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The lap of leisure
by Jessica Garcia
Aug 07, 2009 | 1080 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy LeisureLink.
Courtesy LeisureLink.
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Tribune/Debra Reid - 
Sherri McVey, director of leisure sales for John Ascuaga's Nugget, shows a two-room hospitality suite available for extended stays. The Nugget recently partnered up with LeisureLink and its travel Web site, www.abetterstay.com, as one of the site’s first hotel-casino offerings. Since its inception in 2002, the site has been dedicated to travelers seeking unusual destinations or accommodations for long-term stays.
Tribune/Debra Reid - Sherri McVey, director of leisure sales for John Ascuaga's Nugget, shows a two-room hospitality suite available for extended stays. The Nugget recently partnered up with LeisureLink and its travel Web site, www.abetterstay.com, as one of the site’s first hotel-casino offerings. Since its inception in 2002, the site has been dedicated to travelers seeking unusual destinations or accommodations for long-term stays.
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Travelers who shop for deals on the Internet are accustomed to using Web sites like Expedia and Travelocity to find hotels and airfare to places like New York, San Francisco, Paris or Hawaii.

But what about the beautiful Wisconsin Dells? Or the Alabama gulf coast? And don’t forget about Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina.

Since 2002, Pasadena, Calif.-based LeisureLink, Inc. has been catering to travelers who want the unique destinations or unique lodging options in the vacation hot spots. Keeping with the spirit of not-your-typical choices, LeisureLink recently partnered with John Ascuaga’s Nugget as part of the company’s first foray into the hotel/casino market.

LeisureLink’s Web site, www.abetterstay.com, differs from other travel Web sites by highlighting both stateside and international destinations that are not the typical tourist magnets. In addition, the site offers rental condominiums and other lodging that caters to families or longer stays.

LeisureLink senior vice president of sales Steve Reich said the distinctive portion of what LeisureLink does through its Web site is find the types of lodging vacationers would seek out that can be harder to access – including alternatives to the hotel rooms in typical places like downtown Reno or Las Vegas.

“There’s an array of condos, say, a ski condo, that’s tough to locate, with properties like that of the Nugget that are not flagged (on larger travel Web sites), but that’s what we made a specialty of in getting the word out of those unique specialty condo and rental spaces,” Reich said.

LeisureLink also channels properties listed on small Web sites like www.florida.com and shares them with a couple hundred other affiliates, Reich said. Now, working with places like the Nugget, LeisureLink can break into the mainstream hotel market.

Reich said they chose the Nugget because of its level of sophistication as a family-run and family-oriented property.

“From our perspective, given how aggressive the Nugget has priced themselves, they’ve positioned themselves for the economy and will pick up a fair amount of traffic,” Reich said.

The Nugget and LeisureLink have only established their partnership within the last couple of weeks and in their first three days together, the Nugget received three room bookings that came from ABetterStay.com.

“We don’t have a strong number at this point,” said Sherri McVey, director of leisure sales for the Nugget. “We haven’t been up and running long … and it doesn’t sound like much, but LeisureLink is not a major player (compared to Travelocity and Orbitz). Despite not having much visibility and the amount of traffic, we were pleasantly surprised. I expected three (bookings) a month within the first week just because they’re very small. … It’s not only a good fit for us, but it allows (LeisureLink) to stand out and search out a new market.”

The Nugget also finds LeisureLink’s services beneficial because the company uses a pay-for-performance model. LeisureLink, Reich said, doesn’t get paid unless it helps the Nugget sells its rooms.

In the Reno-Sparks area, the purpose is to attract vacationers who are looking to spend more time in this region, McVey said. The partnership will simply provide another avenue to pursue such customers.

“It’s going to get golfers and skiers,” McVey said. “Skiers will typically go to sites where they can get vacation rentals from our hotels, along with the (Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority) and other hotels. We can sell Reno-Sparks as their bed base and they can go up to the slopes and save their money for options of things to do.”
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