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Tripping Macau

The boss sent Chuckmoster to Macau to see what the deal was with Asia's Las Vegas. He returned smitten and poured his love it into creating the world's first guide to Macau casinos. This was his blog until we invited long time contributor and Macau expert Dramman join the team. Hi.

Tracking Airfares To Hong Kong With Hopper

» posted by Chuckmonster
  on 20 Nov 2015

Two months before I last went to Macau, I bought a brand new smartphone - a Palm Treo 780 - which, at the time was a hot shit device. It had a keyboard, a touch sensitive screen and a stylus to tap the tiny buttons. It was the only smartphone phone on the market that had any degree of interoperability with Apple products. I've been an Apple user since I was in 7th grade - 1982. I don't feel old.

In the three months I had the Palm Treo 780, I had already had it repaired because the screen cracked. I also couldn't get the Handspring app store to work properly. I primarily used it to check email and post photos to Flickr. Only a few months later, Apple introduced the iPhone, which, as you probably know, changed literally everything.

Change is the only thing that is permanent.

During my last trip to Macau, we procured airline tickets not by searching travel retailers or doing comparison shopping but by calling a China travel focused brick and mortar travel agent. Archaic, but this is how my dedicated wife Miss Monkay (the true brain of this operation) managed to find the best price. She is an expert at booking travel, online and off. Part of her expertise is steadfast dedication to not overpay. Whereas I will often say "that's good enough" she says "are you kidding me with that price?"

So how does my wife, the laser focused, quasi-cheapskate travel booking expert shop for long distance air fares in the age of apps, information and big data?

She recommended to me a flight price tracking app called Hopper. She's been using the app for about six months, tracking airline prices for a future family vacation. Hopper uses pricing data published by airlines to create realtime models that track and predict pricing changes and notify users when best available pricing is found.

Since I'm in no rush to buy airline tickets, using Hopper seems like the perfect plan of attack for a trip so far in the future.

I downloaded Hopper from the App Store and fired it up.

Hopper Welcome

Hopper, as in rabbit... cute. The app immediately used geotargeting to find the airport(s) nearest me - Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). It then asked me to insert destination airport.

Hopper Search

I entered the Hong Kong airport code (HKG) and hit "Done." Hopper immediately started working, and working, and working... combing through tons of datasets of past and future flights from LAX to HKG, making comparisons and applying algorithms to predict pricing ranges for open ended travel between these two locations.

Hopper Legend

The simplicity is amazing. With my permission, Hopper automatically geotargeted my home airport then asked where I wanted to go. Within about 45 seconds, I was presented with a six month calendar, color coded by price derived from analysis of large sets of data. The calendar enables me to view holiday pricing surges, analyse advance booking trends and choose dates based on pricing.

Hopper Calendar

I extended the calendar out past the 6 month window to include my travel dates - June 2016.

I selected June 20-30 as a rough travel frame surrounding the June 25th opening of Wynn Palace by tapping the calendar. After tapping "Select These Dates" Hopper went back to work.

Hopper Watch

It returned with the news that the lowest price available for my trip right now is $1040 round trip and that I should watch the trip and wait for the prices to drop. It also offered a price predictions tied to specific calendar dates between now and departure. Amazing.

A quick tap on the "TIPS" tab ran my flight details through the Hopper yet again, where Hopper analyzed my travel dates, departure and arrival airport options to see if any further savings could be gleaned by making adjustments.

Per Hopper's suggestion, I elected to have them "Watch" this trip and send me notifications as to any major price changes.

Miss Monkay has received multiple notifications for the trip she was watching, and followed Hoppers suggestion to hold out for lower prices as her trip dates rapidly approached. Earlier this week, Hopper notified her that the price had hit a low target and she should buy the tickets now. Within the next few days the price went up by $100. Wow.

It's going to be interesting watching these prices changing and eventually pulling the trigger on airfare booking between now and June.

To be continued...

Wynn Palace Delayed Until June 25, 2016

» posted by Chuckmonster on 18 Nov 2015

Wynn Resorts announced today that the grand opening of Wynn Palace has been pushed back until June 25, 2016. The reason given is that construction contractor Leighton (whose lawyers recently sent our sister site VegasTripping a nastygram threatening cease and desist over this) will be unable to complete the property in time.

This is bad news for Wynn as the opening of their big resort has been delayed until after Chinese New Year. This is even worse news for Leighton as they lose out on the completion guarantee bonus for delivering the resort on time. Eeek!

Viva Macau! (Part Deux)

» posted by Chuckmonster on 10 Nov 2015

And so it begins... again.

Eight and a half years ago, on July 15 2007, I wrote and published the first blog post for MacauTripping. The plan was simple, in three months I would learn as much as I could about Macau - who owns what casino, what the hell am I going to do, where am I going to stay, how I would get there and when I would go.

MGM Cotai Renderings Revealed

» posted by Chuckmonster on 18 Jun 2013

MGM Resorts International released a number of renderings of the upcoming MGM Cotai project to investors.

The design theme builds on the layer cake design of MGM Grand Macau, but arranged into a tower of lucky 8 individual of jewel boxes and one glass atrium between the top two.

The window patterns are fascinating. I'll bet they don't exactly come out this way as meticulously framing the glass in these panes will cost a fortune and take a long long time.

Wynn Hires Leighton To Build Wynn Cotai

» posted by Chuckmonster on 13 Nov 2012

Wynn Resorts LTD has hired Australian contractor Leighton to shepherd Wynn Cotai from design to reality.

Wynn Cotai is the third project Leighton has collaborated on with Wynn and the fifth Macau gaming project overall. Leighton was the contractor of record for Wynn Macau, Wynn Encore Macau, Melco Crown's City of Dreams and SJM's Fisherman's Wharf projects.

Site preparation is already under way, with shovels "officially" scheduled to hit the dirt in December 2012 for an early 2016 opening.

Sheldon's Goose

» posted by Chuckmonster on 12 Nov 2012

With the U.S. President Barack Obama now re-elected, the eyes of one journalist has turned to the man who funded challenger Mitt Romney's campaign, Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson.

The U.S.'s National Broadcasting Company raises long lingering questions about Adelson's connection to organized crime, prostitution and other unsavory (?) sins while also indicting Macau via the old Jane Russell flick. Like, the coulda chosen the new James Bond film Skyfall as that has a few unsavory scenes in Macau (as imagined on a London soundstage) as did Roger Moore Bond chestnut The Man with the Golden Gun.

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Chuckmonster posted: "To @ccs and everyone else who has asked. JOIN ME! ..."
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canadiancrapshooter posted: "OMG, OMG, OMG, where do I sign up?? Seriously though, I'd love to head over. Not 100% sure if the dates..."
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jimmybond posted: "is it just me or do the window/siding patterns look an awful lot like the Hakkasan MGM rendering that was..."
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