Las Vegas Little Black Book Blog
Getting the Best Room Rate Part 7 - Casino Marketing Mailers 
12/6/08, 12:55 PM - True Vegas Advice


The main reason to get a player’s card is not for an immediate comp. It is to get in the casino’s database so you can take advantage of the lucrative offers that a casino mails out.

Casinos look at a player based on ADW (Average Daily Worth). It is complex formula between acutal loss and theoretical loss, so for our purposes it is "of all the days that a player has played at that casino, how much does that player typically lose on any given day." Casinos also look at Hotel Customers versus Walk In Customers. When a casino is fishing the database for more players, they will mail to all the Walk In Customers with a high ADW.

Here is how to maximize you rating to get offers for free room, food and tournaments in the mail.

1) Play one day and one day only at a casino on the Strip. This should be your first time playing at that casino. The casino should be part of a different company that any player’s club that you already belong too.

2) The casino should be a different casino than where you are staying. By your player card information, the casino will figure out that you are a walk-in guest and not staying at the hotel. The casino will think if you are staying somewhere else, you must have been just trying out the casino. Therefore they think that you only spent a fraction of what you would have played if you were actually staying at the casino.

3) Sign up for a player’ card before you sit at a table or play a slot machine. Don’t start playing and wait for an ambassador to sign you up, because you will miss the ratings while waiting.

4) Don’t play again at that casino, if you do, don’t use your player’ card. You only want one day of rating.

5) The day ends at 11:59pm, so if you are playing late, stop playing before the clock strikes twelve, or your play will be averaged over two days.

6) If you play table games, play at packed tables. Casinos are rating you by time, not by hands played. At a packed table, there are less decisions/hour so you are losing less, but you will be rated the same as a player that is playing at a table by himself for the same time frame.

7) Play with manual shuffles. If a table has a automatic shuffler, you will be playing more hands per hour. You want to maximize your time playing while losing as less as possible.

If you end up losing a couple hundred over a couple of hours, you can except some really juicy offers coming to you in the mail.

Want more Classic Vegas Mistakes? Need some True Vegas Advice? Looking for that special Hidden Vegas Gem? Heading to Vegas soon and need the right strategy for your group? Purchase the Las Vegas Little Black Book or Las Vegas Little Red Book on Amazon or on the links to the right. Do you have specific questions about your Vegas trip or stuck on your planning? Email questions to info@vegaslittleblackbook.com.

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Getting the Best Room Rate Part 6 - Finding Deals in Hotel Packages 
12/5/08, 12:47 PM - True Vegas Advice

Hotel Packages

The great thing about hotel packages is that the rate of the package stays the same while the room rates change all the time.

Why don't Hotel Managers yield hotel packages like they do hotel rates? Because it is more work and harder to do. Hotel Packages are usually graphics on a website, not text in a rate calendar. It would be a big pain for them to upload new graphics every time rooms rate change. So instead of yielding the rate, hotel managers apply black out dates to the packages.

But since the hotel managers are judged from the success of their package, they tend to hesitate a couple days before putting up a blackout date. They really want to get the credit of how they drove business. A typical statement from a hotel manager: "We set up the Hot Deals package and we sold 350 room nights at $40,000 in revenue." If they applied the black out dates earlier, they would have sold less and the package would have been a failure. (But they don't account for the lost revenue for not closing the package earlier).

This presents opportunity to save. You can find deals on hotel packages when they actually cost less than booking the same room nights without the package. And this is not including all the freebies that come along with the package. These are bonus. You will typically find this at casino hotels that are single entities and not part of big corporations. At these single casino hotels, the hotel manager is on their own and trying to impress the boss. At big corporations, there are corporate revenue managers that will spot these package rates and shut them down.

Part 7 Tomorrow - Casino Marketing Mailers

Want more Classic Vegas Mistakes? Need some True Vegas Advice? Looking for that special Hidden Vegas Gem? Heading to Vegas soon and need the right strategy for your group? Purchase the Las Vegas Little Black Book or Las Vegas Little Red Book on Amazon or on the links to the right. Do you have specific questions about your Vegas trip or stuck on your planning? Email questions to info@vegaslittleblackbook.com.

