Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Our old pal Robert LaFleur of Hudson Securities is back with another entry in his weekly Vegas rate tracking effort and there are some interesting indications that the well-received Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas may be starting to cool off just a tad.
Every week, LaFleur marks down the asking rates for basic rooms on Wednesdays and Saturdays over the coming three months. This way, he can see from week to week and over the course of the three-month period who is raising and dropping rates and by how much.
Among his findings:
* Cosmo lowered its rates on nine of the 17 dates checked in April and May and raised them on one day, 5/14, by $10. Among those changes, the rates for 4/9 and 4/27 plummeted more than $100 a night. You can click on the chart above to enlarge it and look for yourself. It's fun.
* Cosmo had far too low expectations for its own rates prior to the opening. When March rooms went on sale in November 2010, the weekend average was $276. The same rooms if booked in March cost $432, a 56% surge.
* Bellagio remains firmly ahead of Aria on price. This past Saturday -- amid a busy Vegas weekend with the ACMs and the NCAA Final Four -- Aria nonetheless slashed rates $110 to $269 while Bellagio raised them $70 to $299. That means that the prior week, the MGM pricing braintrust thought people would pay $379 for Aria rooms but only $229 at Bellagio. Apparently, they were quite wrong. It's almost as if they were using some pricing psychology to shunt guests towards Bellagio, which MGM owns 100%, instead of Aria, which it only owns half. Hmm.
* Meanwhile, Cosmo asked $395 for rooms on Saturday night. That's almost $100 more than Bellagio and $126 more than Aria.
* Asking prices for sad, stranded Vdara were knocked down for 11 of the 17 dates checked in April and May. On some Wednesdays, Vdara rooms go for as little as $105.
LaFleur also provided some interesting discussion of the impact of resort fees. MGM Resorts now has them at all their properties, having added Bellagio in January. Why do they do this if it so annoys people? Well, MGM will include the resort fee revenues in its first quarter earnings and that should help the company realize more than 10% growth, LaFleur predicted. MGM brass themselves have said if they had included resort fees during the fourth quarter of 2010, they would have announced a 2% increase in revenue rather than the 2% drop. That's big money.
By the way, LaFleur provided this handy guide to Vegas Strip resort fees, with the caveat that different hotels "provide" different amenities for their fees: