Digital Booking Sites

Las Vegas tourist board debuts hotel booking and packages, but no reviews

@denschaal

Jan 07, 2013 10:37 am

Skift Take

In order to do something so brash it has to stay in Vegas, you have to have a place to stay in Vegas, and LasVegas.com’s new hotel-booking capabilities will help some travelers in that quest. The lack of user reviews, though, is one of the relaunched site’s drawbacks.

— Dennis Schaal

Free Report: The State of Student Travel

LasVegas.com

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority's relaunched site gets into the hotel-booking business. LasVegas.com


Expedia likely won’t lose any sleep over this, but the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority now offers hotel and vacation-package bookings on its website, LasVegas.com.

In case you are confused about this major U.S. travel destination, LasVegas.com is run by the LVCVA, which also operates the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center.

There is a similarly sounding website, Vegas.com, owned by the Greenspun family, which also owns the Las Vegas Sun, and claims about 2.5 million monthly unique visitors to its sites.

Both LasVegas.com and Vegas.com make claims of officialdom, with LasVegas.com proclaiming it is “the only official website for the destination,” while Vegas.com’s tagline is: “The Official Vegas Travel Site.”

With its new capabilities, LasVegas.com offers the ability to book hotels, air and hotel packages, and dining reservations through OpenTable, a spokesperson says. It was previously purely an informational site.

One glaring omission on LasVegas.com, for now at least, is the lack of user reviews while Vegas.com offers reviews from “verified purchasers.”

The website launch coincides with the debut of a new ad campaign for the destination.

LasVegas.com’s new booking capabilities fit into a trend with some destination management organizations around the world doing likewise, and adding booking features.

It can be a controversial endeavor, however, because the the LVCVA and other tourism boards are now competing against some of their partners.

One expert, Joe Buhler of BuhlerWorks, endorses the concept, saying:

 My philosophy for a DMO has always been that it should never turn away a potential visitor at any touch point and complete a transaction for a service to make the process from research to booking seamless. Not only is this a necessary customer service in today’s market but also a service to local service providers. I have no idea why this seems to be, in this day and age, still a controversy in some destinations and looked on as a public intervention in the private sector. Baloney, I say!

A spokeswoman for the LVCVA says it merely views LasVegas.com’s new hotel-booking capabilities as giving travelers additional choices in their trip-planning efforts.

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