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Vegas Hotels Want You To Stay, But Not For Too Long

September 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM | by | Comments (21)

The length of the average stay in Las Vegas is between three and four nights, and that’s exactly what many casino operators want it to be. You might be inclined to think that the house wants you to stay forever. The long-standing myth about pumped-in oxygen designed to keep you awake and gambling certainly suggests as much. It may seem intuitive that the longer you stay, the more the casino will make; but, that’s often not the case. In fact, many casinos have policies in place designed to limit the time you spend at their properties.

El Cortez has the most straightforward policy about over-staying your welcome. Guests who spend more than seven nights a month in the hotel are penalized with an additional nightly fee. Short of sending security up to pack your bags, there’s not a much more direct way to say “go home!”

The big chains aren’t as explicit, but have designed their marketing and reservations systems to encourage shorter stays. At Caesars, comped guests, even huge gamblers, are typically limited to five nights per stay. In addition, the Total Rewards website prohibits booking back-to-back stays. At MGM Resorts' properties, you can usually get discounted room rates by booking two-, three-, or four-night stays. Promotions are rarely designed to incentivize stays beyond this length.

The message through these practices is clear: come and visit, but not for too long. Las Vegas resorts do so much to build customer loyalty and attract you to their hotels. From free rooms and show tickets to comped dinners and slot tournaments, they do everything and more to get feet in the door. With so much effort put into attracting guests, why would they want to give you the boot?

Unsurprisingly, the answer is the bottom line. With a fixed number of rooms available, hotels always have an eye on maximizing guest spending. Customers who budget for lengthy stays don’t bring in the same revenue per day as those in town for weekend blowouts. From the casino’s perspective, the ideal customer gets in, goes through their budget, and gets out quickly so that the room can be resold to a new guest with a new bankroll.

In the case of budget hotels, this can be especially important. It’s no secret that Las Vegas hotels gamble by subsidizing room prices. It’s a competitive game, designed to get you in the door by offering what looks like a cheap vacation. In most cases, the low room price is more than made up for through gambling, dining, and entertainment spending. This gamble on the part of the casino becomes dangerous, however, as the average length of a guest stay increases. When hotel guests cut back on their expenditures, the cost of the room begins to become a big deal.

In the case of comped rooms, guests with tight pockets can put resorts in the red if they don’t spend elsewhere. And, at budget destinations like El Cortez, it can be difficult to recoup the money lost on a discounted room. Some hotels offer rates so low that they can find themselves slipping out of the entertainment business and into the residential one. Such is likely the case at El Cortez. With weekday rates that are lower than those of most apartments, the hotel no doubt attracts attention from people looking for temporary housing. The seven-day maximum stay rule seems designed to discourage people from moving in. A Las Vegas hotel needs to be full of customers with open wallets, not budget-conscious residents, in order to thrive.

Three to four days is just about the right amount of time to maximize revenue. Two to three day weekend trips, packed with gambling, dining, and shows, make up the low end. Convention-goers, who have less time per day for spending, make up the high end. It’s just the way the casinos want it to be, and isn't likely to change soon. As a result, if you plan on visiting Las Vegas for more than five nights, you should plan ahead. Know that most hotels aren't looking for long-term guests and you will likely get the best rates by splitting your stay across properties with different owners.

(Photo: VegasChatter)

Comments (21)

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Not true of all properties

I can understand about hotels on the strip and Fremont Street, but this is not true of all places.  Several years ago, I came out there to go house hunting. When I did, I was there for 2 weeks.  I stayed at the Orleans and got a really good deal...my stay for the two weeks including all the fees was roughly $500.  When I came back to settle on the house, 8 months later,  I stayed at the Orleans again for another 2 weeks and it cost about the same.  It was a combination of casino rates, comped nights etc.  They didn't have any additional night fees.  Although I do think that the max number of nights you can book online is 2 weeks.

I had no idea

Thanks for the interesting article. The thought that a casino doesn't want us to stay longer than a week had never crossed my mind.

And the longest I've stayed in a Vegas hotel was the Aria for six nights. We usually stay five - just about perfect!

5

 we usually stay, five days...next year we want a week, lets see what happens.

We usually stay longer...

since the cost of the flight from the East Coast and the time it takes to fly means a 2 night stay is just out of the question.  We usually stay at least a week.  And we always seem to have to break it up between 2 or 3 hotels.

Not True

I visit Vegas 3-6 times a year. And I usually stay @ same hotel for at least 5 days to up to 8 days. I'm flyin out in 11 days and I have a room @ the Stratosphere, the remodeled select room and paid only $500 for 8 night, plus resort fee.

