Vegas Nuggets: Hotels, operators brokering travel incentives

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aesars Entertainment's new "Best Rate Plus Guarantee" program offers incentives for booking rooms at the company's 18 casino resorts nationwide -- including five in Las Vegas -- via the company's Web sites.

Agents who reserve a hotel room via www.caesars.com or through related company Web sites are guaranteed they will receive the lowest rate available anywhere on the Internet.

If a lower rate is found on the Web for the same type of room, Caesars will match the online price and then discount that rate by an additional 25%.

Caesars Entertainment's Las Vegas properties are Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Bally's Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Hilton.

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Speaking of Caesars, Elton John is now part of the landscape at Caesars Palace -- or at least the foundation of its new, 949-room hotel tower.

After opening the first shows in his "Red Piano" series at the Colosseum, John toured the tower construction site. He autographed a special yellow brick, which symbolizes his hit song "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." The brick will be added to the support structure of the building. The tower will be completed next year.

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The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino entered into an alliance with Detroit's Greektown Casino, owned by the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians and a group of Detroit investors, to develop a casino marketing program targeting Greektown players who want to travel to Las Vegas as an alternative gaming destination.

In other news, the Rio appointed Michael Massari as vice president of hotel operations.

Massari, who was involved in developing, implementing and expanding operations for the property's 100,00-square-foot Pavilion Convention Center, had served for more than three years as the executive director of the Pavilion's sales and operations.

In his new position, Massari will oversee hotel operations for the Rio's 2,500 suites as well as all services. Replacing Massari as executive director of Pavilion sales and operations is Reina Herschdorfer, who has been director of Pavilion sales and operations for the past four years. In her new role, Herschdorfer will help oversee the convention center's $1 million, 60,000-square-foot expansion.

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Miami Beach-based Invicta Group opened an office in Las Vegas for an inbound tour operation, Las Vegas Excitement, that will offer Las Vegas rooms, car and limousine rentals, air transportation, show tickets and sightseeing tours.

The new subsidiary will feature discounted packages that include air, airport transfers and accommodations for online customers as well as for travel agents who do business through Invicta's other subsidiary, Airplan.

Airplan offers discounted air tickets through www.airplan.com and will pay 10% commission on the new Las Vegas Excitement packages. For reservations, call (800) 861-9492 or visit www.lasvegasexcitement.com.

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Travelers now have the option of adding Blue Man Group tickets, priced at $95 each, to their United Vacations packages to Las Vegas.

"Blue Man Group -- Live at Luxor" is performed Mondays through Sundays; show times vary by day. Meanwhile, United Vacations also added the Four Seasons Las Vegas and the Westin Casuarina Hotel to its lineup of accommodations.

For more information, agents can call (800) 328-6877. United Vacations programs can be booked through VAX VacationAccess or via all four GDSs using vendor code UAV.

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A new package offered by the Imperial Palace features a ticket to "Legends in Concert," the property's 20-year-old celebrity tribute, and dinner at one of two restaurants on the hotel's Fifth Floor Dining Plaza.

Priced at $54.95 per person, the plan includes a meal at the Sea House (for those with tickets to Monday shows) or the Rib House (tickets to shows on Tuesdays through Saturdays).

The package is valid for both the 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. shows. Tickets can be obtained only through the hotel's show reservations desk. For more information, call (800) 634-6441 or visit www.imperialpalace.com.

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Memphis Championship Barbecue will open a fourth location early next month at 1401 N. Rainbow Blvd. The new location, offering almost 8,400 square feet of space, will be the largest in Las Vegas, seating as many as 240 guests.

The restaurant will feature a bar area, a separate special-events room that can accommodate up to 80 people and three family dining rooms that can seat up to 12 people each.

Memphis Championship Barbecue's three other locations are Green Valley, North Las Vegas and inside the Santa Fe Station Hotel and Casino.

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Cuban-American fashion designer Eddie Rodriguez opened a store by the same name in the Fashion Show mall. The retail outlet, located on the Strip, features men and women's clothing, shoes, accessories and home furnishings.

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Le Cirque at the Bellagio received its first AAA Five Diamond Award. The restaurant joins two other Las Vegas restaurants, Picasso (also at the Bellagio) and Renoir at the Mirage, which were recognized, each for the third time. The property is the only resort in the U.S. to house two Five Diamond restaurants.

In addition, the Bellagio -- which two years ago was the first and only Las Vegas hotel and casino to be given the AAA Five Diamond Award -- received the award for the third straight year.

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Clients now can book a stay at the Palms Casino Resort as part of a Worry-Free Vacations or Northwest Airlines WorldVacations package.

For more information, visit www.worryfreevacationsagent.com or www.nwaworldvacationsagent.com.

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After spending a year performing on the Strip at the Flamingo, comedian-magician Amazing Johnathan has returned to the Golden Nugget downtown, where he performs in the Theatre Ballroom at 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.

Tickets cost $55, excluding taxes, and can be purchased by calling the Golden Nugget box office at (702) 386-8100 or (866) 946-5336 or by visiting the resort's Web site at www.goldennugget.com. Those under age 18 will not be admitted without a parent or legal guardian.

To contact reporter Amy Baratta, send e-mail to [email protected] .

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