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What Las Vegas’s worst hotels can teach British hoteliers

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Of all the places in the world that attract tourists, Las Vegas has a profile and appeal all of its own. The words alone conjure up the neon-filled playground that sees millions of people flock there every year – in 2019, the official figures showed that a total of 42,523,700 visited the city. Most go for the gambling and shows, and it’s also a big name on the industry conventions circuit.

But one thing that everyone who heads for Vegas expects is a sublime visitor experience from the hundreds of hotels within the city. Sadly, it seems like many people go home disappointed.

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Before going into the causes, it’s also well worth mentioning something that every hotelier has come to know in recent years – review sites like Tripadvisor give visitors free rein to provide often one-sided reviews of the places they stay. Hotels do have the right to respond but mud tends to stick. So, while much of the information here has been taken from a list of some of the worst offenders, it’s worth pointing out that the hotels themselves might say different.

Nevertheless, these sorts of complaints from guests will be familiar to UK hoteliers and they also give a good indication of the sorts of areas that need to be given close consideration if similar comments are to be avoided.

Cleanliness

One of the first things any guest looks for when they’re shown to their room is not just how clean it looks, but also how clean it feels. Unfortunately, countless Vegas hotels fall at this first fence. Examples include The Plaza, a downtown hotel some way from the famous Strip, whose rooms have been described as having a “dark and dingy” feel with bins left unemptied and old, grey bedlinen which, presumably, was once white.

It’s also the common areas that need to be cared for – in the case of a hotel called The Tropicana guests have complained about dirty carpets held down with duct tape and wallpaper that’s peeling off the walls. So having a regular maintenance programme is essential for any hotel wanting to avoid these kinds of criticisms.

Noise

It may not be such a surprise that a 24/7 party city like Las Vegas may not be the quietest or most tranquil place on Earth to enjoy a break. But guests do still have the right to expect that their rooms, at least, will give them some respite from the noise that’s going on around them. So you can have some sympathy with people staying at places like The City Center Hotel where the next door nightclub carries on pumping out the noisy beats until 5am each morning.

Meanwhile, at the more upmarket Luxor, there have been plenty of complaints that other guests returning to their rooms in the small hours make so much noise that it makes for a broken night’s sleep. This comes from a combination of poor layout and thin doors. So, while there’s not much anyone can do about the former, greater soundproofing of rooms should really be a priority.

Speed and quality of service

Strangely, poor service comes relatively low among the most common complaints by guests but it can make a real difference to the sorts of reviews that a hotel receives. In the case of Vegas, even some of the biggest, most famous names have received complaints of this kind. For example, the quintessential destination hotel of Caesars Palace has been criticized for the sheer length of time it can take of get room service. However, one also has to take into account the fact that it is a hotel with almost 4,000 rooms covering hundreds of thousands of square feet. So waiting a few minutes for your coffee and club sandwich is only to be expected.

Less excusable are places like The Flamingo and The Luxor where check-in delays of up to 40 minutes have been reported.

So the moral is, make sure that guests’ first experience of a hotel is a good one and, when there are going to be unavoidable delays, always try to manage expectations.

Facilities

There are certain facilities that may once have been seen as being non-essential, but today their importance has increased. An obvious one is internet and wi-fi access and most guests would normally also expect efficient heating and air conditioning for their rooms – especially when temperatures in Nevada hit 35o even on the cooler days of the summer.

So it seems quite inconceivable that at both the Luxor and the Seigel Suites the best that they can offer guests is a fan in the room and no AC.

And, while even the lowliest motel generally now offers free wi-fi access – even if some more upmarket ones don’t – The Flamingo continues to charge for the privilege of going online.

This means that, for the sake of a few dollars, both hotels have earned themselves some scathing online criticism that could easily have been avoided.

So, hopefully, this has provided a few tips about how to keep your own star ratings high, even if you can’t quite offer all the glamour and glitz of Vegas too.

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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