The number of visitors to Las Vegas may have dropped more than 700,000 in 2017, to 42.2 million, but the profile shows they’re younger, more diverse, gambling less and more interested in other forms of entertainment, according to a recent survey conducted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The trend suggests “(a) relatively greater interest in active forms of entertainment… and further opportunities to create entertainments targeted to specific population segments,” per the report.
The annual study, released Tuesday, showed that the proportion of first-time visitors in 2017 declined somewhat from the “very high” 2016 measure. At the same time, Las Vegas continues to expand its appeal to new audiences.
Average adult party size in 2017 was 2.3, up slightly from 2.2 in 2015. Fewer 2017 visitors were accompanied by children under the age of 21, and there were fewer foreign visitors, reflecting the recent decline in international tourism to the U.S.
Visitors were, on average, more active within the destination than in recent years, and more likely to take part in a variety of activities like seeing a show or visiting nightclubs and lounges. “It is clear that the expanding array of entertainment options and venues available have resonated well with current visitors.”
The report cited an improving economy and greater overall confidence in personal finances as reflected in various Las Vegas spending measures. Visitors in 2017 reported spending more on food and drink, lodging, local transportation, and sightseeing as compared to 2015.
Strip casinos earn between 65 and 70 percent of their revenues from non-gaming.
Las Vegas visitors reported higher spending on food and drink than in each of the past five years. The mean was $376.97, a $50 increase, on average, over 2016.
Gaming behavior continued to reflect Las Vegas’ status as the entertainment capital of the world. The proportion of Las Vegas visitors who gambled increased in 2017 to about 75 percent, but time spent gambling was the lowest observed in five years, at just over one-and-a-half hours, and visitors’ average gambling budget decreased slightly, to $541.18.
About nine in ten visitors who gambled said they gambled on the Strip, while four in ten reported gambling downtown, a significant increase from past year findings. The proportion of visitors to downtown Las Vegas increased significantly from past years, to 57 percent; nearly two-thirds of these visitors cited the Fremont Street Experience as their reason for visiting downtown.
The average length of stay in 2017 was similar to 2016, and up from 2013-2015 levels. Visitors were most likely to stay in a hotel, and nearly three-quarters reported staying within the Strip corridor.
Nearly six in ten visitors in 2017 attended shows during their stay, an increase from 2016. About half of all visitors who saw shows saw a lounge act, while more than one in four saw a Broadway or production show. More than 20% saw big-name headliner shows.
The 2017 Las Vegas visitor was much more likely to go to a bar without a cover charge, either free-standing or in-hotel, and were also more likely to visit nightclubs with cover charges, pool parties, day clubs, or other paid attractions in Las Vegas.
“These findings are correlated with the increased number of first-time, younger visitors seen beginning in 2016, who were more likely than repeat and older visitors to engage in these activities and visit these types of venues,” the report said.
Two-thirds of visitors in 2017 made reservations for accommodations more than one month in advance, a significant increase over past years. About half the total number of visitors paid a regular room rate, similar to last year but a large increase over the 2013-2015 numbers. Nearly one in five visitors reported paying either a package or a tour group rate, also similar to last year but up from 13 percent in 2013 and 15 percent in 2015. Fewer visitors reported paying a casino rate.
The average cost of lodging did not increase significantly over 2016, but the cost among those who paid a non-package rate and did not receive a complimentary rate was significantly higher than in 2013-2015. Some 56 percent of visitors who paid a non-package rate and did not receive a complementary rate said they first heard about their rate from a web site, a significant increase from past years. Less than ten percent say they heard about the rate through a reservation agent.
Some 76 percent of visitors reported being ‘very satisfied’ with their trip to Las Vegas in 2017, a decrease from recent years, while nearly one-quarter said they were ‘somewhat satisfied,’ an increase over recent results. Only two percent of visitors said they were dissatisfied with their visit, although this increased from less than one percent in 2013-2015.
Approximately three-fourths of 2017 Las Vegas visitors were married. They were more likely to be employed than in 2013-2015, and less likely to be retired. Approximately half of 2017 visitors were college graduates.
Nearly one-half were from the western United States, down slightly from past years; about three in ten were from California. One in six visitors were from foreign countries, and the 2017 visitor base continued the 2016 trend of being more ethnically diverse, as three in ten identified themselves as non-white.
More than eight in ten reported earning $40,000 or more, with just over one-quarter earning $80,000 or more. Both figures were up from 2016. The proportion of visitors who were 40 years old or older was just over half, and the average age was 44.3. Both measures are similar to last year, but younger than the 2013-2015 results.
Nearly one-half of visitors said they used their own vehicles while traveling around Las Vegas, while 14 percent said they used a rental car. Three in ten reported taking a taxi, a slight increase over last year, and one in five said they used a ride-sharing service, an increase of more than seven percent over 2016. 46 percent arrived by air, 54 percent by ground transportation.
The use of travel agents for trip planning decreased compared to 2013-16 figures, and nearly seven in ten visitors reported using websites, social media and apps. More than four in ten of those users said they consulted reviews at online travel agencies, and three in ten of these visitors said they consulted reviews at hotel or show venue sites.
Most travelers who self-booked via the Web or an app used an airline website, and more travelers reported using the Web or a mobile app to book accommodations as opposed to calling the venue directly.