I usually stay 4-5 nights but when I stayed for

a week once... I switched hotels.  Nice to get a change of pace too.  A week is a little long unless you're coming in from Europe or Asia then I can see how it makes sense.  If from the US... 4-5 days is fine.  Good news (for now) is that there is still SOME competition in Vegas hotels so you can stay a couple night here and a couple nights there.  Hopefully Genting will bring in a new player in to the Strip properties.  SLS too will be something different.  Not a fan at all of CET or even MGM for that matter.

El Cortez

How much is this extra fee at El Cortez?

Short trips

I usually stay 2-3 days and hotel jump so I guess they like me.

Missing the point

Ermago and Ssoucoup,  you guys are missing the point.  It's not that you can't get good deals on long stays. It's that you get BETTER deals with shorter stays because they only want you there for a little bit.  Whenever I visit I usually do 2-3 nights at a Boyd hotel using whatever offer they sent me and then move to the Strip using one of the seasonal deals from MGM or Harrahs.

makes sense

I stayed at the Rio for the WSOP and even though I'm diamond and had lots of free nights in my TotalRewards account (even Ceasars palace) I couldn't book more than 5 at a time.  I ended up having to stay somewhere else for a few days and then come back to use another 5 free nights, I guess it tricked their computer into thinking it was a different trip.

It's a hotel, not a residence!

I guess Howard Hughes would be out of luck these days...unless he immediately employed his strategy of simply buying the hotel when they attempt to push him out!

@ManInBlack

It's currently an added $25 per night once you go beyond 7 days.  EC rooms are frequently in the $20/night range on weekdays, which means the price more than doubles.

@SusaVegas

That's exactly it.  Most of the promotions that Caesars and MGM run give customers a discount on the per night price if you add to the length of your stay.  A single night might go for $200.  Two nights might be $150 each.  Three might go for $125 each.  Once you get beyond a number, 4 or 5 from my experience, not only is there no further discount, but your average per night starts to go back up.  If you don't check the various options you might not even realize what's happening.  I think many visitors miss out on better deals by not doing enough price comparison.  In some cases, people are fine with paying a premium in order to avoid changing hotels.  But, for those who want to get the most out of their budget, exploring all the options can mean much lower rates.

Split trips

I usually split my trips of 6 or 7 nights into 2 hotels, ideally 1 strip and 1 downtown,I have done 9 nites in 3 hotels- but thats not ideal.
 As for the average rate going up- I think most of that would be due to it having to include atleast 1 weekend, if not 2. I rarely stay sunday nite and even saturday nite stays are rare (and usually spent downtown-where the rates are much lower).

Not true of the Plaza

As my wife & I travel from England a short stay is out of the question. The air fare next month has cost over $1000 each. Too expensive & way too long travelling for a 2 or 3 night stay.
We stay for 2 weeks, 2 or 3 times a year.
Downtown the Plaza always treats/comps us very well, as did The Vegas Club before they closed. Perhaps they treat overseas visitors differently?

@SusaVegas

I see what you are saying now.  Take advantage of the good deals by hotel hopping.  That does make sense.  I guess the way I read it originally is that some hotels will start charging you extra...but maybe  that is just the El Cortez.

Thanks for clarifying that...I can totally understand.  I guess for me, I'm one of those people that just likes to stay at one place, because I don't have to schlep stuff from one hotel to the next.

I Keep Telling You...

Get and use a rewards card every time you sit down to a machine or a game table...you will get preferential treatment in every area (providing you ask nicely) of a LV hotel/casino, including free nights/food/entertainment! It just makes sense.

No prob, they can have their room back ...

Packing and hauling clothes for more than a three night stay is too much like moving, for me. Not my idea of fun. lol

But it is an interesting piece!

players card

With all the hotel casinos now having players cards they can track how much guests are spending each day. I am sure if they see a guest still spending a good amount of money after 5 days they will want to keep them at there hotel as long as they keep gambling.

Ridiculous

This is a ridiculous article. All of these places listed would love for you to stay for as long as possible if you are gambling. Two out of the last three years, I have stayed for 2-3 weeks during the WSOP at CET properties. If you want to stay and play, they would never limit you.

One of the weakest articles ever posted on this site.

@CA12891289

While most casinos will not outright limit you (El Cortez will), they do discourage longer stays through the design of their promotional offers.  If you only play poker, for example, you might get free room offers on weekdays, when they have rooms to spare.  When the weekend comes, they want to fill those rooms with more profitable gamblers.  Instead of giving you the boot, they raise your rate to either make up the lost revenue or to get you out and someone more profitable in.

In theory, you're right.  Casinos would love to keep every patron who is gambling in a room forever.  But, with a limited number of rooms available, that's not possible.  That's why they put so much effort into hitting customers hard and turning them over.

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