Recently the Motley Fool website ran an article on the changing Las Vegas landscape. It sounded a lot like what I tell my tour guests when they ask about Las Vegas today: The Las Vegas of today is less about gambling and more about the experience. Here are the 5 bets you can be sure on about the future of Las Vegas.
- More tourists
Ok, this one was kind of a given. But as we learned with 9/11 and the crash of 2008/2009, you can never be too sure. Last year we had a record 41 million tourists visit our little island in the desert. And from what all the indicators are showing, 2016 will be even better. We are looking at 43 million for the year if everything continues like it is.
- They aren’t gambling as much
This one is interesting. According to the LVCVA 2015 tourist survey, fewer people are gambling but those that are, are gambling more. 77% gambled in 2011., 73% gambled in 2015. They spent on average $345 in 2011 compared with $422 in 2015. They are spending more elsewhere: dining, shows, and entertainment (including tours!).
Steve Wynn was correct in 1998 when he told people at the opening of the Bellagio that gambling would no longer be the cash cow of the casino. People thought he was crazy to say that. But he was right back then and still is today. Vegas is moving (slowly) away from gambling as the main draw for tourists.
- Still the largest in the world
When it comes to holding records, Las Vegas has the market cornered. We are home to the largest, biggest, badest, tallest… you name it, we probably have the record holder of it right here. Las Vegas is home to some of the largest hotels in the world. 17 out of the top 27 – 25 out of the top 50 largest hotels are located in Las Vegas. The Palazzo/Venetian being the largest with 7,200 rooms (suites). Las Vegas occupancy rate is at 89%. The national average is about 63%.
- To win, bet on Wynn
To bet against Steve Wynn is to make a fool’s bet. He knows how to make money with hotels and casinos and he knows how to fill them with guests who want to spend their money.
Now it looks like he will get his dream. To tear out the golf course and put in a convention center complex and fantasy lagoon. And it will make money! Currently, his namesake hotel boasts a $321 a night average rate with a 91% occupancy. The best one the Strip.
- Conventions, Conventions, and more Conventions are coming
I have always said that if there is a group of people who get together, they will have a convention and there is a good chance that convention will find its way to Las Vegas. People keep asking “Does the Las Vegas Convention Center really need the Riviera space?” – Personally, I was not in favor of tearing down the Riviera for the convention center.
The convention center needs more space and it definitely needed a Las Vegas Strip address and entrance. They got that with the Riviera purchase. To answer if they need the space? I would say to look at the Convention Calander
I can say that pretty much every hotel on the Strip and even most of the large ones downtown are preparing to attract more meetings and more conventions. Everyone seems to be adding space or reconfiguring what they have to accommodate more conventions and meetings. More conventions are coming and more want to come. But it’s a tough business to be in because other cities caught on and they now want to have the business Vegas used to take for granted.
What are your thoughts on the changing Vegas scene??
Photos: Tom Donoghue