My dad knew opportunity does not knock on your door every day. He taught me to make the most of them whenever possible since events rarely happen in a vacuum in one’s personal or professional lives. When one door closes, I should work hard to open another. The Nevada casino industry – specifically Las Vegas – understands that. The Nevada Gaming Control Board reports that for the 35th month since March 2005, January 2017 gaming win totals over January 2016 rose $1.04 billion (12 percent) statewide; 926.2 million (14.3 per cent) in Clark County – Las Vegas – and $55.5 million (32.1 per cent) downtown.
The energy has returned. New gaming owners and technologies seem to appear in Las Vegas every year. Having a vibrant work environment matters because it attracts more people. Every resident or business ultimately bolsters the tax base and revenues to make Las Vegas, and Nevada itself, more attractive.
One example is my niece Hayley, who just relocated to Las Vegas last December to marry a young man who also moved to Las Vegas. He now works for a start-up poker app company. Without a job, she left her San Francisco marketing position for the desert, but had enough faith in them, herself and Las Vegas to make the leap.
The good news? Hayley quickly found work in a non-gaming company opening a Las Vegas branch. She never envisioned moving to Nevada, but jumped on her future’s opportunities.
Experts agree that conditions are improving. On his television show, a Las Vegas real estate agent predicts better future Las Vegas housing levels, thanks to the new federal government‘s loosening of some restrictive regulations and banking rules. These left Nevada with some of the nation’s highest home foreclosure and unemployment rates.
Despite this, Las Vegas has always proven expert at overcoming adversity, reinventing itself and maximizing its offerings. Other gaming jurisdictions would benefit from taking its lead.
Smart operators use every opportunity to attract not only locals and conventions, but also leisure travelers. Their secret? They operate Las Vegas not just as a weekend destination, but as a seven-day-a- week experience. There is little reason to have empty rooms, a quiet gaming floor and closed restaurants.
Case in point: my sister and her husband flew to Las Vegas on a Wednesday morning to meet the prospective in-laws coming from Miami and Toronto. On short notice, Linda‘s midweek airfare saved $600 over weekend prices and her room at Paris Las Vegas cost $79. The in-laws paid $200 at Bellagio.
Even during the week, Las Vegas offers customers various price points and options. The shows and restaurants are open anyway, so why not service guests all seven days?
One longtime New Jersey casino employee and consultant has urged Atlantic City to copy that formula. Make the weeknight experience affordable and interesting enough to draw customers on slower days in any season. It is an opportunity to attract Millennials who will spend their money anytime for a good reason.
Many major casino markets, with multiple properties within a smaller area, cross-market and encourage customers to use their loyalty points within the community. Local companies aligned with casinos then have an opportunity to expose their products/services to consumers who may never enter their business. Everyone wins.
Tourists are fine, but locals often fuel a casino’s survival. Casinos can use the midweek/weekend and off-season months as an opportunity to test market ideas and analyze their success.
The El Cortez, opened in 1941 and Las Vegas’s longest continuously running hotel, does exactly that downtown by offering free beer on weekends, plus regular low table minimums and local events. The El Cortez was once owned by notorious mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. Despite multiple renovations and owners, the 1952 front facade has always been maintained. It was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2013.
Everything old becomes new again because life and business continually evolve. Progress relies on capitalizing on all opportunities.