Travel Fanboy

Breaking Down Jim Murren’s Breakdown of the Need for Fee Parking

We all know about the parking charges MGM plans to introduce in April of this year. MGM CEO Jim “There’s no experience I can’t find a fee for” Murren, detailed the myopic thoughts of this plan in his “CEO Space” article on the MGM Blog. Thanks to Vegas Tripping for leading me there. You think Jim charges himself for that space? Anyway, let’s break down some of his points:

On when the news broke:

It was, of course, met with cries of objection in some circles, but I also noted that it was met with understanding and acceptance in others.

Those accepting circles he noted were the potential zeros added on to his bonus check if his Profit Growth Plan raises the stock to a target price.

On developing the strategy:

… with additional assistance where needed from parking experts, to represent current day thinking.

I don’t know exactly what a parking expert is, though I do know that, even when applying current day thinking, paying for parking doesn’t do much to enhance the customer experience.

On why they need to charge:

We operate tens of thousands of parking spaces that cost tens of millions of dollars annually to operate. This is why fee parking is a standard practice for hotels, resorts and entertainment facilities across the country…

Yes, which is why before those were likely accounted as fixed costs to run your property and probably reflected in what you charged per room.

On change in Las Vegas:

Consumer tastes, enabled by technology, are evolving daily. By example, there are indications that views by Millennials on car ownership are changing. These predictions say that some people will choose not to have a car and will use public transportation or Uber and Lyft.

Just plain old wrong. Tastes don’t change because of technology, habits do. Consumers look for value and, enabled by technology, it’s easier for us to discern bad from good. “These predictions say that some…”, really great, specific support there. My predictions say that some will choose not to patronize your facilities. My indication is that, as a Millennial, my view on MGM is changing.

On no more free hot dogs:

Did people complain at first about the change at first?

Yes, at first, people always complain at first. But, in the end, we get over it in the end.

Finishing up his thought on the need to charge:

…especially those in high-demand tourist and convention destinations such as New York, Los Angeles and Orlando.

This is where he loses me the most and he frequently uses this narrative, comparing Vegas to other U.S. cities. The reason many tourists like Vegas is because it is not like any other domestic destination. The more you make it like every other city, the more Vegas loses its competitive advantage, the more likely I, and many others, are going to find a comparable city closer to home.

For good measure:

But in the end, it’s the right decision because it creates a better experience for our guests.

And scene.


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