The slot machines are turned off, the casinos are boarded and barricaded. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, instead of hosting a crowd of visitors for one of the busiest seasons of the year, Las Vegas is trying to survive. (April 26)
When will travelers be able to slip $ 20 tickets into a slot machine, feast in a famous restaurant or watch a show in Las Vegas?
MGM Resorts, operator of a dozen properties in the gaming and entertainment capital, cannot answer this question as the decision rests with the state and local authorities who must determine when to lift restrictions on the coronavirus.
But during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call on Thursday, executives provided the first glimpse of what visitors can expect from the chain when Las Vegas reopens.
MGM will not open all of its hotels at the same time, but rather start with two or three targeting different traveler’s budgets, said acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle.
On the list right now: New York-New York Hotel & Casino, a mid-priced hotel at the south end of the Strip with a roller coaster, an arcade and an Irish pub, and Bellagio, a chic Mid-Strip resort which houses the famous fountain show, upscale shops and restaurants, a veranda and a museum.
“Then, from there, we discuss other properties that should open, if any, at this time,” he said. “We will slow down. We will be responsive and responsible. “
MGM also does not plan to open all of the restaurants in each hotel. Some will be open and there will also be takeout and drinks, he said.
Will there be shows or sporting events?
Hornbuckle said big concerts, sporting events and professional fights are probably out of the question in the short term.
“I think the idea that we’re going to have 15,000 people at T-Mobile (Arena) for a concert any time this year is probably a stretch,” he said.
As for the Raiders’ football games at the new Allegiant stadium, in what Hornbuckle calls MGM’s backyard, the first NFL games this year could be fanless.
“If we are lucky enough to see real fans, it will not be (the stadium capacity) of 65,000 people,” he said.
MGM plans to start small on the performance front, first reopening more “intimate” shows. Hornbuckle cited the Carrot Top show at the Luxor Hotel & Casino against, say, a large-scale production by Cirque du Soleil.
Hotel check-in and room cleaning will be different
MGM, like its competitors and most consumer companies hoping to bounce back from the pandemic, is making plans to make sure customers feel safe when they visit.
“Obtaining these properties and operating and doing so in a safe manner for our employees and customers is a priority,” said Hornbuckle.
At check-in and elsewhere in the hotel, guests will find new “contactless” technology.
There will be stricter cleaning and sanitation policies, especially in the bedrooms.
“The protocol for cleaning a room in this environment is going to be intensive,” said Hornbuckle.
He said it is likely that some travelers will refuse daily room cleaning during their stay, at least initially.
“If I’m a guest at Bellagio, I want to know that my room is empty when I get back,” he said. “And during my stay, unless I want to and need clean towels, I’m probably not going to leave a room attendant or other service staff in my room. “
Social distancing at the casino
In the casino, visitors will find more space between the slot machines and the gaming tables. MGM is installing a new carpet in its MGM and Aria Park casino hotels, Hornbuckle said, and is using that time to keep things short.
“So the environment will feel a little different when people arrive from day 1,” he said.
Anyone want to come back so soon?
MGM officials said they were optimistic about the number of people willing to return to Las Vegas as soon as it opened.
One of the main reasons: about half of the visitors travel to Las Vegas rather than flying, and the peak summer vacation season is looming.
“We think there will be some pent-up demand,” said Hornbuckle.
What the chain doesn’t want, however, is a repeat of what happened in California when the beaches reopened last weekend, so the governor closed it again in response to a large crowd.
Among the first people expected: players who receive generous offers to stay in hotels. Reservations are solid for the end of the year and next year, the company said.
MGM officials said frequent players at high-end stations like Bellagio were particularly eager to return.
“They were the last to leave when we closed (in mid-March),” said Corey Sanders, CFO of MGM. “I have a feeling that some of them will be back the day they open (the hotels). So it’s positive. “
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