Las Vegas hotel rooms always improving

Jul 31, 2018 3:00 AM

The recent flurry of hotel room re-modeling initiatives in Las Vegas certainly is nothing new, but it does indicate local resort operators understand that keeping their room inventory up to date is a key element of financial success. A cogent argument could be made that our local casino companies are hotel operators before they are anything else, even before gambling or entertainment establishments.

In the past few years, nearly every major Southern Nevada casino/resort has completed a major room-upgrading project or has announced plans to start one. Various estimates say there are roughly 150,000 hotel rooms in greater Las Vegas. Keeping them in tip-top shape and updated is of paramount importance. I’m told such remodels are required every eight to 10 years, if not sooner.

A recently released J.D. Power study reveals hotels are improving their guest experience. The survey indicates that on a 1,000-point scale, overall satisfaction with the hotel industry increased eight points in the past year to 825.

The “2018 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study” analyzes guest responses to more than 150 questions regarding their overall experiences and includes 70 officially ranked brands in eight market segments. This year’s study is based on responses from approximately 55,000 hotel guests who stayed at a hotel between May 2017 and May 2018. The study was conducted between June 2017 and May 2018.

Jennifer Corwin, a J.D. Power global travel and hospitality executive says, “Hotels in all price ranges have excelled at ensuring their customers have a top-notch experience.”

She continues, “Years of capital investments (its got to be in the hundreds of million in Southern Nevada) in offerings such as higher-end televisions and in-room tablets have left their mark.”

Years ago there was a school of thought that most hotel operators did not want their rooms to be too opulent. It was believed if they were guests might not venture out to the casino floor as often, deciding to relax in the room rather than partaking of gambling, restaurant or entertainment options a Las Vegas casino/resort might offer. Television channels offered were, generally, the bare minimum.

This kind of thinking can’t be prevalent any longer because local hotel rooms are generally better than ever before. Spurring the re-imaging of Las Vegas hotel rooms has to be the flat-screen television. Most of us can remember when the older-style television dominated a hotel room, taking up precious space that can now be devoted to more room for a couch or chair and additional furniture. The flat-screen TV just hangs on the wall like a painting, out of the way until you choose to turn it on. Flat screens also allow an operator to have multiple sets in larger rooms, an amenity many guests enjoy. If I’m staying in such a room, I can watch ESPN while my wife can watch Bravo and that network’s “Real Housewives” shows (a visual and audio abomination, to me).

Another major improvement is connectivity technology that includes all manner of electrical outlets to charge your cell phone and other devices. The newer rooms even have televisions that can stream video from your phone or tablet. Wi-Fi has become a must for every room in today’s world and hotels have, again, responded to the needs of its customers. I won’t be surprised, at some point, to see those virtual assistant devices in every Las Vegas hotel room.

Not to be overlooked is bathroom technology that provides more streamlined sinks and commodes that allow extra room for baths and showers. Newer rooms also stress water conservation with low-flow valves that help keep costs down and water waste to a minimum.

Another new wrinkle is the wooden floor. At a recent stay near San Diego, I couldn’t tell if the floor was real wood or some man-made creation. In any case, it was highly preferable to most carpeting I’ve experienced and I expect to see more and more of this innovation over the coming years. It has to be easier to keep clean and won’t stain like carpeting. The housekeepers and hotel management must relish wood or faux-wood floors over carpeting. I know I do.

Although room costs and associated resort fees have gone up and up in recent years, guests are usually getting more for their money. And, that certainly makes the extra cost more palatable. It certainly does for me.

Las Vegas is number one for lots of different reasons and our luxurious hotel rooms is definitely one of them.