At the same time and separated by only a mile and a half, similar messages were delivered to different audiences – the Las Vegas tourism market remains stable during a period of economic fluctuations.
At The Venetian Expo, Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings told Global Gaming Expo attendees that customer spending on the Strip shows no signs of slowing from the current pace, which is causing casino revenues to exceed the record of 7 billion dollars collected a year ago by 25%.
Just as Billings was making his point, the board of directors of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority took a look at new consumer marketing television ads that humorously convey the message that the Strip remains a adult playground, with the necessary amenities for a well-deserved break.
The new marketing campaign comes as tourist numbers to the Strip remain 11% below 2019’s pre-pandemic level of 42.5 million visitors.
LVCVA chief marketing officer Kate Wik said the ads were based on consumer research that found potential visitors to Las Vegas had pent-up demand for travel after two years of pandemic-associated ‘bonds’. .
“We really give consumers permission to get away, to travel, to get away for fun. That’s what this campaign is about,” Wik said.
Gambling analysts, writing in research notes to the investment community, said this year’s tourism numbers are just a ripple on the surface of what 2023 might bring.
“The Strip’s calendar of conventions and events remains as compelling as ever over the next two years,” CBRE gaming analyst John DeCree wrote Monday. “High profile events like Formula 1 are shaping up to be a much bigger opportunity for the Las Vegas Strip than previously anticipated.”
Jefferies gaming analyst David Katz came away from G2E with a similar impression, also mentioning Formula 1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix which is scheduled for the weekend of November 18, 2023. During G2E, the sponsors of the race have announced an all-day launch party for November 5.
“The observation on the Strip echoes comments from carriers and equipment manufacturers that there are negligible signs of consumer weakness in the industry,” Katz wrote in a research note. “Especially for Strip operators, next year’s convention schedule all pointed to outsized attendance for 2023.”
Truist Securities gaming analyst Barry Jonas said when the September numbers are tallied later this month, the third quarter of 2022 on the Strip should show increased gaming revenue and occupancy. average hotel rooms.
“Business has picked up, with current trends feeling quite strong. (The) robust calendar of events seems to deter any recession fears,” Jonas wrote in a research note.
Security on the Strip
One issue that came up during the CEO’s discussion at G2E was security.
Less than a week before conference attendees were due to arrive in Las Vegas, a series of random stabbings on the Strip in broad daylight near Wynn Las Vegas and the Palazzo left two dead – including a showgirl impersonator – and six injured.
Derek Stevens, owner of Billings and Circa Resort & Casino, addressed the security issue at the request of CNBC gambling journalist Contessa Brewer on whether Las Vegas Boulevard was safe for pedestrians.
“Security is a societal issue and Las Vegas is not immune to larger societal issues,” Billings said.
“I think when you combine the (hotel-casino) security presence that exists in these buildings, the Metropolitan Police here, and the surveillance infrastructure that exists throughout the Strip, it’s hard to find a safer place,” did he declare. “We should keep that in perspective.”
According to the latest weekly crime report from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the total number of crimes against the person – a category that includes homicides, sexual offenses and aggravated assaults – in the central command area congresses has fallen by nearly 10% since the start of the year. The total number of crimes against the person in the Downtown Area Command is also down by less than 1%.
Stevens said the Fremont Street Experience limits attendance at the pedestrian mall to 21 and older on weekends, though the ACLU of Nevada filed a lawsuit in federal court in September to overturn the requirement to ‘age.
He noted that security “is the No. 1 issue in every city in this country and in every tourist destination in the country.” Stevens said July’s move to weekend 21-plus has helped give the region a safer environment.
“When we think about some of the crazy things that are happening, safety is a concern,” Stevens said.
The Strip is healthy
The financial well-being of the nation’s largest gaming market was on the minds of G2E attendees. Billings and Stevens have done their best to assuage concerns about any slowdown in customer spending on the Strip or downtown.
Billings, who became CEO of Wynn in February, said Las Vegas was good at finding and adapting to new sources of customer demand.
Even in the face of a potential recession, Billings said business on the Strip was booming.
“We’re not ignorant or immune to what’s going on in the broader macroeconomics,” Billings said. “We are less impacted by (high) oil (prices) and inflation with our ambitious luxury customers.”
Stevens, who opened Circa in late 2020 while COVID-19 operating restrictions were still in place in Nevada’s gambling industry, said he might have been a little more conservative in the design and development of the first all-new downtown complex in 40 years had it done so in today’s economic environment.
Still, Stevens said the market is stable and the property has given all of downtown Las Vegas a boost. Gaming revenue was up more than 5% from a year ago.