Las Vegas nears pre-pandemic visitation in October

November 29, 2022 7:11 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
November 29, 2022 7:11 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

Las Vegas edged closer to its pre-pandemic self by hosting 3.63 million visitors in October, falling 29,000 visitors short of matching the count in October 2019.

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As convention business roared back last month, Las Vegas recorded 7.3% more visitors than the 3.39 million that came to the city in October 2021, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The report came as Nevada, led by Las Vegas, surpassed $1 billion in gaming revenue for the 20th consecutive month.

The LVCVA attributed the strong performance in part to convention attendance at 628,100, surpassing the 525,300 in October 2019. It was 475,500 in October 2021.

Convention attendance was evidenced by a strong showing at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas in October, which nearly matched pre-pandemic years. That bodes well for a solid finish to the year and robust start to 2023 with the Consumer Electronics Show.

“With an improving conventions segment, combined with several events, including the dual-weekend When We Were Young music festival, two Raiders home games, and the NASCAR South Point 400 race, the month saw the destination host over 3.6 million visitors, nearly matching the tally of October 2019,” the LVCVA said in a release.

Hotel occupancy reached 87.7% in October, the highest level since November 2019. Occupancy was 6.1% higher than October 2021 and 2.3% lower than October 2019, according to LVCVA stats.

Weekend occupancy reached 94%, a level not seen since the 94.8% figure of February 2020, the month immediately preceding the COVID shutdown, while midweek occupancy reached 85.1%, the highest figure since October 2019’s 87.1% tally.

Strip occupancy reached 88.7% in October, just below the 91.3% in October 2019. It was 83.4% a year ago.

Downtown occupancy of 84.2% nearly matched the 84.8% in October 2019. It was 73.6% in October 2021.

The demand in October shattered the monthly record. The average daily room rate approached $210, a 20.8% increase year over year and 55.1% ahead of October 2019.

Revenue per available room surpassed $184 in October, a 30% increase year over year and 51.1% more than October 2019.

Totals weren’t available Tuesday on how many passengers traveled through Harry Reid International Airport. Passenger vehicle traffic from California and other states also wasn’t available.

Josh Swissman, founder of The Strategy Organization, said the latest numbers are a great sign for Las Vegas. The flourishing convention business and variety of customers visiting the city boost the profits of the casino industry, he said.

During their third-quarter earnings calls, casino executives repeatedly cited October as one of their best months in history and future convention bookings were healthy.

“It tells me we’re finally nearing back to capacity or reaching what was taken away three years ago,” said Brendan Bussmann, managing partner at B Global. “It shows the resiliency that exists in Las Vegas to bring back these events and to be a hub for business. Now that we’re back, if you want to call it that, I think there’s still room for growth. I think as we add events down the pipeline, there’s going to be an ability to grow those numbers beyond 2019 and look forward to a long future.”