Richard Branson is never one to shy away from being a disruptor. Back in the day, his Virgin Megastores were where you went if you wanted to find that rare import CD you heard about or to find the hot new release when all of the other stores were out of stock. Some of his ideas work, some of them don’t. I personally love what he’s tried to do with airlines and you have to admit that he’s forced the others in the field to adapt to compete. Virgin Atlantic has made British Airways a better airline and the same with Virgin Australia nudging Qantas. Of course, there’s Virgin America, which the other airlines decided was cheaper to buy it outright instead of having to compete with them on service and product.
We’ve still yet to see what Sir Richard has in mind about how to shake up the cruise industry when the Scarlet Lady starts cruising from Miami, hopefully sometime in 2021. I’m sure that the major hotel brands looked at what he had up his sleeve when he announced Virgin Hotels.
Currently, Virgin Hotels operates three other properties, in Nashville, Chicago and Dallas. While operating in major cities, the Virgin Hotel brand takes a different approach from the other major hotel brands. They take a “No Nickel and Diming” approach to their properties.
That means that when the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas opens, it will not charge a hotel fee, not charge for Wi-Fi, and will offer free parking.
While I know this is sacrilege to the ears of MGM and Caesars just a few blocks away on the strip, I’m sure that the website that wants to “Kill Resort Fees” will be thrilled at this development. It turns out that a major hotel brand has also taken notice. Hilton Hotels has included Virgin Hotels Las Vegas as a Curio Collection property. That means Hilton Honors members can earn/redeem points for stays at this hotel. If you were looking into a free hotel stay in Vegas using points, this is now one of your best options.
Will this work? Will people visit the Virgin Hotel Casino because it looks cool and if parking is free? Will people be willing to pay a few more dollars of a base rate to get a better room in a hotel that includes free parking and Wi-Fi? Only time will tell, but the back half of a pandemic seems to be as good a time as any for a hotel to try to flip the script on the Vegas norms.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary