You might have read that the Las Vegas Hilton's days as a Hilton are numbered (if my calculations are correct, there are exactly 183 of them left).
Today we learned that the the Atlantic City Hilton has already lost its licensing agreement with Hilton Hotels and Resorts and must change its name, ASAP. It's not clear exactly when the agreement lapsed, but the property has begun rebranding itself as... the ACH.
Check out the website if you don't believe me.
The ACH name is obviously a placeholder. The property is currently for sale and there's absolutely no excuse to go through the effort and expense of a bona fide rebranding. At this stage, it adds nothing to the purchase price, so why bother?
Hopefully someone buys the property, invests some dollars, and gives it a thorough makeover and a new identity. For some reason the name "Seaside" is jumping out at me as a good one. It's rooted in one of the things the place has going for, its location. But they'll probably plug it into the Vdara hotel name generator and get a random string of consonants and vowels that has no tie to history, geography, or aesthetics.
The Las Vegas Hilton isn't changing signs yet, but it's going to have to do the same thing by the end of the year. Here things are a little different. The property isn't, to my knowledge, for sale. Right now it doesn't have a lot going right, but you can't find a better location for business travelers: adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center with a monorail that can take you to the Strip if you don't want to wait for a taxi. So I don't think it'll close--there has to be someone who sees the upside in the place, even if Colony hasn't had the best of luck with it.
So assuming that the Las Vegas Hilton isn't closing, what is it going to be called on January 1, 2012? Here are a few possibilities:
1. It affiliates with another national hotel brand. Hyatt? Wyndham? La Quinta? In any event, it wouldn't exactly bring pizazz to the property, and frankly it would be boring.
2. They go back to the future and rename themselves the International and go for a funky midcentury modern retheming. I'm seeing a Mad Men meets tiki bar vibe. Which might not make sense, but it does to me.
3. Return, hat in hand, to Cedar Fair and get a new Star Trek: The Experience open. This time, retheme the entire property to match: you could call it:
A) Star Trek: The Hotel Casino
B) Quark's Gambling Hall, Inn, and Resort
C) The Risa Suites (free horga'hn with checkin!)
D) The Final Frontier Casino Resort
4. Paradise Casino Resort: that's the street it's on, at least.
That's all I can think of...they've definitely got their work cut out for them. I'll stick with the International as the favorite, unless they just license another brand name.
In the LVRJ article, I talked about what Hilton Hotels might do next. Yes, they've got several properties around town, but they're not exactly convenient on the Strip or the kinds of destinations that would incent your loyalty program members. So it seems like they will be affiliating themselves with another casino.
Assuming that the MGM and Caesars properties are off the table, what does that leave them?
Wynn is already working with Pinnacle, though I don't know whether that would rule out an alliance with a purely hotel brand. LVS has Intercontinental. Cosmopolitan has Marriott.
That leaves the Tropicana, Treasure Island, Riviera, and Stratosphere.
My money would be on the first two--they'd both benefit from the added database. The Riviera, with new owners, is in flux right now. The Stratosphere is also a possibility, though I'd say it's way behind Tropicana and Treasure Island.
Let the speculation begin.