Following on from my previous post about the seemingly imminent demise of free parking, MGM Resorts International, who seem to be really going for it in terms of squeezing free stuff for visitors, said this week that they will outsource the parking operations at its Strip properties to SP+, a Chicago-based company that operates more than 3,900 parking facilities in North America. As part of the transition, the company’s valet parking personnel will become employees of SP+.
The changes are part of MGM Resorts’ plans to charge for parking at its nine Strip casinos starting in April 2016, a move that has been met with anger by Las Vegas residents because it ends a long-standing Las Vegas tradition of free parking on the Strip. In a statement in response, the company said the changes are part of a $90 million strategy to improve both parking and the overall resort experience. The company added that a “modest parking fee program” will be implemented for valet and self-parking at its Strip resorts.
All this makes me sound like a fraud. I’ve repeatedly lauded Vegas for its generous free parking only for MGM to spoil the party and shoot itself in the foot. I so hope that Caesars and other operators won’t follow suit but that seems like a pipe dream now. When they see MGM raking in tens of thousands of Dollars a day they are certain to join in. Quite how having to pay to park improves your experience is not easy to see.
As for the appointment of ‘parking experts’ we’ve all seen how that works here in the UK. They never miss a trick to slap a ticket on your car and you can bet they’ll quickly be doing the same in Vegas with ruthless efficiency. Once again, will the punters vote with their feet? You can bet visitors won’t as they’ll have no idea about this until they arrive. It might cause locals to change their destination of choice but chances are they’ve already weighed up the pros and cons in choosing where they wish to game and a $10 charge may not make a material difference. Only time will tell. Makes it rather pointless though earning comps which are more than cancelled out by what it costs to park the car. Oh, wait a minute, MGM are reducing them as well aren’t they.