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Tips for Booking Cheap Hotel Rooms in Las Vegas

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Restaurants aren't the only places offering deals in Las Vegas these days, and Hooters isn't the only hotel with low room rates. Although Sin City has long offered weary gamblers rock-bottom prices for a place to crash, the recession has driven down rates even more.

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"In the beginning of 2009 it was kind of a gold mine of deals," says Juliana Shallcross, editor of Conde Nast's four-month-old Vegas Chatter Web site. "Prices were plummeting, and you could get a cheap hotel room and all these perks." Now, however, she says prices are starting to go back up, especially on weekends.

And despite corporate restrictions on holding conferences and conventions in Vegas, "those things are still happening," she says. Find out when and where not to book with the Convention Calendar at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's Web site (http://www.lvcva.com/meetings).

To see what deals are available, visit the official Las Vegas tourism site, http://www.visitlasvegas.com, and click on "Special Offers." You can search for lodging promotions by location, date and key word; you can also search for deals on dining, entertainment, golf, spas and more.

Another site listing deals is Vegas.com, which shows promotions as percentage off full price. For instance, through Aug. 26, you can get 50 percent off two weeknights at the Palms casino and resort just west of the Strip, paying $114 total.

To find good deals for specific hotels, Shallcross recommends a three-part strategy, especially for first-time visitors: Look for special rates on hotels' Web sites, check third-party booking sites, then pick up the phone. Hotels "are more willing to give out incentives on the phone," Shallcross says. Possible perks include dining certificates, casino credit and gym passes, not to mention lower prices. "Especially in a market like Vegas, where there's so much inventory, they really want to move those rooms," Shallcross says.

To get a sense of the possible price disparities, search "last-minute hotel rates" on Vegas Chatter for a comparison of rates offered over the phone, on hotel Web sites and on third-party travel sites.

Another cost-saving tip: Sign up for e-mail newsletters from hotels and from such big chains as MGM Mirage (http://www.mgmmirage.com) and Harrah's (http://www.harrahs.com/lasvegas), both of which operate multiple properties around town. If there's a particular hotel you like, Shallcross recommends signing up for its rewards program, such as MGM's Players Club (http://www.playersclub.com), which gets you promotions via e-mail.

And if you're willing to stay a few minutes' drive from the Strip, Shallcross recommends downtown hotels for truly rock-bottom rates.

-- Christina Talcott


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