Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Quick Review of the New Hollywood Casino St. Louis

In October 2012 Penn National closed on its purchase of Harrahs in Maryland Heights.  We recently spent a Sunday evening checking out the new owners of the newly renamed Hollywood Casino St. Louis.  It was no secret that the Harrahs now Caesar's corporation has been hit with some hard times.  Evidence of Harrah's deferred maintenance is in abundance. Penn National has it work cut out if it is going to upgrade this property to the 21st Century.  This casino is still in transition with banks of slot machines labeled to be replaced.  The non-smoking section has been reduced by half.  Although Harrahs marketed itself as having the largest non smoking slot section in St. Louis our visits found that this section was an empty wasteland most the time.  Even on a busy Saturday night. Smoking and gambling still go hand in hand.

Missouri Casinos have always maintained a larger slot hold than their neighbors.  And Hollywood Casino is no exception.  Expect tight slots. Midwest players love their penny machines and majority of the slots are pennies at Hollywood.  Competitor Ameristar Casino, across the river, has had a policy of upgrading their slot floor with newer slot machines for the last few years.  We believe that "new" is another word for tight.  We thought the Hollywood Casino slots were tighter then Ameristar and that is saying something.  With the casino noticeably missing patrons, and those that were gambling noticeably complaining about their losses, Hollywood really failed to make a good impression during our visit checking out the new owners. We have never seen so many slot machines were the players quit with payouts of less than a dollar in a very long time.  90.6 aggregate pay out is not going to crack it with competitors such as River City, Casino Queen, and their sister property the Alton Belle offering higher slot paybacks.  We know that Harrahs always ran neck and neck with Ameristar as the casino with the tightest hold in St. Louis but it doesn't seem to be the ideal business model for competition of the local's dollar.   Especially when you are the new kid on the block.    

Hollywood Casino has more than 90 table games. We have dabbled at the craps table with no luck. $5.00 minimum tables are available throughout the week. Young son swears by the blackjack tables. Have not seen any 6-5 tables, though.  We assume that  $15.00 minimum bet will be the norm on Saturdays.  Like Ameristar, Hollywood offered gimmick versions of blackjack. 21 plus 3 handed poker for example.

Hollywood players club transferred Harrahs comp balance to their system.  A very good thing. Apparently you can redeem comps for cash but the system wouldn't let us do it during our visit.

Hollywood has kept the Eat Up! Buffet.  With out a doubt still the premier buffet in the St.Louis area.  However we couldn't help but notice during our lunch that the lines to get the food were longer than ever for some reason.  And frankly some of the food was cold and some of the dishes were empty with no replacement during our visit. They sat there empty the entire time we were dining.  If they kept the same Harrah's employees it has to be the management that needs to work out the kinks

Charlie Gitto's.  Hollywood's version of the venerable Hill restaurant offers an extremely attractive early dining special menu. Most entrees are under $15.00.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall's Incredible Cruise Sale

Cruise deals are plentiful this fall.   It is a great time to book a cruise.  We encourage you to call our office for the best deals.  For example here are three deals we found just today>>>

Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Cruises
5nt Bahamas from Pt Canaveral

Prices include all taxes for an inside category 4A with a king sized bed. Based on low season dates. Summer, holidays and peak season dates may be higher. All prices are subject to availability and to change by the cruise line until booked. Please advise if military, retired military with at least 2 years service, or interline employee for possible additional discounts.

Rates from: $349

Caribbean Princess, Princess Cruises
7nt Canada New England
Price is per person based on double occupancy for a minimum inside cabin with two lower beds that can convert to a Queen. Prices subject to availability at the time of booking. Prices include all taxes. Other dates may be slightly higher........We cannot check for past guest fares without your past guest number......Some dates offer free shipboard credit or wine.

Only available to residents of the US and Canada

Rates from: $742

Freedom of the Seas, Royal Caribbean
$25 off All Categories
Discount offer on rates for all Categories.

Only available to residents of the US and Canada

Rates from: $549

All rates are per person and subject to availability.  Taxes and other fees are not included.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Free Copy of the the latest On The Go Magazine

Click this link to read the most recent issue of On The Go Magazine from GOGO Vacations.

Price Beat Promise If we can book it, we will beat it!

Our partner GOGO Vacations, the inventor of the package vacations, recently announced their price beat promise. And it is very good news for travelers booking through Planet Travel.

We no longer match on price, we go one better – we beat it! We pledge to beat any verified quote by $10.00 per paying adult and $5.00 per paying child.

Who will GOGO price beat?
If you find a vacation package from another US travel provider at a lower price (wholesalers, major on    - line retailers or hotel direct), GOGO Worldwide Vacations will beat the same package and price upon verification.*

When will GOGO  price beat?

Anytime prior to full payment, if the price is available and GOGO can book it will beat it.

What do I need?
All you need are the details of the quote, and the competitor’s name. Wherever possible a written quote will expedite the verification.

Do I have to wait?
You’ll never have to wait because your Planet Travel/GOGO consultant is empowered to beat the price on the spot.No waiting. No authorization.

The fine print:

*GOGO price beat policy does not apply to companies outside the United States, online auction/bid websites, military, friends and family discounts and senior discounts.  Groups and third party products will be handled on an individual basis. Wholesalers price beat policy: US wholesalers only, contracted commissions are paid, least expensive air will be booked and paid for using applicable payment policies and cancellation penalties. Major Online Retailer price beat policy: US online retail travel companies only, service fees cannot be added to the booking, must follow online travel companies payment/cancellation policies. Hotel Direct price beat policy: we price beat on hotels

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Consumer Reports Offers Six Tips For Saving Money On Airfare

Consumer Reports Offers Six Tips For Saving On Airfare

Consumer Reports has some tips that can help cut the cost of flying, plus help organize your search for the best deal. In addition to setting up alerts to track fares and searching for domestic flights three and a half months prior to booking (five and a half for international), you should also buy your ticket early—you'll pay a premium if you wait to within 14 days of travel.

Click the above link to read more.