Mike Huckabee hosted his Fox Show from the Venetian/Palazzo last week. In his monologue he points out that he is standing in contrast to the President who urged people not to go to Vegas. That, of course, isn’t what the President said. And, Huckabee’s Vegas support came with a caveat: He arrived with the Ten Commandments and a $20 bill, and he did not plan to break either. Honestly, with that attitude, from a Vegas perspective, he might as well have stayed home.
But what fascinated me about the show was the rare interview with Venetian head Sheldon Adelson. Huckabee consistently tried to praise the amazing customer service on the Strip, and, in response, Adelson claims (a few times) that the Venetian/Palazzo’s service is better because the property is the only non-union resort on the Strip. I think that view deserves a reality inspection: Adelson can not afford to have customer service fall bellow the union properties on the Strip and stay competitive.
The Venetian/Palazzo has fine customer service, but certainly does not have a reputation for being so special that the resort stands out in anyway on the Strip.
Who does stand out for customer service? Actually, union properties. For starters, the union property Wynn is considered to have the best customer service by most everyone in Vegas. Obviously, Four Seasons does an exceptional job and Mandarin Oriental has a reputation for service that I have yet to personally check out.
Venetian/Palazzo has fine service, better than most cities offer at hotels; but Vegas is not most cities. We are very competitive when it comes to pleasing guests. As it happens, the best customer service on the Vegas Strip can be found at union properties.
I am not saying Venetian/Palazzo has major customer service problems. But is that because Adelson is such a great boss, or because unhappy workers could quickly vote in a union were his behavior to match his rhetoric?
The truth is that the incredible customer service supplied on the Las Vegas Strip is largely delivered by union employees. A casino that does not want a union must keep salary and benefits similar or better than what the union offers. That is the case at Venetian/Palazzo. Adelson is paying the ticket to keep his property union free and so, for what it is worth, he has bragging rights. But, looking at Wynn/Encore’s customer service, it does makes sense to ask if not being union benefits any Venetian or Palazzo customer or guest? I doubt it. (photo: Sarah Gerke)