Vegas Clubs Say Stay the NightJune 25, 2009 By: Bryan Bass
In the City of Sin, a recent trend of promotions has club-goers making a night out of it: Properties are creating an expanded itinerary that often includes pool parties, dining deals and exclusive events alongside reduced room rates that allow partiers to take an easy elevator ride home. The Light Group and The Mirage teamed up last week for a trio of parties that included dinner and drink deals from Stack Restaurant, a pumping industry party at the Light Group’s Beatles-inspired Revolution Lounge and a next-day pool party at BARE Pool Lounge. The promotion was the most recent version of the Vegas sleepover, which has continued to grow in popularity at a time when hotel properties are leaning on their nightclub partners to deliver cash-spending guests to the front door.
While some might argue about where the concept originated, the team at the N9NE Group and the Palms Casino Resort stake a claim to bringing the concept to the masses. “We were trying to create more synergy between the hotel and our properties,” says N9NE Group’s marketing manager Dave ‘G’ Gutierrez, “They asked us how we could help promote and advertise low-occupancy dates at the hotel, and Michael Fuller [N9NE’s director of marketing at the time and now vice president] came up with the concept of The Sleep Over. We pitched it to George [Maloof, owner of the Palms], who loved it, and it took off from there.”
The N9NE Group took the concept much further than promoting room rates, instead making a production-heavy multi-venue event. “It started simply with a party at the pool that rolled into events in the evening,” Gutierrez continues, noting that each event since its introduction three years ago has gotten bigger and better. The Sleep Over doesn’t follow a set timeline, instead offering a few installments each year, always closely following high-traffic weekends like Memorial Day. “Everyone in the industry works their butt off, but especially over long weekends with heavy traffic patterns. The Sleep Over is the first time that most of them have a chance to get away from work and have some fun.” The hotel offers drastically reduced room rates and locals are able to get away and play tourist — at least for one night.
The key to the Sleep Over at the Palms is the property’s spacious and chic Fantasy Suites, which offer a range of amenities from pool tables and DJ booths to stripper poles in the showers and bar areas. “We open all four Fantasy suites on the 26th floor and treat it like a block party,” Gutierrez says. Each end of the hallway offers different musical formats, with two suites playing house music and the other two focusing on hip hop and rock, he explains. “The Sleep Over is really one of the most exclusive parties in Las Vegas. We only give out 600 wristbands for access to the suite level (400 to females, 200 to males) and if you don’t have a wristband or know how to get one, the bottom line is you’re not getting into the party.” And trust me, you definitely want to get into this party — each suite offers hosted bars and, as Gutierrez says, “We don’t charge anyone for anything.”
Each Sleep Over comes with its own theme and concept that Gutierrez works hard to reinforce on a production and branding level. Following a chaotic Memorial Day weekend, the most recent installment of the Sleep Over was coined Hot Tijuana Nights and was sponsored by Hornitos Tequila. The evening featured a photo opportunity with a donkey-suit-sporting staffer, gorgeous ‘Federales’ who arrested patrons on-site and forced them to do tequila shots to escape the brink, and roving Mariachi bands that distributed fake mustaches and Hornitos POS. “It started as a pajama party, but as it become more popular, we knew we had to push the themes and make the event more outrageous,” Gutierrez says. “I always ask myself: ‘How far can we go with it? How much can we transform the space?’”
That’s where the sponsors come into play. Because of the event costs and the lack of a revenue stream, sponsors are asked to help underwrite the costs. In return, Gutierrez creates themes that integrate the brand and reinforce their participation. “On this last one, we pushed the envelope with it, but it worked and might have been our best Sleep Over yet.” Earlier installments of the Sleep Over have included the Super Heroes Sleep Over, which helped launch Red Bull Cola; the Playmate Sleep Over, which featured 12 Playboy Playmates and held the birthday celebration for Playmate of the Year, Sara Underwood; From Russia with Lust Sleep Over with a Russian-themed clothing company; and the Fantasy Football Sleep Over with Miller Lite.
The party starts earlier in the evening at MOON Nightclub, and that’s where lucky patrons receive the coveted wristbands. While it might have started as a stopping point, the earlier party has become an event of its own, helping the N9NE Group recoup some of the costs of the Sleep Over. “The parties at MOON have gotten so good that people don’t want to leave. That’s why we don’t open the 26th floor until 1 a.m..”
Once the floor opens, there’s a good chance you might see famous faces roaming the halls, as celebrity guests have included hip-hop star and actor Nelly, rap group Naughty by Nature, who did an impromptu performance in one of the suites, former UFC champ Chuck Lidell, NFL star Terrell Owens and world famous DJs like Tiesto and Felix da Housecat. With such a successful track record, it’s no wonder locals can’t wait to see what Guterriez and the N9NE team come up with next.
Off-strip, at the plush Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, operators are proving a Las Vegas Boulevard address isn’t necessary for overnight success. Coined ‘The Red Rock Retreat,’ the team at Station Casinos, which owns Red Rock, is providing an activity-driven option that happens every week in the summer, inviting the nightclub industry to retreat from the Strip-side chaos. Drastically reduced rates, early check-in and extended check-out hours provide value for partiers looking to stay the night, and the Red Rock team reinforces the promotion with day- and nighttime pool parties and even weekly tournaments in the property’s VIP Bowling Center.
These aren’t the only properties to dabble in the overnight party, as other properties have gotten into the game with various takes on the concept and most have been met with great success. Giving industry locals the opportunity to play tourist, not worry about transportation and enjoy the properties is a recipe for success in the Sin City. And it’s no wonder they don’t want to go home — it’s so much easier when you stay the night!