Derek Stevens, the Downtown Vegas casino developer behind the Golden Gate Hotel and the D Las Vegas, has given away 1,700 free flights to Las Vegas. His promotion, called “Keep America Flying”, was designed to stimulate Vegas tourism after the coronavirus shutdown.
The Fly-In Market
Casinos in Las Vegas are submitting their reopening plans to gaming authorities in order to break the virus lockdown. Starting in June, gamblers can slowly begin to get their kicks in Vegas again, and casinos will have a plethora of new safety features in place.
But that’s not enough to make up for lost customers. So casino developer Derek Stevens decided to give away 1,000 free flights to Las Vegas as part of his “Keep America Flying” promotion. After the 1,000 flights were snapped up on his D Las Vegas casino website within hours, he nearly doubled down, offering 700 additional free flights.
“This is a way for Las Vegas to be respectful of the fly-in market,” Stevens said. “The drive-in market is very important, but with what’s happened to the airlines, that industry has really been decimated. We wanted to come up with something that helps the U.S. airline industry, and helps support Las Vegas.”
First Come, First Served
After Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that casinos can begin reopening on June 4, Vegas casinos clamored for the attention of returning customers. Some offered discounts, free parking, or no resort fees. But Stevens upped the ante: he offered 1,700 free flights to Las Vegas from 24 U.S. cities.
The goal was to stimulate the decimated gambling economy as well as to support the equally crestfallen airline industry, Stevens explained in an interview with Forbes.com.
“As we begin to reopen our doors across the city, we are proud to help reinvigorate travel to Las Vegas while supporting airlines in America impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” Stevens said.
Stevens bought a large number of airline tickets from several low-cost American carriers serving 24 U.S. cities. He then offered the initial 1,000 free flights on his D Las Vegas website on a first come, first serve basis. After these initial flights were snatched up in hours, he offered another 700.
The 1,700 free seats were valid for carriers like Allegiant, Frontier, Southwest, and more. A large number of the seats targeted cities in the Midwest, where much of the Vegas fly-in traffic originates.
But the virus has not yet been stamped out, so all travelers are advised to play it safe – before, during, and after they hit the casinos.
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