Las Vegas Sands, InterContinental ink 10-year deal

AP News
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Posted: Oct 25, 2010 7:33 PM
Las Vegas Sands, InterContinental ink 10-year deal

InterContinental Hotels Group and Las Vegas Sands Corp. have signed a 10-year deal to link Sands' resorts in Sin City with the customer database of the operator of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and other hotels worldwide.

Executives for the companies announced the deal Monday in Las Vegas, touting it as beneficial for both operators and their customers.

The move will give Sands access to InterContinental's 52-million-member database and give their loyal customers an option to stay on the Las Vegas Strip and earn or redeem rewards points.

Sands owns the Venetian and Palazzo casino-resorts.

Michael Leven, chief operating officer of Sands, says he expects the deal to drive room rates up and bring potential new customers to the resort.

InterContinental, based in Denham, England, owns, leases, franchises or manages more than 4,500 hotels in 100 countries.

Leven said Sands' database currently includes roughly 2 million customers, but the new deal expands that and allows InterContinental salespeople to sell rooms along with meetings and conventions at the Las Vegas Strip destination.

Terms of the licensing arrangement weren't disclosed. But Leven said the deal is one that likely wouldn't have been considered three years ago, when casinos here were making huge profits and consistently filled.

"Business here up through 2007 was rather spectacular, and frankly, I don't think anybody really felt they had to look outside their own world," he said. "This idea, which came up a few months ago, really should have come up earlier."

Jim Abrahamson, Americas president for InterContinental, said the arrangement gives InterContinental its only offering on the Las Vegas Strip, a popular destination for tourists and conventioneers.

Leven said executives first began talking about the arrangement in July. He said he expected the systems to be integrated and fully operational by the first quarter next year.

The move is similar to a partnership between the yet-to-open Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Marriott International Inc. announced in August. Marriott's database includes 33 million members.

Shares of Sands rose 67 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $39.45 Monday.