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Getting the Best Hotel Rate Part 5 - Packages 
12/4/08, 12:43 PM - True Vegas Advice

Hotel Managers Love Packages

A package is a way for a hotel manager to get a higher room rate on their books. For example, the room is selling a room for $150 a night. But for a $200 a night package, the guest gets the room, two free buffets ($40 value), and two free show tickets ($50 value). The hotel manager records the $200 as room revenue and comps the buffet and show tickets. Hotel managers are judged by their occupancy rate and their ADR (average daily rate). The higher each one is, the better the hotel manager looks.

Rarely are the hotels comps looked at. They are buried in the financials as an expense.

Is the Hotel Losing Money With Packages?
That being said, isn't the hotel manager faking the room rate and costing the resort money by giving away $90 of stuff? $200 - $90 = $110. Isn't the resort better off selling the room for $150? Yes and no.

Shows are rarely sold out, so two free tickets usually don't cost anything. There is no cost to putting to more people in the show. In addition, buffets usually put out the same amount of food per day and end up throwing food out. So, there is little costs to putting two more through the buffet.

Most hotel managers claim that their pakcage comps only hurts revenue when a show or buffet is at capacity. (At that point, the free comps are displacing cash paying business.) But there are always debates on what capacity is in the buffet. And shows have a lot more comps from other departments like casino marketing, so why point out the hotel package comps.

Hotel Managers also claim that they are helping the show out because the guests will buy drinks and soveniers at the show and tip the servers at the buffet.

What they don't take into account is that many of these guests would have bought dinner or tickets to the show at full value.

All that being said, hotel packages are here to stay. Now, let's take advantage of them.

Part 6 Tomorrow - Finding Deals in Hotel Packages

Want more Classic Vegas Mistakes? Need some True Vegas Advice? Looking for that special Hidden Vegas Gem? Heading to Vegas soon and need the right strategy for your group? Purchase the Las Vegas Little Black Book or Las Vegas Little Red Book on Amazon or on the links to the right. Do you have specific questions about your Vegas trip or stuck on your planning? Email questions to info@vegaslittleblackbook.com.

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Getting the Best Hotel Rate Part 4 - Hotel Direct Mail 
12/3/08, 2:38 PM - True Vegas Advice

Hotel Direct Mail Offers

There are two types of direct mail offers. Mail sent by the hotel and mail sent by casino marketing.

Direct Mail Offers Sent By the Hotel

This use to be a big factor in the way a hotel fills it rooms. The hotel pulls people's information from the hotel system (usually refered to as LMS in the casino hotel world). Traditionally, data in LMS is pretty bad, as the front line agents don't enter it properly. In addtion, since there is no unique identifer for each hotel guest, peoples name tend to be in the system multiple times. Hotels that don't have a big casino customer base tend to send offers for rooms out in this method. But, most of these offers are location based, so if you don't live in Southern California or Arizona, you will probably never get one of these hotel direct mail offers.

The hotel direct mail offer tends to be a "package" of some sort, where you pay $99 a night and get a 2 for 1 buffet, free access to the Spa, and 2 for 1 show tickets. These offers are usually Sundays - Thursdays.

Many times this offer is also on their website as a package. When this happens, the direct mail from the hotel is not a unique offer to you, but an advertisement of the package. If you sign up for a casino hotels email on their website (instead of with the players club) you will get these same offers by email.

Sometimes the direct mail from the hotel is a deal not listed on the website. When this happens, you should keep the offer and consider it when making your choice.

Part 5 Tomorrow

Want more Classic Vegas Mistakes? Need some True Vegas Advice? Looking for that special Hidden Vegas Gem? Heading to Vegas soon and need the right strategy for your group? Purchase the Las Vegas Little Black Book or Las Vegas Little Red Book on Amazon or on the links to the right. Do you have specific questions about your Vegas trip or stuck on your planning? Email questions to info@vegaslittleblackbook.com.

Want to write a Little Black Book for your city?
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Getting the Best Hotel Rate Part 3 - Watch for Quick Drops in Rates 
12/2/08, 12:07 PM - True Vegas Advice


Is the hotel violating their contract by giving the drop down rate?

