Concierge Lounge Concept Catches On at Aria & Vdara

In August, Aria Resort & Casino took its concierge desk out of the lobby and installed it around the corner in a dedicated lounge. The idea, said Aria vice president of hotel operations Paul Berry, was to eliminate the pressure of the typical concierge desk experience, the feeling of looking over your shoulder and seeing a line of customers waiting for their turn.

“It dawned on us that that’s not the most welcoming way to conduct that type of business, to plan a trip or to plan what you’re going to do,” Berry said.

So the resort built its concierges a living room-style lounge with couches and a fireplace, an environment where waiting your turn is a comfortable prospect and the vibe is conducive to longer conversations.

The same month, the hotel also opened the Resort Club Lounge, a premium amenity included with 125 rooms that offers basic business and concierge services. The Lounge, which also serves breakfast and snacks and has a happy hour, is available to other guests for $125 per day. “The feedback has just been tremendous,” Berry said. “Customers love it.”

Now MGM Resorts is taking what it has learned over the past five months at the Aria and applying it to the Vdara. The non-gaming hotel will open its Vdara Club Lounge on Jan. 11.

At the Aria, the reaction to both the Concierge and Resort Club lounges has been quick and quantifiable. The average number of covers per transaction is up, which means for every conversation a concierge has with a hotel guest, they’re booking more restaurant reservations, spa treatments and show tickets. Covers are up 37%, according to Berry, and revenue for concierge transactions is up 34%. “The conversation has opened up,” he said. “[Guests] connect with the concierge longer, and they plan their itineraries out better.”

At the Vdara, the all-suite, 1,495-room hotel adjacent to the Aria, the Club Lounge will be accessible by visitors staying in Luxury Suites, City Corner Club Lounge Suites and Studio Fountain View Club Lounge Suites — 90 rooms total. Other Vdara guests can access the lounge for a nightly fee of $75 Sunday through Thursday and $100 Friday and Saturday.

Set next to the full-service ESPA at Vdara, the lounge will serve light breakfast, grab-and-go snacks, heavy evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary beer and wine during social hour. The space is designed to enable collaborative work sessions among a few colleagues and to create a social gathering area for visitors. Concierge services are offered inside the lounge, and lounge guests receive a pre-arrival check-in from the resort’s staff to help with travel-planning needs.

Following the Vdara rollout, Berry said MGM Resorts may expand the concept to other Vegas properties. “One of the things that we always try to do is bring new luxury amenities that we think customers will appreciate and like,” he said. “We’re in the memory-making business. [Guests] really appreciate what we’re doing.”

(Travel Weekly)

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