In an interview former Caesars headliner Bette Midler compares working in Las Vegas during the recession to being aboard Titanic. But the most damaging story Midler offers is about customer service. Las Vegas used to have the best customer service in the nation. Now, after more than a year of indebted casinos companies, such as the owner of Caesars, using layoffs and cutting hours to reduce expenses, even at the high end the difference in customer service is noticeable. Midler tells ShowbizSpy of her attempt to order room service during the final months of her show which closed in January, 2009:
“I was living in the hotel and I remember one day I ordered room service, and the girl came and she looked so exhausted. I asked what was wrong and she said she was having to look after all the guests — they’d let everyone else go. And that’s when you start to question yourself — what am I doing here? Am I contributing to this?”
The significantly reduced quality of customer service was a short term gain for casinos needing to stabilize their finances in the recession. But the Vegas experience of customer service helps distinguish a vacation here making it special and memorable. Midler was right to turn depressed at the situation. What will the impact of the decreased quality and emphasis on customer service over the past couple years have on those tourists who save to come here in order to be treated like royalty during their Vegas vacation? Vegas no longer has the staffing for that experience for most customers. And, the Strip casinos are showing no inclination at this point to staff up again. Could so many cuts could be here to stay? If you have been here recently have you noticed the change?