No-frills Allegiant Air unapologetically caters to vacationers, but the crushing coronavirus pandemic has it scouting a new type of traveler, too.
The Las Vegas-based airline in late August plans to start peddling work-from-Las Vegas travel packages including nonstop airline tickets and a hotel room. The pitch: Fly, stay, work and play.
“We’re working with a top Las Vegas casino resort operator to capture opportunities presented by the rise in remote working,” Scott DeAngelo, the airline’s chief marketing officer, teased on the airline’s earnings conference call Wednesday. “The business traveler paying on the corporate card is now giving way to the individual travelers paying their own way to work remote, but away from home.”
The targets: professionals in larger cities Allegiant serves, including Oakland, California; Cincinnati; Indianapolis; Rockford, Illinois, outside Chicago; and even close-by Phoenix, DeAngelo said in an interview with USA TODAY.
Why Las Vegas? Allegiant serves 58 cities from McCarran International Airport, and the Las Vegas Strip has a glut of empty rooms with the convention and meetings business gone and unlikely to return in the near future. CES, the giant consumer technology trade show that kicks of convention season each January, said this week that the 2021 show will be virtual instead of in person, as it announced in early June.
It all adds up to cheap travel packages, especially as summer vacation season winds down and Allegiant and other airlines are fighting for an even smaller pool of travelers.
For a four-night weekday stay for one at the MGM Grand in mid-September, the airline is currently selling air and hotel packages from Indianapolis to Las Vegas on its website for $340 including taxes but excluding seat assignment and baggage fees and hotel resort fees.
From Cincinnati to Las Vegas, sample prices in mid-October for a three-night stay at the Flamingo Las Vegas start at $227; the luxe Bellagio, $638.
DeAngelo said Las Vegas casino hotels, used to catering to business travelers from around the globe, have all the amenities travelers need including business centers, reliable Wi-Fi and suites for meetings, if needed.
“You have properties that are set up perfectly,” he said. “This isn’t like, ‘Oh, you know what, I’m going to have bad reception because I’m heading up to the mountains.’ ”
The big lure, of course: Las Vegas’ lineup of restaurants and nightlife, including gambling.
“Why be strapped there in your studio apartment or in your home office when you could be working by day … and playing by night?” DeAngelo said.
Allegiant spokeswoman Hilarie Grey likened it to co-working space WeWork but with world-class pools, dining, shopping and gambling on-site.
DeAngelo said Allegiant got the idea to target remote workers from its research showing about 5% of its recent customers saying they are were traveling for a combination of business and leisure, as well as media coverage of destinations and individual hotels pitching themselves as ideal work-from-home spots.
“Consumers are already started to do it in a trickle fashion,” he said. “Work from anywhere is the new normal.”
MGM Resorts is the largest operator of casino hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, with properties including MGM Grand, New York-New York, Mandalay Bay, Aria and Park MGM.
MGM spokesman Brian Ahern declined comment on any marketing partnership with Allegiant.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Allegiant Air to pitch work-from-Las Vegas pandemic travel packages