Monday, March 30, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
When folks looking to see Cher or a Cirque du Soleil show want to make a trip to Las Vegas, travel Web sites won’t allow them to first buy tickets and then make air and hotel reservations.
Instead, customers have to first make their air and hotel arrangements before they can check to see whether the show is playing, or whether tickets are available.
VEGAS.com is expected to announce significant enhancements to its site today that will vastly boost the options in creating custom Las Vegas travel packages with a visit to just one Web site.
The improved VEGAS.com (a sister company of the Las Vegas Sun), will allow consumers to move seamlessly through its offerings, adding items to their virtual shopping carts and checking out in one transaction after all the trip’s components — travel, lodging, shows and other activities — are in place.
More airlines onboard
Existing travel sites force consumers to take a predetermined path, beginning with air and hotel options, before they can check to see whether a limited selection of entertainment and other options is available. The technology breakthrough, developed by
VEGAS.com, would allow consumers to check on ticket availability for a show or other entertainment option before making hotel and airline reservations at a package rate.
The platform’s more customer-friendly navigation isn’t the only enhancement to VEGAS.com. It will now offer flights from 400 airlines — up from one — and will support making flight reservations to Las Vegas from 1,700 cities, up from 90. When combined with the thousands of hotel, show, tour, golf, nightclub and restaurant options marketed by the site, VEGAS.com estimates that it will allow consumers to choose from 207 billion possible combinations of Las Vegas tourism offerings.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer our visitors billions of options and the ability to plan their trip any way they want,” said Howard Lefkowitz, VEGAS.com president and CEO. “We give the customer real-time inventory and maximum flexibility to create their own Las Vegas experience.”
The new VEGAS.com platform allows customers to negotiate the site as they see fit, visiting only the sections they care about. VEGAS.com customers can read reviews, watch videos and view photos, and can add options to their shopping carts before browsing other sections on the site.
Lefkowitz said the new VEGAS.com platform will be used on the company’s MEXICO.com Web site and will be made available to the company’s resort partners for their own hotel sites.
He said the new platform allows folks almost anywhere in the world to use credit cards to pay for travel, a big improvement from the earlier platform, which was set up to accept credit cards from a limited number of countries.
‘Good for the market’
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said the enhanced
VEGAS.com site is good for the market and its guests.
“It’s great to see innovation created in Southern Nevada that benefits both Las Vegas visitors and our hospitality and tourism industries,” Ralenkotter said.
John Nelson, vice president of AEG Live, which operates the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and the new Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, said,
“VEGAS.com appears to be the first firm that has figured out how to package hotel and entertainment in one transaction. In these troublesome times it’s important to make it as easy and seamless as possible for our guests.”
Jeff Simpson is executive editor of In Business Las Vegas, a sister publication of the Sun.