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April 19, 2014

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Tropicana says renovations show signs of paying off

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Steve Marcus

A view of a renovated suite in the Paradise Tower at the Tropicana. The property is going through its first major renovation in nearly 25 years.

Tropicana Renovation

A view of the bathtub in the 3,000-square-foot Chairman's Suite at the Tropicana. The property is going through its first major renovation in nearly 25 years. Launch slideshow »

Tropicana Gets a Makeover

The Tropicana Resort and Casino is getting its first major renovation in 25 years, and 500 of the 1,700 new rooms are already open. Come along on a tour of the new 3,000-square-foot suites, redesigned restaurants, and four-acre tropical pool area - where Nikki Beach will have its Beach Club, nightclub and restaurant next year.

Map of Tropicana Las Vegas

Tropicana Las Vegas

3801 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas

Since the Tropicana emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009, the property’s new management team has spent a significant amount of time and money on upgrading the historic resort.

The Tropicana is spending about $165 million to renovate the casino floor, restaurants, convention center, pool and hotel rooms, with plans for future attractions like a nightclub-pool complex and The Mob Experience. The investment might be paying off for the once-rundown property.

The company last week reported a drop in revenue and room rates for the second quarter. But while weekday demand remains soft, the renovations and a marketing effort in Las Vegas and Southern California have brought an increase in weekend visitors, driving up room rates.

Rates at Tropicana range between $99 and $229 for weekends through the end of the year, rivaling mid-level resorts like Luxor and Treasure Island.

Most of the weekend rates fall between $129 and $159 per night. Tropicana’s highest weekend rate, at $229, is reserved for New Year’s Eve and the last weekend in September, a weekend when a handful of large conventions are in town. That compares to an average daily room rate of $125 for the same September weekend in 2009.

Before the room renovations, rates at the Tropicana were as low as $38 during some weekends in 2009, which is on par with other older properties such as Sahara and Riviera.

Tropicana Vice President of Hotel Operations Arik Knowles said the hotel considered raising room rates as part of the renovation, but decided against it. Instead, he attributed the recent increase in room rates to the spike in demand, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.

“We are very optimistic because we are a very different hotel than we were a year ago,” Knowles said. “It’s a better product and people are responding in kind. On the weekends especially, we are seeing a lift in demand, which is leading to a higher rate.”

Until this round of renovations, Tropicana’s rooms, like the rest of the property, had remained untouched since 1985. Tropicana announced earlier this month that room renovations are complete, and every room offered to guests has been remodeled.

The resort’s rooms, once plagued with rumors of uncleanliness, were updated to match the resort's new South Beach theme with a new color scheme, furnishings and carpeting. Rooms also feature new mattresses and 42-inch plasma TVs.

Aside from a hike in room rates, the new rooms have resulted in more positive feedback in online reviews, Knowles said, which he said played a role in increasing online bookings.

“A lot of people we talk to when they come to the hotel say they heard about the change and that the construction is done and wanted to check out the new rooms,” Knowles said.

The Tropicana also gave credit to its new logo and “We’re Changing Everything” marketing campaign, primarily focused on reaching Southern Californians and locals in Las Vegas.

Knowles said the increased weekend bookings have brought in a younger crowd, typically 25- to 45-year-olds. The resort will be adding the Nikki Beach adult pool and nightclub next spring in hopes of bringing in more younger visitors.

By the end of the year, Tropicana expects to be finished with its casino floor renovations and expanded sports book, complete with mobile gaming.

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