Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas Will Relaunch Its Loyalty Program

2 months ago

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas is revamping its loyalty program in March, replacing its Grazie Rewards program.

The new loyalty program, Venetian Rewards, will let travelers earn points on gaming and spending on hotel stays, dining, entertainment, and spa services. Potential rewards will include room upgrades, free suite nights to share, free valet service, and priority access to resort amenities.

The move comes as rival MGM Resorts has inked a partnership with the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

The Venetian has just finished a $1 billion redevelopment and the opening of Sphere at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas.

Ideas

IDEAS: Las Vegas Encourages Excessive Celebration in Latest Super Bowl LVIII Campaign

3 months ago

With less than three months to go until the Super Bowl LVIII touches down in Las Vegas, the destination has launched a new campaign urging football fans to ‘celebrate excessively’ during its inaugural stint as host city.

Credit: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

As part of the campaign, which has been created by R&R Partners, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has launched an official petition on Change.org, proposing that ‘everyone in Las Vegas must be allowed to celebrate freely on February 11, 2024.’

You can view the petition here, which at the time of writing has 137 signatures.

As part of the campaign, an original track and music video has been released featuring Grammy-nominated artist Tobe Nwigwe and former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. You can view the video below: 

“Las Vegas is built for celebration,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) in a press release. 

“People come to Vegas because they know that the excitement surrounding the game is just as important as the game itself. Whether they travel to watch the game in person or at a viewing party, fans know they will be surrounded by energy that is simply unmatched anywhere else in the world. As we prepare to welcome the Super Bowl for the first time, we are determined to show the world that when it comes to celebration, Las Vegas is in a category of one.”

When overdoing the celebrations at sporting events is usually discouraged, it is interesting to see Las Vegas take ownership of its status as the ‘home of Excessive Celebration.’


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Tour Operators

London Bans Sphere Venue. MSG Looking to Build in New Location

3 months ago

Sphere Entertainment Company, sister company to Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation MSG, is looking for a new location for its second Sphere venue after its London-based plans were blocked by the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan. 

Khan rejected the Sphere project, similar to Las Vegas’ $2.3 billion Sphere, despite the development’s potential for significant foreign investment in the UK.

“While we are disappointed in London’s decision, there are many forward-thinking cities that are eager to bring this technology to their communities. We will concentrate on those,” a Sphere Entertainment spokesperson told Skift.

Planned for the edge of East London’s Olympic Park in Stratford, Khan turned down the venue due to concerns about light pollution, increased electricity usage, and a need for more sustainable green energy solutions. The project also posed potential risks to heritage sites in the Stratford area.  

MSG’s executive chairman and chief executive, James Dolan, said in an interview with The Standard that the company had no intention to appeal. Dolan called the move “political” after a five-year process with the London Legacy Development Corporation, thousands of hours of consultation with community forums, and 100 changes to the proposed venue’s plans.

Dolan expected to sell the site pegged for the £1.5 billion ($1.87 billion) MSG Sphere arena

He questioned why London “wouldn’t want the best show on earth?”, citing U2’s extended residency at the Sphere in Las Vegas. 

“Everybody comes out of that show saying it’s the best thing they have ever seen. You should talk to Bono. He is going to be disappointed it’s not in London. Bono sees the Sphere in Vegas as an art installation. He tells me all the time. I also think he might like one in Dublin.”

Travel Technology

Global Brands Gravitate to Sphere’s Exosphere for Las Vegas Grand Prix

4 months ago

This weekend, F1 fans can expect a visually enthralling experience, as custom real-time content tracks across the world’s largest LED screen of the Sphere, as part of the official broadcast for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Global brands off the mark with Sphere advertising campaigns during the major sporting event include GoogleAmerican ExpressAston MartonPuma, and Mercedes Benz.

In the lead-up to the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, a highlight of the 2023 Formula One World Championship, Race Week commenced on Wednesday with The Netflix Cup, marking the first live-cued content on the Exosphere, the 1.2 million LED lights on the exterior of the Sphere. This Saturday’s race will continue to see exclusive Sphere Studios content for the race.

Located along the race track, Sphere’s Exosphere will offer unique viewing angles, including an aerial perspective, ensuring an immersive experience for millions of F1 enthusiasts worldwide.

However, as a precautionary measure for drivers, race organizers have reportedly banned red, yellow, and blue from appearing across the Sphere’s exterior. These colors have been identified as distracting for drivers. It is not ideal for Google, whose logo features those exact colors, but the ban applies explicitly while the race is in action.

The integration of technology, sports, and marketing on such a grand scale is set to redefine the Grand Prix experience, according to Joel Fisher, Executive Vice President of Marquee Events and Operations for MSG Entertainment.

Beyond the color block across the 1.2 million LED lights on the exterior of the Sphere, all 20 drivers and their cars will be showcased, along with F1 helmets, creating a backdrop for fan photos. Fans can also look forward to seeing themselves featured on this gigantic screen, according to the organizers.