The hotels get around their contract by saying that the "drop down rate" (which is a term only used internally) is a special rate for a certain type of person. Just like the hotel can give a comp or casino rate room to a gambler. The gambler is a certain type.

If the sales group can find out the drop down rate and calls the hotel on it, the hotel usually just says that it was a special rate for a member of the Player's Club. At that point, the hotel just creates new Player's Club accounts with the information from the hotel reservations for anyone at the drop down rate.

Other Methods that Hotels Use to Get Around Sales Group’s Rates

Quick Shot
Some hotel managers are really bold and they will drop the rate down for minutes at a time on the website, try to catch a couple people at that reservation rate, before a sales group finds it. If a sales group does find it and calls the sale rep that made the deal, when they go to “prove” it, the rate is back up over the contracted rate.

Night Time
The hotel will lower the rate on the website during the nighttime, when they know that most business people work from 8am – 6pm and the chance that they are checking the published price in the middle of the night is slim.

Why go through all this trouble for $20 here and $15 there?
Some groups can take up to a couple thousand rooms at a time. So if the hotel has to refund $20 to 1,000 rooms at 3 nights, that is $60,000. The money can get big quickly. If they don’t drop the rate down and fill the rooms, there is a possibility that a large chuck of the hotel can go vacant, leaving huge missed revenues.

Why to the hotel sales reps put the hotel is such situations?
Hotel sales reps work off commission, the more rooms and a higher price, the more money for them. They don’t care about the profitability of the overall hotel, They care about their wallets. In addition, they are signing contracts months a head of time, while the hotel managers are really working with a 60 day window of bookings. So they don't realize that they in the situation until the dates are close.

Take Advantage
Monitor a hotel's rate calendar over a period of time to figure out how often they change rates. Some hotels move up and down often, these are the hotel that you may be able to sneak a lower rate in over night.

Part 4 Tomorrow

Want more Classic Vegas Mistakes? Need some True Vegas Advice? Looking for that special Hidden Vegas Gem? Heading to Vegas soon and need the right strategy for your group? Purchase the Las Vegas Little Black Book or Las Vegas Little Red Book on Amazon or on the links to the right. Do you have specific questions about your Vegas trip or stuck on your planning? Email questions to info@vegaslittleblackbook.com.

Want to write a Little Black Book for your city?
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Getting the Best Hotel Rate Part 2 - The Drop Down Rate 
12/1/08, 12:50 PM - True Vegas Advice

Sales groups determine the minimum published rate for FIT (frequent independent traveler).

Hotels love sales groups. They are booked years in advance and lock in a good rate. The bad part of them is that the hotel can’t have the room rate for FIT lower than the Group rate.

The FIT rate for any given date has to be higher than sales. If is it not, the sales group can claim a breach of contract and demand refunds on the rooms booked. While this sounds like simple math to give refunds if needed, it is a lot of negotiation with the group and a new contract must be drawn. That is the reason why you see some super high room rates during the weekdays at some hotels. The hotel knows that the room rate is too high, but they are locked in.

How to Get Around This
The key to getting by this is not to accept the published price. First, don’t use the hotel’s website. Sales groups check the website for the going room rate – to see if the casino is undercutting their negotiated price. So the hotel can’t give you the best rate on the website.

You have to call the reservation number. When you call, you need to establish that you are a vacationer – you are not part of any group. Then, don’t accept the price that the reservation agent gives you. Tell them, “that is too high, is there anything else you can do? I have heard so much about the hotel, I really want to stay there.”

The Drop Down Rate
At this point, the reservation agent will give you a lower rate, called the “Drop Down Rate”. This is a rate that the reservation agent can drop to in order to get the room booked.

An Example
For example, a large group is in a $199 a night. So the hotel publishes $209 a night on the website, to satisfy the contract of the group. The $209 is the called the “Prevailing Rate”. Then, the hotel sets the drop down rate at $179 a night. They can’t let any sales group know the drop down rate. The only way to get the drop down rate of $179 is to talk to the reservation agent and tell them that you are a vacationer, you are not coming to town for a convention.

This Is Not A Scam
The hotel wants you to know the drop down rate. The hotel knows what the rest of the hotels are going for and that demand for the room is only $179. By doing this, you are not pulling one over on the hotel. They just can't tell you the best rate because of the sales group.

