Fewer Las Vegas visitors coming from California, study shows

Updated April 13, 2019 - 7:30 pm

The Las Vegas visitor of 2019 is different from those who came a decade ago, five years ago and even last year.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority monitors the changing face of the Vegas visitor annually so that resorts can react to attract more people to the destination.

Kevin Bagger, vice president of the LVCVA research center, shared highlights of the 2018 Las Vegas Visitor Profile Study with the organization’s board of directors last week, and the research produced almost as many questions as answers.

After reviewing survey results from 3,600 randomly selected visitors, Bagger and his staff must now determine whether some of the 2018 results represent the start of a trend, or an aberration from the norm.

“Some things don’t change,” Bagger told the board. “And some things we don’t want to change. I use this as sort of a monitoring tool to make sure that certain things that are good are staying good and then other things that are changing, we need to be aware of.”

For example, for years, about a quarter of the visitors coming to Las Vegas have come from Southern California with percentages of 27, 25, 27 and 26 from there in the four years since 2014. In 2018, the percentage of visitors from SoCal was 19 percent. Why?

The research staff is kicking around a few theories, and the bottom line is that increased international visitation and more visitors from Arizona and other Western states picked up the slack.

Other nuggets of information from the survey:

— The average age of the Las Vegas visitor is now 45.1, up from 44.3 in 2017 and 44 the year before that, but down from 49.2 in 1998. The overall younger shift explains the trend toward more nightclubs and dayclubs and attractions that appeal to the millennial generation, according to the LVCVA.

— While millennials — people roughly between ages 23 and 38 — represent the greatest number of visitors (38 percent), Generation X — people roughly between ages of 39 and 58 — and baby boomers — people roughly between ages of 59 and 73 — are close behind, with 31 percent and 30 percent, respectively. The silent generation — people over 74 — represent about 1 percent of visitors.

— An estimated 74 percent of visitors gambled during their stay, the same as in 2017 but down from 87 percent in 1998. Among those who gambled, players spent 2.2 hours per day at slots or tables, up from 1.6 hours in 2017 but down from four hours in 1998. Players had an average gaming budget of $527 per trip, down from $541 in 2017 but more than the $469 in 1998.

— Breaking down the gaming numbers by generation paints an interesting portrait of today’s visitor. Which generation played the most among that 74 percent who gambled during their stay? Silent generation (78 percent of their numbers), followed by baby boomers (77 percent), Generation X (75 percent) and millennials (72 percent). Among those who spent 2.2 hours a day gambling, boomers played the most (2.6 hours) followed by Gen X (2.4 hours), the silent generation (2.1 hours) and millennials (1.8 hours). Boomers also had the biggest gambling budget per trip at $736, followed by the silent generation ($611), Gen X ($589) and millennials ($295).

— Where do millennials spend their time and money in Las Vegas? You guessed it, nightclubs and pool parties, with 15 percent going to a nightclub and 7 percent to a pool party. The percentage split was 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively, for Gen X with nothing by the silent generation and baby boomers. Millennials also had the highest percentage of visitors making a trip to downtown Las Vegas during their stays, 55 percent.

— In 2018, a Las Vegas trip budget was split with 32 percent for gaming, 26 percent for food and beverage, 16 percent for lodging, 12 percent for shopping, 6 percent for local transportation, 4 percent for shows and entertainment, 2 percent for sightseeing and 2 percent for “other.” Ten years ago, the split was 50 percent for gaming, 17 percent for food and beverage, 13 percent for lodging, 10 percent for shopping, 6 percent for local transportation, 3 percent for shows and entertainment, 1 percent for sightseeing and nothing for other.

Those who track visitation numbers know there’s an elephant in the room when it comes to visitors’ viewpoints. What, if anything, are resort and parking fees having on visitation?

One of Bagger’s associates, Scott Russell, director of the LVCVA research center, said the organization hasn’t compiled enough data to make a determination as to the effects of resort fees, although 24 percent of those dissatisfied with their Las Vegas visit — up from 8 percent in 2016 (dissatisfaction questions are only asked every other year) — cited “too expensive” as a reason for not enjoying their stays.

In addition, when surveyors are “standing in front of a visitor asking, they may or may not have stayed at a hotel that had a fee, or they may not have actually been the person that paid the room bill and may not have known about the fee,” Russell said. “We tried to keep that separate from the question other than asking them about their rate absent any fees.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

Business Videos
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA/Boring Company Press Conference
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced a collaboration with Elon Musk's The Boring Company to develop and operate an autonomous people mover system for the Las Vegas Convention Center District.
International Pizza Expo includes green and gluten free
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included companies focused on vegan and gluten free, and plant-based pizza boxes. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo kicks off in Las Vegas
The first day of the International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center is everything Pizza. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
T-Mobile program aids guests with sensory needs
A program at T-Mobile Arena is designed to provide a more sensory friendly experience for guests.
Photo Booth Expo
Danielle May talks about how Simple Booth transformed her Volkswagen bus into a business.
Nevada Gaming Commission's highest fines
The highest fines assessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission, according to commission Chairman Tony Alamo: 1) Wynn Resorts Ltd., $20 million, 2019 2) CG Technology (then known as Cantor G&W Holdings), $5.5 million, 2014 3) The Mirage, $5 million ($3 million fine, $2 million compensatory payment), 2003 4) Stardust, $3 million, 1985 5) Santa Fe Station, $2.2 million ($1.5 million fine, $700,000 compensatory payment), 2005 6) Las Vegas Sands, $2 million, 2016 7) CG Technology, $1.75 million, 2018 8) CG Technology, $1.5 million (also $25,000 in escrow for underpaid patrons), 2016 9) Caesars Entertainment, $1.5 million, 2015 10) Imperial Palace, $1.5 million, 1989 11) Peppermill Casinos, $1 million, 2014
Tiny Pipe Home vs Shipping Crate
A Tiny pipe home was displayed at the International Builders Show this week in Las Vegas.
Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dig This opens new location In Las Vegas
Remember when you were a kid and played with construction toys in the sand box? Dig This Las Vegas has the same idea, except instead of toy bulldozers, you get to play with the real thing. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing