Las Vegas: The Brand?

I just came back from Las Vegas after a trip with my kids, my brother and his family, and our 75 year old mother.

That sentence alone sort of sums up the dichotomy of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas as a family destination?

Well yes, sort of …

To be fair, we didn’t stay right on the strip. We stayed at Lake Vegas in Henderson about a half an hour from downtown.

That also added to the schizophrenia of this area.

We were in the middle of nowhere surrounded by palm trees, swimming pools, and beautiful nature. We also drove another hour to Red Rock Canyon for a beautiful hike. I highly recommend this if you go to the area. Also if you do go with kids, I also recommend a tour of the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden.

Then 30 minutes drive later we were on the strip surrounded by an explosion of capitalism and artificial Vegas experiences (the Venetian gondolas, the Empire State building, the Eiffel Tower).

What we didn’t see except for one truck that advertised girls for hire with scantily clad women decorating the truck was the expected “adult” side of Las Vegas.

Much to our horror /amusement this one particular “booby truck” got stuck in traffic next to my brother’s car which was filled with boys aged 9 to 17.

But besides this, Las Vegas seemed to be like Time Square- all cleaned up. A Disney like version of its former self.
Not quite sin city- more like syn-thetic city.

And from the looks of the empty stores fronts and barely filled casino floors – not really thriving.

Sure it’s a tough economy to thrive in, particularly when you depend on people coming and spending their disposable income on your slots and black Jack tables.

We all know disposable income has been hard hit by the recession.
So I understand why, Las Vegas may have felt the need to re-brand itself as a more family friendly destination. But I’m not sure it’s quite working.

It feels a bit in-between now…not quite an adult playground any more, but neither a truly legitimate brand destination either.
A classic branding blunder of evolving too far away from your core.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?
What’s been your experience of the Las Vegas brand?

One thought on “Las Vegas: The Brand?

  1. Personally, I LOVE Vegas. For NY’ers, and for NY guys, it’s a great wkend destination to: get out of the cold weather; atv thru the desert; gamble; fine-dine or buffet-dine; and of course, indulge in some Adult entertainment, if that, uh, floats your boat.

    But you hit it on the head, Julie: it’s all about disposable income. And right now, EVERYBODY seems to have less of it.

    And while I completely agree with you that the New Vegas is far more Synthetic than Old Vegas’ Sin City atmosphere (great analogy), I don’t think Vegas cleaning up its act that is why it’s hurting. Talk to travel agents, MOST vacation destinations are hurting. The Islands. Hawaii. Cruise Lines. Those are family destinations, too, and they are all feeling the pinch.

    When the economy comes back, so will the people. Whether it’s the gamblers looking for the big payout, or the families for the dumbed-down carbon-copy of world locales.

    Vegas, baby!! Put it all on black! No, wait… red! No, black!

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