Following Sunday’s deadly shooting in Las Vegas, in which a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, travel industry officials are still working to assess the impact of the attack.
“Unfortunately these attacks are a new way of life,” Chris Thompson, president and CEO of Brand USA, told Travel Agent at a recent media breakfast, noting that, at the same time, it was important to take every incident like this seriously.
“I don’t think it’s going to have any more negative impact than anywhere else,” Thompson said. “I would still argue that the United States is one of the most secure and safe places in the world.”
Thompson noted that, unfortunately, destinations all over the world were figuring out how to deal with incidents like the Vegas shooting. “I think we’re all collectively figuring out how to deal with that,” Thompson said.
The night of October 3 digital marquees along the Las Vegas Strip and throughout Las Vegas unveiled the #VegasStrong marquee tribute, with a message stating “We’ve been there for you during the good times. Thank you for being there for us now. #VegasStrong." The tribute will run for the next 24 hours.
"The thoughts and prayers of all of Las Vegas go out to the victims and their families,” Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said in a written release. “This was a horrific, yet isolated, incident. At this time, it is important to allow the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police to conclude their investigation into the incident and to attend to the needs of the victims and their families. Las Vegas is a strong community that will work through this tragic incident. We are grateful beyond words to our incomparable law enforcement, first responders and everyone who continues to help victims and their families."
“On behalf of the entire Route 91 Harvest Family, we are completely devastated by the event that occurred Sunday night,” the Route 91 Harvest Festival, the outdoor country music concert series targeted by the shooter, said. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the injured and the deceased and their loved ones, senseless violence has claimed the souls of our fans and we have little in the way of answers. Our eternal gratitude goes out to the LVPD, Emergency services, security guards, and fans for their selfless acts of bravery while trying to help those in need.
“While we will try and move forward, we will never forget this day.
We will NOT let hate win over LOVE.
We will NOT be defeated by senseless violence.
We WILL persevere, and honor the souls that were lost.
Because it matters.”
Bloomberg reports that, as of Monday afternoon, guards at the Wynn Las Vegas were scanning guests with metal-detector wands and inspecting their bags before guests were allowed inside, with one anonymous executive at another casino operator telling Bloomberg that security checks of this nature are probably the industry’s future. MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, and Wynn Resorts Ltd. declined to comment.
At the same time, hospitality experts interviewed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal said that installing metal detectors could prove too intrusive for guests.
“No matter what we do, there are always going to be security issues,” Mehmet Erdem, a hospitality professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, told the Review-Journal. “Everyone should be flagging odd behavior.”
Airlines, Hotels Aid Victims
As the travel industry continues to cope with the impact of the shooting, airlines and hotels are stepping in to help aid victims. MGM has pledged $3 million to fund humanitarian assistance to victims of the shooting, along with organizations who provide support to first responders.
“There are simply no words to express our grief and outrage over this senselles and horrific attack on our community,” Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, said in a written release announcing the donation. “Yet in this devastating time, we are inspired. From the heroic stories of victims on the ground who placed the safety of strangers and loved ones before themselves, to the incredible bravery of first responders who rushed in when others were rushing out and who surely lessened the damage, to the knowledge of so many good and incomplete works done by those we lost – we are collectively drawing strength and faith to meet the difficult days ahead.”
MGM is also one of the companies providing room assistance to those who lost loved ones in the attack. The company has made counselors available and established a dedicated hotline to help out of town families of victims arrange airfare and accommodations. According to the LVCVA, other companies offering room assistance include:
- Boyd Gaming properties - 888-582-6278
- Red Rock Resorts/Stations Casinos
- SouthPoint Hotel Casino
- Siegel Suites
The Ronald McDonald House is also accepting donations and has room to host family members.
In terms of airlines, Allegiant Air is offering travel assistance for family members trying to reach loved ones; contact [email protected].
American Airlines is waiving change fees for customers traveling through Las Vegas through October 8, with rebooked travel to take place through October 13 in the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference).
Delta is waiving change fees for customers flying through October 8. Rebooked travel must take place through October 13, with the new ticket to be issued on or before that date.
United Airlines is waiving the change fee and any difference in fare for customers flying through October 6 for rebooked travel to take place through October 13, between the same city pair in the same cabin. For wholly rescheduled travel departing after October 13, or for a change in departure or destination city, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply. Rescheduled travel must be completed within one year from the date when the ticket was reissued.
Southwest Airlines customers flying through October 6 can rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of the original date of travel between the same city pair.
Air Canada is allowing customers flying through October 9 to change their flight free of charge to another date through October 23 in the original cabin. Guests can also choose to travel to an alternate destination, but a fare difference may apply.
Travelers on WestJet through October 9 can take advantage of the airline’s flexible change and cancel rules. Call 1-888-937-8538 (1-888-WESTJET) for air-only reservations, or 1-877-737-7001 for WestJet Vacations.
Sunday’s shooting during the Route 91 Harvest Festival killed at least 58 people and wounded 500 more when a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay during a performance by country music artist Jason Aldean. The suspect was found dead in his room by police, who believe that he killed himself as the police closed in. The investigation into his motivations remains ongoing.