|The Caesars Team, from left: Tracey Clarke, manager, World Travel Agency; Selena Lau, marketing associate, Travel Pack; Melvin Nobel, owner, The Travel Guy; and Meetta Simpson, owner/manager, Travel Center of Lexington.|
Every year, US Airways hosts a scavenger hunt for travel agents to run all over Las Vegas and learn about the city. Five different resorts host agents (and media), and each team (identified by which hotel they stay in) has a dedicated van and driver. For a little more than four hours, the teams race around the city, solving riddles and figuring out clues, vying to be the first one back with all the right answers. (Every wrong answer adds 30 minutes to the final time, making it imperative not only to be fast, but also to be right.)
During the most recent hunt, which took place in May, 20 qualifying travel agents, based on sales to the city and its surrounds between August 2011 and January 2012, were split into five teams. We were placed with Team Caesars, and the fellow members were Melvin Nobel, owner, The Travel Guy; Tracey Clarke, manager, World Travel Agency; Selena Lau, marketing associate, Travel Pack; and Meetta Simpson, owner/manager, Travel Center of Lexington.
Participants were handed clues that demanded an almost unbelievably thorough knowledge of Las Vegas, its history and attractions. Nothing as simple as “What’s the oldest casino in Las Vegas?” No. The riddles were just about unsolvable without the help of search engines and impressive feats of memory. The first clue: “You could get TANKED but that would be the wrong choice…instead hang out and eat with the fish at their HIDEOUT. While you are having fun, work on this mathematical equation and find the room that is your answer: 53 x 261 + 20,597 ÷ 2.” The capitalized words referred to restaurants and attractions at the Golden Nugget, and we ran up to Room #17215 to find a lunch box waiting for us. (No time to eat, we were on to the next clue.)
Some of the answers required going to a particular casino or hotel and retrieving an object or accomplishing a task. At the Kingpin Suite at the Palms, someone had to bowl a strike on the suite’s private bowling lanes. We also had to locate where two photographs were taken: One of a clock and one of a statue...or, more specifically, a close-up shot of a statue’s foot. There were no other clues visible in the photos to help identify their location, making that task especially difficult.
The most informative riddles involved the restaurants: One question was a list of Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, referring to the eponymous BBQ restaurant at the Excalibur. Another had us tally up several items from a menu at the Monte Carlo’s Brand Steakhouse.
In the end, the winners were Patricia Whitmire of Leisurenet Travel in Greenville, SC; Joyce Briggs of Wide World Travel Service in Gastonia, NC; and George Selden of Sunshine Direct in Moosic, PA, who played on Team Bellagio. The winners received $10,000 in US Airways Gift Cards and $5,000 in shopping at Las Vegas participating locations. For the record, Team Caesars came in a close second, receiving...well, admiration and hearty pats on the back.