Las Vegas is a city like no other, and often leads the way when it comes to delivering consumers superlative travel experiences. Here we look at three trends emerging in Sin City: Conversational Commerce, the Internet of Things and Primetime Collaborations.
1. Conversational commerce
Since May 2, the all-suite Venetian Las Vegas has been allowing guests to book stays at the hotel via a Facebook Messenger chat bot. The hotel says that its social booking channel, which is powered by artificial intelligence, represents “the first step for the brand in reducing interface friction, enabling guests to stay within their platform of choice as they gather information, ask questions and transact with the brand”.
It says that it will provide guests with real-time rates for desired dates, details on resort amenities and also suggests relevant activities and offerings. The app is designed to evolve through interaction, constantly creating a more seamless guest experience over time.
Chief marketing officer for the Venetian and the Palazzo, Lisa Marchese, says: “As the social media space continues to evolve, we are excited to be a pioneer in using Facebook Messenger as a direct booking channel for guest reservations.
“Messaging apps have surpassed social networks in terms of monthly active users and we saw Facebook Messenger as an immediate and authentic way for our guests to engage with our brand.
“We always provide our guests the best rate through direct channels, carrying the booking experience into this app was a natural progession. We will continue to look for opportunities to combine responsiveness and guest discovery, anticipating the way guests want to interact with us going forward.”
2. Internet of Things
At the end of last year, the Wynn Las Vegas installed voice-activated Amazon Echo speakers in every single one of its 4,748 bedrooms. Said to be an “industry first”, guests will be able to control various aspects of the in-room environment with a series of voice commands via Alexa, the brain behind the Amazon Echo.
Alexa will be fully operational in all guest rooms by this summer, and will initially control lights, temperature, curtains and the TV. Future features may include personal assistant functions. (Alexa can already read you the news, set timers and alarms, recite calendars, check sports scores, control smart devices in-home.)
The Wynn says that since Alexa runs in the cloud, she is always getting smarter – plus, it is simple and free for developers to build Alexa skills and integrate Alexa into their own products. In the US, there are already more than 6,000 skills available for Alexa.
“Millions of people already enjoy interacting with Alexa at home via their Echo devices, and now they will be able to experience the same convenience while traveling,” says Steve Rabuchin, vice-president of Amazon Alexa. “The Wynn Las Vegas is known for its comfort and luxury, and we are excited to work with the resort to enhance its guest experience with Alexa.”
Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, says: “As we have moved through the years, technology has always played an important part in our resorts. The thing that Amazon has done with Alexa is quite perfect.
“If I have ever seen anything in my 49 years of developing resorts that has made our job of delivering a perfect experience to our guests easier and help us get to another level, it is Alexa. The ability to talk to your room is effortlessly convenient.”
He adds: “In partnership with Amazon, becoming the first resort in the world in which guests can verbally control every aspect of lighting, temperature and the audio-visual components of a hotel room is yet another example of our leadership in the world of technology for the benefit of all of our guests.”
3. Primetime Collaborations
Hannah Hastings reports that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, famous for his Michelin-star restaurants and foul-mouthed remarks, is opening his first-ever, real-life “Hell’s Kitchen”, in Caesars Palace. Inspired by his primetime reality TV series of the same name, the restaurant will be Ramsay’s fifth to open in Las Vegas, coming about as a collaboration with Caesars Entertainment.
Ramsey says: “Fans of the show have been asking us to bring a Hell’s Kitchen restaurant to life since day one, so I’m thrilled to finally be doing it here at Caesars Palace. A key element of the show’s success has always been the diners’ experience, so we are excited for guests in Las Vegas to feel like they too are part of the show – flames and all.”
Up to 300 guests will be able to come for brunch and dinner at the famous restaurant-come-TV set, designed by Jeffrey Beers International. Details of the interior have been revealed ahead of construction, which begins this summer – an open-plan kitchen will be at the heart of the restaurant, with teams of staff dressed in red and blue, while a patio dining area will face the Strip. Hell’s Kitchen will open this autumn, taking the trend for themed restaurants to the next level.