Because “To Serve You Better” Actually Works In Your Favor.
Now that MGM Resorts has instituted a complex pricing structure to park at their Strip properties, it was only a matter of time before other resorts followed suit (let’s call it “resort fee deja vu”). But while the MGM policy basically sticks it to everyone (excluding certain MLife tier levels), Westgate Las Vegas has put into motion a parking fee policy to protect their guests.
That statement might initially sound like the infamous public-relations nonsense issued by Caesars Entertainment Corporation when they instituted resort fees “because the public demanded them.” Not so at Westgate, where the intent is clearly to ensure that their lots aren’t being jammed by drivers who are actually heading elsewhere.
You see, Westgate Las Vegas is in the sticky position of being both 1) adjacent to a convention center that charges hefty parking fees, and 2) located on a monorail line that takes riders all the way to MGM Grand and its sister properties…ones that now charge parking fees.
When I met with reps from the Westgate marketing team a few months back, the subject of parking policies came up. Rumors had been swirling about MGM’s plans, and Westgate was already considering their options to address the ramifications.
Fast forward to last week, and both our photographer Greg C. and I separately discovered that the multi-story garages and open-air lots have been secured. Automated ticketing kiosks have been installed, and a ten-dollar daily fee is now in effect. But….this is important….the fee is reimbursed for hotel guests, restaurant diners, attendees to Westgate shows, and those who visit the casino and sports book.
The “To Serve You Better” double-talk that’s usually issued in these situations is actually genuine here. Westgate patrons won’t have to be concerned that conventioneers and monorail riders are using up the available parking spaces.
Signs are liberally posted throughout Westgate to show where to get your ticket validated. Naturally, you’ll need to present your dining/show ticket/betting receipt/player’s card as proof of your patronage. Then you simply insert that validated ticket into the automated exit gate at the lots and garages. Hotel guests have it even simpler, as their room key operates the exit gates as well.
In addition, Westgate charges $20 to utilize their valet service during events and conventions, especially those at the adjacent Las Vegas Convention Center. But once again, this fee is reimbursed for hotel guests.
While walking the property to photograph the lots, gates and kiosks, I noticed several circumstances where cars approached the gates, read the new policy signage, then backed out and left. This is only conjecture, but I have to assume that these persons weren’t actually Westgate customers, meaning the intent of the fees is working.
If this program turns out to be successful, we can reasonably expect other resorts in similar situations (think Tropicana, Cosmopolitan, and Treasure Island) to try their hand at customer-friendly parking programs. And once again, this could work in their favor to take on the money-grubbing big chains.
The policies and practices in Las Vegas are ever-evolving…and they’re rarely designed to truly improve the Vegas visitor’s experience. So, while MGM (and copycat properties down the road) are using parking fees as a cash grab, more guest-friendly resorts will be protecting their own.
It’s nice to find positive changes when they’re out there, and we’ll continue to keep you updated on both.