GENERATION X, THE POPULATION BORN IN THE 1960S AND '70S, has ascended. They're moving up the corporate ladder, gaining power and income—and are now the biggest consumers of hotel rooms. They work hard and are known to play even harder. Though they are willing to spend, Gen-X travelers want to be sure they're getting high value for their vacation dollar.
That's especially true with a Las Vegas vacation. When they visit Sin City, they're seeking the good life and craving new experiences. Since Gen-Xers have very specific ideas about what they want, planning a Vegas getaway for them must involve a well-balanced itinerary with memorable experiences that don't break the bank. These clients are typically less affluent than the previous generation, baby boomers, but don't spend as recklessly as the younger Gen-Y.
Here's a crib sheet to keep your Gen-X clients engaged from the time they drop their bags at their Vegas hotel until they have to return to their real lives.
Book your clients into a comfortable four-star resort: Gen-Xers are looking to be pampered after a night crisscrossing the Strip. The Mirage (www.mirage.com, 702-791-7111), the city's first megaresort, just got a top-to-bottom makeover that essentially turned it into a new property. It's defined by understated hip: refined and sophisticated. The Venetian (www.venetian.com, 877-883-6423) has spacious rooms averaging 900 square feet and featuring sunken living rooms and marble bathrooms. Caesars Palace (www.caesarspalace.com, 866-227-5938) also has successfully reinvented itself and is undergoing a $1 billion expansion. It's a little less urbane than some of the newer resorts—which is a plus—and it's a good value for the money. Off the Strip is the Rio (www.riolasvegas.com, 866-746-7671). This all-suite property is home to the World Series of Poker, which counts many Gen-Xers among its fans and participants.
Suggest first-time Vegas visitors stroll around their hotel's casino floor to get acclimated. Before dinner, they should enjoy a drink at the casino bar in the resort where they're dining. It's a fun way to get loosened up and soak in the atmosphere.
For dinner, elegant yet casual is the motif. Fun and extremely laid-back is Enoteca San Marco (website is coming soon at www.enotecasanmarco.com, 702-677-3390), a new entry from Mario Batali. It's got a colossal "wines by the glass" list, and the menu focuses on sharing-size portions of antipasti, pizzas and pasta. Social House (www.socialhouselv.com, 702-894-7777) at Treasure Island features sushi and a terrific sake list. Sit outside and see the "Sirens of TI" show, if it's not called off because of too much wind. Over at Mandalay Bay is rumjungle (www.rumjunglelv.com, 702-632-7408), featuring a mix of Brazilian, Cuban and Caribbean flavors. It's also a great spot to grab an after-dinner cocktail.
Wrap up the night with a drink in the psychedelic-ceilinged Beatles Revolution Lounge (www.thebeatlesrevolutionlounge.com, 702-692-8383) at the Mirage, created by Cirque du Soleil (which presents the Beatles-scored show Love in Las Vegas). Or visit Bellagio for a martini or champagne at Caramel (www.caramelbar.com, 702-693-8300), a quieter and more intimate atmosphere.
Sleep in. This is especially important if your clients left some little ones in the care of grandma and grandpa, since the vacation is a break from the kids' early rising. They can even hang by the pool for a little while.
Grab lunch at Wolfgang Puck's PostRio at the Venetian for a lobster club sandwich. It's absolutely sublime. Or have brunch at Tableau (www.wynnlasvegas.com, 702-770-3330) at Wynn Las Vegas. Try the Virginia ham and fig frittata or the Kobe short ribs and scrambled eggs with potato cakes. There are lots of traditional dishes, but most are infused with an unusual twist.
In the afternoon, tour the major casinos to see their sights or shop. Town Square Las Vegas, a 1.5 million-square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment destination, opened earlier this fall a couple miles south of Mandalay Bay on the Strip. Closer to the action are the Forum Shops at Caesars, the Grand Canal Shoppes at Venetian and the Fashion Show Mall. Go to one of Emeril Lagasse's restaurants for dinner. Emeril's New Orleans Fish House (702-891-7374) in the MGM Grand features Louisiana-inspired seafood dishes. His Delmonico Steakhouse (702-414-3737) at the Venetian is about steaks done in classic American style with a Creole twist. Another TV chef with an outpost at MGM Grand is Tom Colicchio, whose Craftsteak (www.craftrestaurant.com, 702-891-7318) lets you feast on corn-fed and grass-fed beef, as well as Kobe beef.
Suggest a sexy show for the evening's entertainment. Zumanity at New York New York (www.nynyhotelcasino.com, 866-606-7111) is a Cirque du Soleil show with a sensuous edge. Crazy Girls (www.rivierahotel.com, 702-794-9433) at the Riviera is a topless revue that's been running nearly two decades, while MGM Grand's Crazy Horse Paris (www.mgmgrand.com, 702-891-7902) is meant to celebrate the "art of nude" as choreographed moves combine with light effects and projections, creating a moving skin canvas. For something a little more mainstream, TV host Wayne Brady ( www.venetian.com/brady.aspx, 702-414-9000) is a true showman in the spirit of Sammy Davis Jr.
Late night, visit Noir Bar (www.luxor.com, 702-262-5257) at Luxor, one of the most exclusive lounges yet. In this place that evokes the spirit of an upscale speakeasy, cocktails are tailored on the spot to individual tastes. The new boutique nightclub Blush at Wynn is an intimate lounge that's perfect for couples (www.wynnlasvegas.com). Call director of customer development James Lloyd at 702-374-1677.
This morning, order room service and then pack up the bags. After that, head to a sports book. A Sunday during football season is prime time for visiting a sports book. East Coast games start at 10 a.m. Vegas time, so it's possible to spend all day there. Check out MGM Grand's Race & Sports Book, which features the city's only sky boxes along with 36 60-inch plasma TVs, eight 42-inch plasmas, six electronic display boards and 17 race and sports betting counters. Planet Hollywood Resort's The Playing Field has 33 plasmas, two big-screen TVs and a VIP area, and it serves yards of draft beer for the supremely thirsty.
Then suggest clients take Monday off from work. They're going to need it!