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PGP: MGM To Expand Non-Smoking Rooms

By Chuckmonster on Wednesday, 16th March 2016 11:39am
  » filed under MGM Mirage  comments: 10


Here's some good news... MGM Resorts International is looking to expand their inventory of non-smoking rooms in 2016. Great! As an ex-smoker, I'm ok with this development. Once you move to the other side of the ashtray, paying $200/night for a room that smells like a chain smoking hoarder's '85 Buick can really take the air out of your vacation.

What you won't believe, is why MGM Resorts International is expanding their non-smoking room inventory. Ok, maybe you will believe it - health concerns? the environment? Nope... it's all about profit. As in the Profit Growth Plan.


One of the main objectives of the Profit Growth Plan is to add or increase fees in a way that most customers won't notice. By now, you've heard about the not-so-transparent parking fees. What you may not have heard about is increased fees for wheelchair rental, or a fee to unlock room safes with forgotten combinations, or a fee to guarantee any room preference - king/dual queen beds, higher floors, lower floors, near elevators, away from elevators, early check in, late check out, anything.

MGM's Strategic Initiatives Group - headed by President of Corporate Entities, Chris Nordling (remember him? He's the bad corporate comedian who thinks that MGM invented Apple Pay) and ex-Bain & Company employee Jeff Gebben, now VP of Hospitality Analytics. These guys and their multi-focused team of analysts have worked for a year or so to find ways ways to cut costs and increase revenue.

Strategic Initiatives Group has cut costs by standardizing linens, limiting options and access to the employee dining room (the EDR), outsourcing parking operations and staff, outsourcing convention operations and staff, outsourcing event center operations and staff, converting thousands of full time long term career employees to disposable contractors, consolidating multi-agency marketing and advertising under one firm, cutting comp calculations, decreasing quality, frequency and serving size at casino service bars and laying people off.

According to documents obtained by VegasTripping, one of the prime motivations for increasing non-smoking room inventory at MGM Resorts International properties is (direct quote) "increased revenue from fees."

From MGM booking engine fine print:

If there is evidence of smoking in your room you will incur a minimum deep cleaning fee of $300 charged to your account.

Bam. Currently, approximately ~17% of Americans smoke. That giving MGM a 17% chance to turn a $200/night hotel room into a $500 room, before resort and parking fees. Also, $300 is the minimum fee. In some instances - stogies, bidis, cloves, blunts, bong hits, extreme vaping - it could be more.

During one stay 10 years ago, I arrived in my room at Harrah's to find that it was non-smoking after requesting a smoking room. I called the front desk and explained the situation. Instead of moving me to a smoking room they sent an employee upstairs with an ashtray and matchbooks.

I have to wonder if MGM really thought this through. Wouldn't it make more profit to force nicotine addicts pay extra to reserve smoking room preferences? They charge disabled guests who need to be close to elevators, agoraphobics who need to be on lower floors and parasomniacs who require two beds so they don't hurt their sleeping partners for preferences? Why not just drop the smoking tax on the front end instead of throwing the dice on a $300 cleaning fee?

In addition to removing ashtrays, MGM is removing scales from hotel rooms, claiming "nobody uses them." I never used to get on scales when I went to Vegas. Now I do... particularly to marvel at how much food I'd eat in one day. I know this little parlor game is a personal pursuit. But I'm pretty sure that lots of other folks use the scales in hotel rooms - not to stick to their diets but to weigh their souvenir stuffed baggage in order to avoid hefty overweight fees levied by airlines.

Having things like scales, slippers, bathrobes, moisturizers, face bars, body bars, body wash and other semi-esoteric items in hotel rooms is what separates dumps like the Ellis Island Super 8 from actual resorts like Mandalay Bay. Yet MGM Resorts International is insistent on removing or reducing the quality of resort level amenities while simultaneously increasing resort fees.

When you think about trust, what does it mean to you? For most, it is the concept of having faith in honesty. For some, it is a repository of financial assets.

MGM Resorts International, while building theirs of ours, are ruining ours in them.


Comments & Discussion:

WTF, a fee to rent a wheel chair?

Until November of last year I had stayed exclusively at MGM properties for the last 10 years or so (about two trips per year). I stayed at LINQ in November due to cost (SEMA week), the VT review, and the PGP and I was not disappointed. Further branching out and staying at Encore next week.

I feel like getting out from under the Mlife umbrella is the best thing that could have happened to my Vegas trips. Thanks PGP.

To me, this is one that makes sense compared to some of the other elements of PGP. Long-term, it costs more to maintain smoking rooms because you have to replace stuff more often. Some hotels can get away with cigarette burns on the furniture, curtains, carpet, etc., but others cannot.

Some hotels have been blase about non-smoking v. smoking rooms. The last time I stayed at Binion's, I was in a non-smoking room, but there was an ash tray and matches in the closet and most of the furniture had cigarette burns. The room did not reek of cigarette smoke though. To contrast this, the first time I stayed at the Golden Gate, I was put in a smoking room because that was all they had left. Despite it being a smoking room, it did not appear that anyone had smoked in the room since it had been renovated.

Besides PGP, i think another reason for the non-smoking rooms (i think i read MGM is going 100% non-smoking) is the coming legalization of recreational marijuana in vegas. And i for one am 100% WITH MGM banning all smoking just for that one reason. I no way in hell want to smell that sh#t in my hotel during my vacation. So good on MGM for banning it all.

"VP of Hospitality Analytics".....why does that sounds like a total bullshit job?

I do not mind the smoke in the casino or outside…but really do not like getting a smoking hotel room…just a nasty old musty smell…glad to see MGM Vegas is going this route…MGM in Biloxi, MS (Beau Rivage) went non-smoking hotel rooms about 2 years ago and we really like that.

With all of the anti-smoking actions over the past few years, I would think that smokers would be aware of the cleaning fee for smoking in a non-smoking room…I would think MGM PGP would profit by charging extra for smoking room.

I got stuck in a smoking hotel room a couple weeks ago at a local casino hotel…glad I was staying for only one night and the wife was not with me.

How do they know people are not using the scales? Are they wired up to some monitor?

@missmonkay - Not sure but I think at Cosmo if you weigh yourself enough times the scale spits out a ticket for a free buffet.

The real reason for the scales in the first place was for Mobil Star and or AAA Diamond ratings.
Then they found out that it was a very small part of the rating and that batteries are expensive...

So the reason they're gone is batteries.

Since I do not smoke I do not have a problem with this. Smoking rooms mean the rooms reek in my opinion. They are moving to become smoke free and figure charging you to smoke isn't going to make you quit but could convince you to consider stopping. As for the scales I cant remember being in a room that had one. My post buffet ritual is to walk it off getting back to the hotel.

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