Part 3 Tomorrow

Want more Classic Vegas Mistakes? Need some True Vegas Advice? Looking for that special Hidden Vegas Gem? Heading to Vegas soon and need the right strategy for your group? Purchase the Las Vegas Little Black Book or Las Vegas Little Red Book on Amazon or on the links to the right. Do you have specific questions about your Vegas trip or stuck on your planning? Email questions to info@vegaslittleblackbook.com.

Want to write a Little Black Book for your city?
We're expanding and bringing the Little Black Book formula to other cities. Click here for info
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Getting the Best Hotel Rate Part 1 
11/30/08, 1:40 PM - True Vegas Advice


Before telling you the tactics of getting the best room rate, you must understand the structure of how casino hotels fill their rooms. First, you must understand "blocks".

There are five different segments or "blocks" of room inventory for hotel casinos....

FIT (Frequent Independent Traveler)

Also know as the transient segment, the FIT traveler books through the website and calling the reservation number; the FIT traveler usually pays the highest rate of the five segments, but not always.

Groups (Sales Groups and Conventions)

A company will have a contract with the hotel for a block of rooms at a discounted price. These contracts are usually done 1 year to 6 months in advance.

Casino (Casino Rate Players, Casino Comp Players & Casino Events)

Know as the casino block, rooms are dedicated to the casino hosts to put players into. The casino hosts may either comp the room or put a player in at a special lower "casino rate".

Direct Mail (Returning Hotel Guests and Casino Players)

The hotel mails out offers to people in the database to stay at the hotel at discounted rates. The level of discount is determined by the level of the casino player. Play more, get more discounts. Often the discounts are in the form of "add-ons", such as a $100 resort credit.

Wholesale (Travel Agents and Travel Websites)

There are two types of whole sale: Travel Agents and Travel Websites. Travel agents book through the travel agent system, in which they are booking at the same rate as FIT. Travel Websites contract a block of rooms in which the casino gives them at a set price. The travel website then charges what ever they can get for the rooms.

----------------------------------------------------------
So how do these segments work? How many rooms does each section get? How do you figure out which way to get the cheapest price? Knowing how the hotels use blocks and how they affect room rate will save you hundreds of dollars. Timing and knowledge are everything.

Part 2 Coming Tomorrow

Want more Classic Vegas Mistakes? Need some True Vegas Advice? Looking for that special Hidden Vegas Gem? Heading to Vegas soon and need the right strategy for your group? Purchase the Las Vegas Little Black Book or Las Vegas Little Red Book on Amazon or on the links to the right. Do you have specific questions about your Vegas trip or stuck on your planning? Email questions to info@vegaslittleblackbook.com.

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Classic Vegas Mistake: Staying at a hotel this due to blown up in the next year 
10/10/08, 9:30 PM - Classic Vegas Mistakes

You might think it is a great deal, but you don't realize what you are getting yourself into. For example, you choose a place like Bourbon Street casino, because the rates are rock bottom because the property was bought by Harrah’s and it is going to be torn down in six months. Wrong. When a casino is set for demolition, the company is not going to put another dollar into maintaining anything in the hotel. So, the pressure in your shower head might be equal to that of a water fountain. On top of that, they leave only the bottom of the barrel employees there to run the place. So, don’t expect a wake up call because the receptionist just might still be nursing a hangover from the boilermakers last night at the local saloon.
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Classic Vegas Mistake: Trying to Pick-Up a "Working" Girl 
9/30/08, 4:17 AM - Classic Vegas Mistakes

It happens all the time. You are at a bar in Vegas. Suddenly, you make eye contact with an attractive blonde on the other side of the bar. She keeps looking at you. You muster up the courage to talk to her. She seems really interested in you. After about 30 minutes of talking to her, she lets you know that she "ain't free".

How to Spot a Working Girl:

Working girls tend to hang out at the casino center bars: Mirage Baccarat Bar, Bellagio Baccarat Bar, Mandalay Bay Island Lounge, Palms Center Bar, Hard Rock Center Bar, Treasure Island Breeze Bar, Caesar’s Cleopatra’s Barge, NYNY Big Apple Bar are some of the main spots where most of the girls after 11pm are of the working type.

