New Parking Fees at Hotels: When Mandatory Resort Fees are Not Enough
A press release from MGM Resorts International announced the launch of a $90 million “major parking strategy and investment to address long-term growth” for visitors to Las Vegas which will “expand and enhance parking infrastructure, take advantage of new technologies that will significantly improve the parking experience, and meet changing consumer tastes and demands” — but it also includes the implementation of a parking fee program which will “introduce a modest fee for customers utilizing valet services or self-park facilities.”
That “modest fee” is expected to be ten dollars or less for overnight guests who park their own vehicles when the parking fee program launches sometime during the second quarter of 2016.
Guests who are based in Las Vegas will be given a grace period for free parking after the parking fee program starts; and they can maintain their free-parking status by enrolling and earning privileges through the M life customer loyalty program. Guests who are not residents of Las Vegas can also earn free parking status through the M life customer loyalty program…
…and if you are already a member of the Hyatt Gold Passport frequent guest loyalty program, you could benefit from not having to pay to park a vehicle in the new parking facility, thanks to the reciprocal relationship between Hyatt Hotels Corporation and MGM Resorts International which was effective as of Thursday, June 20, 2013.
Expected Parking Improvements
A structure with 3,000 parking spaces — at a cost of $54 million — is scheduled to begin construction sometime during the second quarter of 2016 near the northwest corner of the Excalibur Hotel campus; and will “serve to absorb further visitor growth and enhance the experience of attendees of events at nearby resorts and entertainment venues.” Completion of the construction of this parking facility is expected sometime during the second quarter of 2017; and it is designed to serve the newest venues in Las Vegas — such as the T-Mobile Arena, The Park, and the Theater at Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino – and provide additional parking for employees.
Additionally, an additional $36 million will be invested to improve parking facilities at the resorts of MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas to “implement guidance technologies and other guest enhancements.” Guests using self-park facilities will be able to check real-time availability from a portable electronic device; and quickly find a space by following dynamic signs and guidance comprised of light emitting diodes.
The planned improvements include:
- Redesigned parking facility layouts to improve accessibility
- Parking guidance systems that will guide guests to available spaces
- Mobile technology allowing visitors to check space availability prior to arrival
- Upgraded lighting, signage comprising of light emitting diodes, paint and striping
- Elevator and escalator upgrades and enhancements
When I visited Las Vegas in September of 2014 and stayed at both Mandalay Bay Las Vegas and the Monte Carlo Las Vegas Resort and Casino — both of which are part of the MGM Resorts International portfolio of hotel properties — mandatory resort fees were not included in the initial room rate at either hotel property.
As I reported on Thursday, July 30, 2015, mandatory resort fees can add up to 50 percent more to your room rate with useless amenities — such as unlimited telephone calls and a daily newspaper; as well as amenities already included for those guests who have earned elite level status but are being charged anyway — and according to this list of hotel and resort properties which I have been compiling in order to fight mandatory resort fees, Las Vegas has at this point in time a significant representation of hotel properties which blatantly engage in this questionable practice.
Would you patronize businesses which engage in a similar practice — and then want to charge you parking fees on top of that? I personally would not, as I do not like resort fees — although I have considered the “if you cannot beat them, join them” bandwagon.
Justification of Parking Fees
“Fee parking is a standard practice for hotels, resorts and entertainment facilities across the country,” noted Corey Sanders — who is the chief operating officer of MGM Resorts International — “especially those in comparable high-demand tourist and convention destinations, such as New York, Los Angeles and Orlando.”
Further justification of the implementation of parking fees is as follows:
Parking fees will be moderate when compared to similar fees in other markets. An overnight guest utilizing a self-park facility will pay $10 or less. Las Vegas locals will be given a grace period for free parking after the program starts and can maintain their free-parking status by enrolling and earning privileges through M life, the Company’s customer loyalty program. Non-resident guests can also earn free-parking status through the M life program.
I know I am not a part of their target market, as I do not have fun gambling. I do not drink alcoholic beverages. I am not fond of constant noise which can be loud at times. I typically do not like the ostentatious glitz of a city with crowded sidewalks.
As I did not have a car in Las Vegas, I walked from the international airport which serves the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area to the hotel at which I was staying to avoid possibly being scammed by taxi cab drivers. Perhaps members of the city government of Las Vegas should consider addressing that and other issues to help improve Las Vegas for its visitors.
Las Vegas may be more than a city of gambling these days as it keeps trying to position itself as an upscale destination; but charging visitors and guests fees seems counterproductive when they are encouraged to gamble their money away. Are the casinos not profiting as much from gambling revenue as they used to do years ago where they now are resorting to charging parking fees? What is next — electronic tolls along Las Vegas Boulevard?!?
As it is, it would not break my heart to never step foot in Las Vegas ever again — especially as visiting there seems to keep getting more and more expensive; and I get little in return, in my opinion…
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.