“This is the inaugural year for both Sphere and the Grand Prix in Las Vegas. We are ready to showcase Sphere to our global audience via F1 – both in person in Las Vegas and watching around the world – demonstrating the unparalleled technological and creative capabilities of the Exosphere,” said Fisher.

Hotels

MGM Resorts CEO Thinks Dubai or Abu Dhabi Might OK Gaming This Year

10 months ago

Executives at MGM Resorts International are hopeful that gaming may be approved by the United Arab Emirates, possibly as soon as this year.

The Las Vegas-based casino and hotel operator announced back in 2017 its plans for an MGM Resort in Dubai that wouldn’t have gaming but would instead have 1,000 rooms and 10 villas. Yet executives sounded more hopeful about running a casino in a Gulf State someday when talking with analysts during the company’s first-quarter earnings on Monday.

“As it relates to Dubai, that property continues to evolve,” said Bill Hornbuckle, president and CEO. “We’re the managers, but the owners want to upgrade the property, I think, with gaming in mind. But it’s up to Abu Dhabi and the national government to ultimately decide. … We’re hoping ‘any day.’ But I got to believe as the summer fulfills itself, we’ll hear more news on that.”

“We have had people on the ground there basically nonstop since the first of the year, trying to understand the opportunity in Abu Dhabi and then ultimately, if it will open up,” Hornbuckle said. “If they pass on it, [the opportunity] will open up to the other Emirates. Whether the rulers of each Emirate then take it upon themselves to approve it is up to them.”

“Obviously, we’re focused on Dubai, and we think it would be ideal,” Hornbuckle said. “There happens to be 150,000 to 200,000 square feet of space that could be converted into such a thing. But time to tell there, and we’re not saying no to Abu Dhabi either.”

MGM already has competition on the non-gaming front. Wynn is spending $3.9 billion in the region, as Bloomberg reported this week, noted Alan Woinski, editor of The Gaming Industry Daily Report and Skift’s Daily Lodging Report. The Wynn property is on an island and is said to have a “gaming area” though this doesn’t seem to have been approved yet.

Here are other key points about the operator of 32 hotels and casinos in the U.S. and Macau.

Expansion Continues

In April, the company received approval of its development plan in Osaka, Japan. MGM and its partners Orix hope to start building the nearly $10 billion integrated casino resort, with an opening now expected in 2030.

MGM’s application process in New York is “progressing,” the company said.

Hotel Boom:

In the first three months of the year, the overall MGM Resorts company generated $467 million of net income on revenue of $3.9 billion.

Its Las Vegas Strip resort hotels, in particular, generated $752 million in revenue. That was thanks to a mix of strong pricing — with rates 31 percent higher than a year earlier — and an average occupancy of 92 percent.

There’s further room to grow, executives said, if Chinese and other Asian travelers come back to Las Vegas in large numbers. In the first quarter of 2019, Asian Pacific customer made up about 45 percent of its business, while now they’re currently only about 25 percent.

“So if that comes back, from that perspective, it would be pretty meaningful,” said Corey Sanders, chief operating officer.



Online Travel

Caesars Now Sells Flights and Vacation Packages

1 year ago

Caesars Entertainment is adding an online travel agency business model, as it launches a new website that lets guests books flights as well as their accommodation.

The resort operator’s new “Caesars Rewards Travel Bundle” venture, as reported by Skift’s Daily Lodging Report, is powered by Snowstorm Technologies.

To coincide with the new Caesars website (caesars.com/flights-hotels) Snowstorm has launched new division called yourWurld. It describes it as a “turnkey packaging technology solution combined with global content and fulfillment services.”

Snowstorm now wants to target other hotel groups so it can build packaging solutions for them as well.

Caesars claims it is the first time a major domestic casino company in the U.S. has added this type of model. It’s being rolled out in Las Vegas first, before onboarding its 50 other properties in the U.S. later this year. Car rental, dining and entertainment (through Ticketmaster) will be added at a later date.

It will only sell accommodation for its own properties.

Guests can earn Caesars Rewards credits when booking packages, and redeem them at its gaming destinations or online. The company says it has 60 million Caesars Rewards members in the U.S.

Hotels

Blackstone’s Sale of The Cosmopolitan Hotel Notched Profit Record

2 years ago

Alternative asset manager Blackstone released its earnings on Thursday and revealed that its $5.7 billion sale of the Cosmopolitan hotel and casino in Las Vegas had produced about $4.1 billion in profit, the Wall Street Journal estimated

The financial firm said in filings that the Cosmopolitan sale was its most profitable single real estate asset sale ever. But it didn’t precisely disclose the profit. The WSJ deduced the amount by analyzing the company’s profit-and-loss sheets for the second quarter. Blackstone as a whole reported a net loss for the quarter.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has some context on the Cosmopolitan deal and the long-term Blackstone’s effects on workers, the resort, and Las Vegas.