go to the government, this fee is just an additional charge by the vendor. They could raise the already high prices, but why scare more people away with price gouging?
People are visiting Beer Park for the location as much as the food and drink. Chayo at The Linq has a fun atmosphere and plenty of outdoor seating right on the shopping promenade. These customers aren’t looking to pinch pennies. They’re often visiting the venues regardless of the prices.
MGM Resorts was the first casino operator on the Vegas Strip to charge for parking. Many others have since followed. Wynn (and Encore) recently reversed its parking fee policies. Both hotels once again offer complimentary self-parking and valet.
Don’t expect every casino operator to drop its parking fees. Wynn has a different customer than most casinos on the Vegas Strip. They also opened a shopping plaza last year that they’d like people to visit. Not too many will make the drive to Wynn for Soul Cycle class when they have to pay an additional fee just to park.
Hello, Venue Fees
Today, some bars are just calling the fee for drinks a “venue fee.” Juniper and Mama Rabbit at Park MGM are now tacking on a 5% service fee onto drink orders. MGM tells one guest that the fee is for maintenance and wifi.
SLS Las Vegas recently rebranded as Sahara. The new Sahara Las Vegas is charging a fee to guests that have waitress service according to multiple tweets and blog posts. The fee at The Foundry is about 20% on a couple of drinks or $2.50 depending on the source.
If you’re concerned about additional fees popping up, just ask before you order. Most of the fees are “hidden.” Sometimes the fees are listed in super small print and other times you might be at a busy bar or concert and never think to ask.