The Virgin Hotel Las Vegas is set to open on March 25th and there are many things the property is doing that are against the grain for Las Vegas and even for hotels in general. I already wrote about how the hotel isn’t going to charge a resort fee or anything for parking. In the comments to that post, many people felt that the Virgin Hotel would make up the lost revenue by charging $12 for a bottle of Evian. That’s not unreasonable since other websites highlighted the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas policy prohibiting outside food or drinks in guest rooms.
Fortunately for guests of the hotel, this will not be the case. Virgin Hotels have a “no nickel & dime policy.” This is the thinking behind not charging resort fees or parking but also means that they sell items from the minibar at street prices.
The Virgin Hotels CEO is against hidden fees and ripping off customers and feels that his brand is the solution to a problem that had been getting worse.
The nickel-and-diming has been happening for a long time, and it’s ripping off the consumer. The industry inevitably has to change somewhat. It’s a good thing.
Of course, you may be cynical and say this means they’ll charge what you’ll pay at an airport instead of what you’ll pay for a soda or candy at the local drugstore. If the prices that Virgin Hotels charges at its other locations are any indication, it may be cheaper to buy those snacks in the room than trying to smuggle contraband.
Here are some of the prices for items from the Virgin Hotel Chicago minibar:
- Kettle Chips – $1.50
- Snickers/Kit-Kat/M&M’s – $1.00
- Clif Bar/Kind Bar – $2.25
- Coke/Diet Coke – $1.00
- Red Bull/Voss/San Pellegrino – $2.00
- Coconut Water – $2.75
Those prices are lower than the vending machines in most hotels in the US. Virgin’s approach to the minibar can be found in an interview from 2015 with the brand’s head of sales and marketing.
“Minibars have never been a profit center although technology has made it better,” Carrillo said. “The minibar experience is a great amenity that guests really appreciate but it has been a pain point for guests with its traditional high pricing.”
Carrillo said the hotel is charging items as close to street pricing as it can. “It’s not a money-maker for us. We are happy to break even but we’re having happy customers so it’s worth it for us,” he said. “We take away the charges and we get more returning customers.”
Because of Virgin’s pricing methodology, more guests buy more from the minibar. “The most important thing to us is that we’re not upsetting customers,” Carrillo said. “We focus on the profit from room sales, and food and beverage.”
In short, people will buy more things from the minibar if you don’t gouge them on the price and Virgin is going to charge more for the room and less for the minibar.
In a town full of hotels willing to charge $20 a night for a room but then add a $40 resort fee, $20 for parking, and $10 for a bottle of water, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas may charge more for the room but not make you pay for everything else that’s supposed to come with it.
We’ll have to see if visitors to Vegas will notice the difference.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary