Flying in the face of the comping culture for which Las Vegas was once famed, MGM Resorts International is to start charging its customers to use its car parks park on The Strip as part of a $90m strategy to ‘expand and enhance’ its parking infrastructure.
‘Moderate’ fees to park will be introduced between April and June. MGM also announced it would spend $54m on a 3,000-space car park close to Excalibur to accommodate cars for non-gaming facilities such as the 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena, The Park retail and restaurant complex, and the new 5,000-seat Theater at Monte Carlo.
MGM Resorts Chief Operating Officer Corey Sanders said: “We don’t take this change lightly. We recognise this is a significant departure from a long-established paradigm in the Las Vegas market. However, after months of analysis, we believe these enhancements and new technology solutions will become welcome additions to our overall guest experience.”
The new parking fees are part of MGM’s profit growth initiative which aims to improve cash flow by $300m a year by 2017. The operator will spend $36m on improving parking lots on the Strip with improved lighting and signage, layout redesigns, new systems to guide guests to available spaces, mobile technology to check space availability and better elevator and escalator service.
“The parking process is our customers’ first and last touch-point with us. Our guests expect and deserve an enhancement to this aspect of our resort experience,” said Corey Sanders, MGM Resorts International Chief Operating Officer. “We’ve taken into account our customer feedback and carefully planned these improvements to address some of their most common concerns – challenging navigation and difficulty finding available spaces. We acknowledge that this aspect of our resort experience can be improved, and we’re taking an aggressive approach.”
Improvements will support increasing visitor volume and provide for the changing needs and desires of Las Vegas visitors. Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority statistics show that average daily auto traffic increased in 2015 by more than six per cent over the prior year.
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.
Mr. Sanders also noted that fee parking is a standard practice for hotels, resorts and entertainment facilities across the country, especially those in comparable high-demand tourist and convention destinations, such as New York, Los Angeles and Orlando.
The parking fee program will be implemented in the second quarter of 2016.