The following post is from (the LA Times’) Richard Abowitz’s Movable Feast, August 20, 2009 | 4:09 pm.
“For an out-of-town reporter, Joel Stein has been a Vegas regular. He covered the Vegas boom in an earlier cover story for Time. He also profiled Steve Wynn for Time. But his current cover story for Time on Vegas has generated a lot of local hand-wringing over his portrayal of the desperate and negative times the city is going through combined with the lack of easy answers to the problems plaguing Vegas. Well, there is an easy answer — people start coming in far greater numbers and start spending far more than they ever have before. That used to happen year after year, and many people here still believe that process has been only temporarily interrupted for going on 18 months or so. Stein’s story suggests that Vegas is in many ways engaged in an elaborate bluff with its future not yet realizing or accepting just how long the Strip will remain the bargain destination it has once again become.”
[Abowitz continues:] Full disclosure: I have known Stein for years (having met him when he interviewed me on an earlier Vegas assignment), and he wrote for Los Angeles Times.
Abowitz: So, was it immediately obvious on this trip that things were different for Vegas than during your previous visits?
Stein: The weird thing was showing up at the Hotel (at Mandalay Bay). I had talked to a bunch of people and everyone confirmed the place was decimated. And I had seen photos of Echelon. And so I was expecting the worst. But when I showed up at the Hotel my room was messed up. And so I assumed that there must be 8,000 other rooms and so whatever. But the place was literally full. I walked out to the pool and it was packed. So, I guess the price cutting really worked and so the obvious things I was looking for were not there.
Abowitz: How obvious was the price cutting?
Stein: I signed up for lists and so I get all these e-mails like “$100 at the Wynn with a $50 dining coupon.” It is the same with MGM. The deals are out there.
Abowitz: Well, the hotels are doing whatever it takes to not be empty. Your experience seems to suggest it is working.
Stein: It is working. And, it is awesome if you are looking for a cheap vacation. They fill the place up.
Abowitz: So, when did you notice the recession hidden amidst the bustle?
read the rest of the story…