by CAT SMITH
Special to the Bee
LAUGHLIN-A new group on social media is creating buzz around the Laughlin community with the announcement of their first-ever “Best of Laughlin” survey.
The survey was unveiled earlier this year on the growing popular “Laughlin Buzz” Facebook page, which was created by husband and wife duo, Jeff “Scott” and Lisa Johnson, along with their 17-year-old daughter, Kristen.
The page is now closing in on the 2,000 member mark with 1,771 members from all over the nation, even worldwide.
“We created the group page in late August of 2014,” said Scott Johnson. “We already had a regular Facebook page, but wanted to give people a place to share their experiences, photos, engage in discussions, or ask questions about Laughlin or the immediate Tri-State area.”
Johnson said his goal of the page is aimed to be a fun, sociable group for both local people and visitors to enjoy.
“The regular Laughlin Buzz Facebook page is more limiting in reach and not as conducive to people engaging and sharing with each other. So, the group was born,” he said. “It is more of a gathering place for everyone to share and talk about what’s happening in the area.
Furthermore, the Facebook group page is the sibling to Johnson’s website Laughlin Buzz that offers a blog of alerts to happenings in Laughlin as well as reviews on events. The website was created in 2011 shortly after the Johnson’s moved to the Tri-State area.
As to why the “Best of Laughlin” survey was created, Johnson said, “We noticed there were no “Best Of” surveys for the Laughlin area, as there are for many other tourism areas. When readers of our blog and other social media sites kept asking if there was one, the survey was born.”
He added it was to also focus on the niche of recognizing the best of the best in the small, gambling mecca.
Although, the winners are awarded a virtual graphic—designed by group member Amy Reinert—this time around, Johnson hopes next year for the contest the group will be able to recognize the winners with a certificate.
The winners of the survey were chosen from the thousand of votes submitted online over the course of three months. Voters casting ballots included many locals and visitors to the Colorado River region.
“We had voters from all over the United States, Canada and some from England,” said Johnson. “Next year, we plan to start the contest earlier to allow everyone who visits Laughlin throughout the year a chance to vote.”
Johnson said he chose that because some people only visit the region once or twice a year.
“We want the survey to include their experiences as well,” he said. “This, however, is a bit different than how most “Best Of” surveys are done.”
Johnson added that people from all over utilize the group as a resource to learn about the on-goings in Laughlin. “We get comments, messages and emails every day from people who visit, are part-time residents, and even locals. They tell us how the group gives them information and details about things going on. It also gives them a chance to interact with others who share the same interest. We—the group—is more than just being about the visible and publicized tourism features and events.”
He hopes as the group continues growing, more of the members begin participating in and volunteering at local events, especially those geared to helping the community.
“One of our goals is to not only showcase Laughlin as a wonderful place to live and visit, but also to help create positive change and give back to the community,” Johnson said. “We truly appreciate all the awesome people who have helped the group grow organically by word of mouth and it’s positive message.”
Johnson also believes those reviews are reaching the ears of the casino managers in Laughlin.
“Based on some of the feedback we have received from several of our sources, we believe the group page is helping each other in a positive way,” he said.
The Aquarius Resort Casino rounded out the survey nabbing ten “Best Of” awards, which included the top award for “Best Overall Casino”. Don Laughlin’s Riverside Casino came in second with nine awards, naming them the best casino for table games, while Laughlin River Lodge was awarded their first award of “Best Wi-Fi”.
The complete list of winners are as follows:
Best Overall Resort Casino—Aquarius Resort Casino; Best Hotel—Aquarius Resort Casino; Best Slots—Aquarius Resort Casino; Best Table Games—Riverside Resort; Best Poker—Colorado Belle Casino Resort; Best Video Poker—Aquarius Resort Casino; Best Keno—Avi Resort Casino; Best Video Keno—Avi Resort Casino; Best Bingo—Riverside Resort; Best Players Club—Total Rewards at Harrah’s Laughlin; Best Customer Service—Aquarius Resort Casino; Best Sports Book—William Hill Sports Book at Edgewater Casino Resort; Best Place to Watch Sports—Gold Diggers at Golden Nugget Laughlin; Best Casino Bar—Cove Bar and Lounge at Aquarius Resort Casino; Best Drink Service on Casino Floor—Harrah’s Laughlin; Best Lounge for Music—Caboose Lounge at Tropicana Laughlin; Best Lounge to Dance—Loser’s Lounge at Riverside Resort; Best “Locals” Bar—The Hideout; Best Restaurant—Saltgrass Steakhouse at Golden Nugget Laughlin; Best Buffet or Brunch—Fresh Market Buffet at Harrah’s Laughlin; Best Steakhouse—Saltgrass Steakhouse at Golden Nugget Laughlin; Best Breakfast—Bumbleberry Flats at Pioneer Hotel and Gambling Hall; Best Shrimp Cocktail—Sidewalk Cafe at Riverside Resort; Best Burger—Daniel’s Restaurant at Regency Casino; Best Pizza—Pints Brewery and Sports Bard at Colorado Belle Casino Resort; Best Sub or Sandwich—Capriotti’s at Edgewater Casino Resort; Best Cafe or Diner—Cafe Aquarius at Aquarius Resort Casino; Best Special Occasion Dining—Saltgrass Steakhouse at Golden Nugget Laughlin; Best Mexican Food—Casa Serrano at Riverside Resort; Best Seafood—Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Golden Nugget Laughlin; Best Coffee House—Duet Coffee and Wine at Aquarius Resort Casino; Best Place for Happy Hour—Pints Brewery and Sports Bart at Colorado Belle Casino Resort; Best Bloody Mary—Cove Bar and Lounge at Aquarius Resort Casino; Best Ice Cream—Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory at Laughlin Outlet Mall; Best Sweets/Desserts—Poolside Cafe at Tropicana Laughlin; Best Late Night Eats—Carnegie’s Cafe at Tropicana Laughlin; Best Chef—Craig Pinkard, Bumbleberry Flats at Pioneer Hotel and Gambling Hall; Best Casino Host—Sharon Almquist at Aquarius Resort Casino; Best Shopping in the Outlet Mall—Burkes; Best Casino Gift Shop—Harrah’s Laughlin; Best Beach—Harrah’s Laughlin; Best Movie Theater—Riverside Resort; Best River Cruise—U.S.S. Riverside at Riverside Resort; Best Concert Venue—Laughlin Event Center; Best Neon Sign—River Rick Cowboy Sign at Pioneer Hotel and Gambling Hall; Best Casino Exterior Look—Colorado Belle Casino Resort; Best Part of the Riverwalk—Pioneer Hotel and Gambling Hall; Best Place To See A Concert—Laughlin Event Center; Best Holiday or Event—Laughlin River Run; Best Non-Gaming Attraction—Antique Car Collection at Riverside Resort; Best Outdoor Attraction—Laughlin Riverwalk; Best Hidden Gem—Colorado River Heritage Greenway Trail; Best Wedding Venue—U.S.S. Riverside at Riverside Resort; Best Spa Services—Harrah’s Laughlin and Best Wi-Fi—Laughlin River Lodge.
For more on the group or to check out their blog, visit www.laughlinbuzz.com.
by CAT SMITH