JoAnna Haugen
JoAnna Haugen

InsightPlayers cards and rewards have provided Las Vegas visitors with incentives for gaming, dining and entertainment for many years, but a recent increase in partnerships with global hospitality brands has made visiting certain Las Vegas resorts more appealing.

In the last year, partnerships between Caesars Entertainment and Starwood Hotels; sbe (the hotel management company for SLS Las Vegas, opening over Labor Day) and Preferred Hotel Group; MGM Resorts International and Hyatt; and The Cosmopolitan and Virgin America and Marriott International have created two-way rewards benefits for members of their incentive programs.

For example, tier and reward credits earned in Caesars Entertainment’s Total Rewards program can be redeemed for stays at Starwood properties around the world, while Starpoints, earned through Starwood’s rewards program, can be redeemed for stays at participating Caesars hotels in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Lake Tahoe.

“We found that in Las Vegas, people are easy to reach but hard to engage with so we try to find meaningful ways to connect in an organic environment,” said Angela Wise, vice president of marketing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. “We chose to go with these particular partnerships because the focus is to create broader distribution and acquisition opportunities with likeminded brands.”JoAnnaHaugen

According to travel agents that frequently book Las Vegas trips, these partnerships don’t necessarily persuade someone to choose one Las Vegas resort over another, but they serve as an added bonus.

“We happen to sell quite a bit of the Caesars Entertainment chain so the fact that Starwood has partnered with them… is just an added benefit or perk to their stay,” said Jeff Krudop, a travel agent with Travel Leaders in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “Same with Marriott Rewards and The Cosmopolitan. The rewards program is not the drawing factor in the selection of the property. It is usually the great rate, the location or the package deal that helped to secure the property selection.”

Additionally, partnerships such as the collaboration between The Cosmopolitan and United Airlines help the property stand out, a challenge in a city where there are so many big, new and spectacular properties. In the case of The Cosmopolitan and United partnership, rather than an exchange of rewards points, flyers from ten United hubs heading to McCarran International Airport will receive a gift box with special offers at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas tips and sugar-free mints. The offers in this package change every three months.

Wise said the gift box enables The Cosmopolitan to engage with guests for one to three minutes, longer than that person would typically spend with traditional media, as well as curate conversations around what is being presented.

“In Las Vegas more and more people are looking for non-traditional marketing channels that are less crowded and provide higher engagement,” she said.

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