|Las Vegas SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional
Feb. 17, 2012--High-profile Las Vegas hotels have changed names before. The original MGM Grand became Bally's in 1985. The Aladdin became Planet Hollywood in 2007. The International became the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971.
But when the Las Vegas Hilton changed its name to LVH -- Las Vegas Hotel & Casino this year, it faced an obstacle few of its predecessors had: re-branding in the Google era.
Picking a property name in 2012 means considering how people might find out about the hotel when using a search engine. And that appears to be a problem for LVH.
Without paid placement, when searching for "lvh" on Google, the top results are for a hospital group in Pennsylvania (Lehigh Valley Health Network) and the Wikipedia page for a possible indicator of heart disease (left ventricular hypertrophy). Of the first 10 results on Google as of Thursday evening, only two were related to the former Las Vegas Hilton: a news story from a Las Vegas-based blog and the booking page for the hotel from a travel site, not the hotel itself.
The search results get even more troublesome for the property if you search for "las vegas hotel" on Google. The first page of non-paid results is filled with links to several other Las Vegas hotels -- including the Bellagio, Venetian and Casino Royale -- as well as numerous other travel sites but nothing for the property that has the actual name of the exact search term used.
Things get a little better for LVH when searching for "las vegas hilton." As of Thursday, the first result for that search term on Google was a travel site's booking page for the hotel. The second result from the search engine was a news story, and the third result was the property's own website.
Similar results are seen on other popular search engines like Yahoo! and bing.
The Las Vegas Hilton name change was announced late last year. Officials at Goldman Sachs decided on LVH against the in-house recommendation of some longtime hotel execs, who preferred to return to the property's original name, the International.
The court-appointed receiver for LVH -- Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, Ronald Johnson says business is suffering at the property and it needs new signage and assorted refurbishments and repairs. Johnson said that since the LVH lost the right to use the Hilton name on Jan. 3, business has suffered. For reasons that haven't been disclosed, the property's Hilton license wasn't renewed.
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