Travel Fanboy

Is Downtown Grand Turning a Corner?

Troubles

The Downtown Grand has been going through some growing pains since opening in late 2013. It’s a property that hasn’t really found its stride, and it’s been a challenge to consistently get people in the door. It doesn’t benefit from the walking traffic of the Fremont Street Experience and locals aren’t apt to make frequent visits. This could partially be solved by making their parking validation process more efficient and clear. Reviews online reveal that quite a few are frustrated with its ambiguity. Failure to validate properly will result in a $12 parking fee.

But parking isn’t the only thing keeping gamblers away. Poor table odds and inconsistent promotional offers may be to blame as well. The small casino is nice to look at, but you can’t make it a destination for local gamblers or curious tourists with 6:5 blackjack and less than stellar VP tables. Their promotional offers for frequent players are incredibly inefficient. Stay and play at other properties with your players card, and you’ll receive mailer and email offers perpetually, with fairly open time frames for use. Downtown Grand’s promotional offers typically arrive for out-of-town guests with a limited amount of time before expiration, if they come at all. Some may need to be redeemed in a handful of weeks. This isn’t very beneficial for traveling guests that need adequate time for preparation. I’ve actually yet to receive an offer from DTG (that’s how I’m going to abbreviate it now) despite putting a decent amount of coin in on my last two trips. I’ve received frequent mailers from other properties in which I’ve done much less, even minimal gambling.

Inadequate mailers aren’t the only marketing snafus.Remember this little gem, their Chinese New Year decorations?

Umm...ok
Umm…ok?

It was also noted recently that one of their recent tweets, touting a gaming change, was most likely promoted using purchased retweets.Compounding this, their social media links lead to stagnant pages with no clarifying information. The website has links that do the same or lead to nowhere. Their contact page, of which I’ve tried to use several times, rarely processes the request.

Bright spots

Things have been changing, though. The website is slowly adding content and viewable menus. Word is that customer service has improved. I’ve heard of many compliments of the pleasant dealers. The bartenders at the casino bar, Furnace, were very nice and attentive on my most recent visit.

They’re also adding more attractive gaming options. You can find, at times, outdoor blackjack outside the main casino and during the weekend on the Pool Deck. It’s certainly not novel, but people get a kick out of it. Low rollers may also enjoy the new, late night $3 craps, which runs from 3 am to 11 am Monday through Friday. The rebranded Pool Deck, formerly Picnic, is a fun place to grab a drink and relax. Plus, private cabanas can be had at an inexpensive rate.

These changes are fine, but are still not enough. You can easily find better odds and paytables at nearby casinos on Fremont St. Furnace, the center bar, is nice enough, but doesn’t offer any draft beer options. It’s a tough sell when Main Street Station is a few blocks away, where you can find great craft beers and better VP payouts.

The future?

It’s going to take more than a few tweaks to right the ship. Differentiation is going to be essential to lure tourists away from Fremont and locals from their other off-Strip favorites. I’m rooting for the property. The rooms are modern and nice, the casino is clean, and they have one of the best pool areas downtown (not hard to do). I’ll be observing attentively to see how they operate during their second full year. I’m hoping they can find their way.

What do you think about DTG? What improvements would you suggest?

 

Adam

Host of the Vegas Fanboy podcast. A reluctant Millennial. An amateur human.