Monday morning was a bit rough. I had gotten home around midnight from four days in Las Vegas with friends, and had to be at the office at 6:45 a.m. on Monday.... It hurt!!!!
We weren't the only folks in Las Vegas during the last few weeks. The National Finals Rodeo was going on over at the Thomas & Mack Center, and there were trade shows and events catering to cowboys of every shape, size and fashion, as well as to the people who surround them when they're not on the back of hairy livestock!
We had a group of eight people from Mason and Comfort, and stayed at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino, right in the middle of the Strip. I'd never stayed there before; but, can report that it, like most of the others, was more than willing to take my money.
Of course, I didn't stay in one place. I also visited Mandalay Bay, New York - New York, MGM Grand, Caesar's, Binion's and Golden Gate. I ate more than anyone ever should. I spent more than I should so close to Christmas. I walked more than I thought possible. And I had a great time. Maybe it was Vegas, but more likely, it was heading away with a group of people whose company I enjoy and just having fun.
I know that Vegas was glad we were there! If it had not been for the NFR the last two weeks, there would have been no people in Vegas. Every other person you talked to was in town for that event, and when the rodeo action was going on, there was no one in the restaurants or casinos. We were told that occupancy rates at the mid and lower end hotels is off by 40%, and the rates are even higher for hotels such as Bellagio and Wynn. Vegas is a town that depends almost entirely upon disposable income, and people just don't have anything left to dispose of in the current economy.
And, the folks at the stores and casinos need to learn a bit about stress marketing. When business is down, you try to offer great incentives to spend money... that wasn't happening. The slots weren't really paying off any better. The prices weren't marked down on merchandise. Meals cost as much, if not more, than they did the last time I visited two years ago. The exception was the Cowboy Christmas Show out at the Convention Center. We talked to Garland and Joy Gallagher (as well as Robin and Scott) and they told us that traffic at the show had been pretty good. A lot of the vendors I saw were offering specials and great deals, and they were making the sales. Of course, many of the vendors were from Texas where we understand making good deals a lot better!
So, we're all home and I'm trying to get my body adjusted to the two-hour time difference. I'm trying to flush my system of all the impurities that it has taken in during the last few days, and trying to remember what a full night's sleep feels like. I'm trying to get the sound of ringing out of my ears from all the noise in the casinos, and trying to get all the cigarette smoke out of my clothes.
And I'm happy, just like always, to be back home. While it's fun to visit other places, Dorothy Gale had it right when she said, "There's no place like home."
It’s all just my opinion.