Working girls usually don’t drink too much alcohol. They don’t want to get drunk because they work a long night. They probably are drinking cappuccinos or hot tea.

Working girls like to play video poker. It keeps them occupied between meeting men.

Working girls like to make eye contact with you. They will look at you across the bar and smile.

Working girls tend to work in pairs. They make friends with the other girls and chit chat with them while at the bar.

Working girls tend not to be in large groups. If you see a group of four girls or more, you can pretty much guarantee they are normal.

Working girls dress up in nice clothes. You won’t see one of these girls wearing a T-shirt that says “Vegas”.

In conclusion, if you stay away from center bars at night, you probably won't bump into one. Stick to the bars we talk about in the Las Vegas Little Black Book.

Want more Classic Vegas Mistakes? Need some True Vegas Advice? Looking for that special Hidden Vegas Gem? Heading to Vegas soon and need the right strategy for your group? Purchase the Las Vegas Little Black Book or Las Vegas Little Red Book on Amazon or on the links to the right. Do you have specific questions about your Vegas trip or stuck on your planning? Email questions to info@vegaslittleblackbook.com.

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Football Sundays in Vegas  
9/10/08, 7:01 AM - True Vegas Advice

On most Sundays in Vegas, people wake up late, nurse a hangover, check out of their room and then try to waste time until their flight leave. But from September through December, Sundays are entirely something different. Pro football takes over Vegas.

Yes, as you know, there are no games actually played in Vegas, but that does not matter. On Football Sundays, you can feel the energy around the casino. Betting on football is a passion in Las Vegas. Since Nevada is the only state in the country where you can legally bet on sports, Sundays mornings are a bit different on the Strip.

Ten Tips on Making the Most Out of Football Sundays

1) Games Start at 10 am and 1pm. Remember, you are on the West Coast and that means the first pro football games start at 10am. Many an East Coaster has waken up late and missed the first game.

2) Stick with the Basics. If you are new to sports wagering, don’t worry about the five-team parlay, futures, money lines, or even the over/under. Stick with basics – bet the point spreads. A point spread bet is not a bet on whether a team will win, but rather that a team will cover the point differential. For example, a “Broncos minus seven” bet would only win if the Broncos won by more than seven points. If the Broncos won by six points, then the bet would lose. Conversely, on a “Steelers plus seven” bet, the Steelers don’t have to win, they just can’t lose by more than seven points.

3) Make Your Bets Early. If possible, make all your Sunday
bets the night before. It gets real busy in the Sports Book on Sunday mornings and you will end up standing in a long line. Possibly not getting your bet in on time.

4) Bet in $11 increments. If you win, you get your $11 back plus $10. Any increment other than $11 and you will end up with change and look like you don’t know what you are doing.

5) Create Drama. Spread your money over four or five games so you have a bunch of action and drama going on at once. It is fun to have money riding and trying to keep up with multiple games simultaneously.

6) Only Bet on Televised Games. Yes, even though there may be 150 televisions in a sportsbook, there are plenty of games that aren’t televised. If you bet on these games you’ll miss being able to see your gambling dollars at work.

7) Bet Against New York. If you’re looking to place a bet, there are usually good odds against New York teams. There are so many Giants and Jets fans that are going to bet, no matter what the odds are, that the odds against the them usually pretty good because the sportsbook is looking to cover their bets and not lose their shirts if the New York team wins.

8) Ask for Drink Vouchers. When you are placing a bet, be sure to ask for drink vouchers from the agent. Casinos are clamping down on giving out comp drinks to non-players, so if you order a drink in the sportsbook and don’t have a drink voucher, the cocktail server will charge you.

9) Get on the Cocktail Waitress’s Good Side. This is very important at a sportsbook. If you get on the cocktail server’s good side, she will bring you drinks fast and possibly give you a couple extra drink vouchers. So, tip big. Your generosity will usually be reciprocated!

10) Get a Good Seat. A good seat in a sportsbook is usually hard to find, expect that 75 percent of them will have a “Reserved for Race Players” sign, which means they are-off limits to you. Look for seats that have a view that won’t be blocked by pedestrian traffic. If you can’t find a seat in the sportsbook, there are usually some good views at the adjacent bar.

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