MGM, desperate for cash, launches “Work From Vegas” program

Hotel operator posted $1B loss in operating income last quarter

New York Weekend Edition /
Aug.August 09, 2020 09:00 AM
MGM CEO William Hornbuckle and the Bellagio resort

MGM CEO William Hornbuckle and the Bellagio resort

For decades, Las Vegas has attracted vacationers with its casinos, clubs and restaurants. Now, one desperate hotel operator wants to bring in the work-from-home crowd.

MGM resorts has launched “Work from Vegas” business packages at the Bellagio and ARIA resorts, according to the Reno Gazette Journal. There are three packages, the cheapest five-day stay starting at around $100 per night, going up to around $400 a night for the top-tier package.

The thinking behind the unorthodox campaign is to bring in visitors to work during the days in hotel rooms and spend the evenings at the resorts’ casinos, restaurants or otherwise just relaxing away from home.

It would give a much-needed boost to the hotel operator, which reported a second quarter operating loss of $1 billion, compared to $371 million in income in the second quarter of last year, according to the publication.

MGM reopened the Bellagio and ARIA properties early last month after closing them in mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Those resorts, along with others that have since opened in Vegas, are operating at half capacity.

Each “Work from Vegas” package includes food and beverage credits and discounted flights from Burbank, Orange County, Oakland, Dallas, and Seattle. Customers also get a dedicated concierge for handling reservations, scheduling, and otherwise help them during their stay.

“It’s a well-trained person who has taken care of thousands of guests and requests before, so they are hyper-experienced and ready to bring you some hospitality,” said Atif Rafiq, president of commercial and growth at MGM Resorts. “I’m not sure we’ll get you a unicorn request at two in the morning, but we’ll obviously try our best.”

Hotels, among the businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, are seeing fundamentals recover. U.S. hotel occupancy hit 48.9 percent for the week ending Aug. 1, according to hotel data provider STR. [Reno Gazette Journal]Dennis Lynch 


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