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Las Vegas is still a bargain destination, visitor survey says

Updated March 17, 2024 - 8:12 am

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority got the best news they could have hoped for with the release of its 2023 Visitor Profile Study last week.

According to surveys conducted for the 52-page report, travelers to Las Vegas still find it a bargain destination compared with other places they may be inclined to visit.

While many locals are fed up with paying for things they didn’t pay for in the past — parking comes to mind — and the so-called “junk fees” that President Joe Biden has vowed to eliminate — resort fees come to mind — those surveyed for the LVCVA’s annual report continue to arrive in near-record numbers.

They continue to spend more than ever and gamble record amounts.

Not only that, they seem happy with their trips here, and many felt the destination exceeded their expectations.

According to the study, nearly nine in 10 (87 percent) visitors to Las Vegas in 2023 said that they were “very satisfied” with their visits, up from 77 percent in 2022, while 11 percent said they were “somewhat satisfied.” Only 2 percent of visitors were dissatisfied with their visits.

Visitors younger

Las Vegas visitors are younger than they’ve been historically and are spending more on lodging, food, shopping, entertainment and gambling when they come.

It’s a more diverse crowd that’s here than ever before.

“The key question — and this is the first thing I jump to every year — is visitor satisfaction,” Kevin Bagger, the vice president of the LVCVA’s Research Center, told the LVCVA board at a meeting Tuesday. “I want to know that our visitors are having a good time. Is there anything that’s making them go in the wrong direction?”

Historically, the dissatisfied come in at under 5 percent, an indication that they are happy enough to keep coming back. Uber drivers I’ve spoken to anecdotally say resort fees are what rile them up the most.

Deeper in the report, surveyors asked specific questions about why people were dissatisfied with their stay. At the top of the list, with 19 percent of the 112 people asked (the number who said they were dissatisfied) was “too expensive.”

That was followed by “hotel complaints” 18 percent, “Las Vegas is too dirty with too many homeless people” 17 percent, “too crowded” 9 percent, “gambling complaints” 7 percent, “too hard to get around” 7 percent, “trip was too short” 5 percent, and “too much going on/too intense” 2 percent. A total of 17 percent had “other” complaints.

Among the activities visitors participated in — and how much money was spent on those activities — everything was on the rise except attending a show.

The report showed for food and beverage, from 2022 to 2023, the amount spent went from $527.13 to $570.15 per trip among all travelers, among those who spent something per category.

Shopping per trip went from $270.95 to $414.01; local transportation rose from $189.79 to $238.02; sightseeing from $64.16 to $177.47; and for sporting events from $271.58 to $326.40.

Entertainment spending drops

The one category that showed a drop was for shows and entertainment, in which per-trip spending fell from $309.76 to $278.44.

Entertainment includes many activities, the LVCVA said. The study found that 57 percent attended a production show, up from 54 percent a year earlier; a headliner act 21 percent, down from 25 percent; magic shows, comedy acts and impersonator tribute shows stood at 14 percent, 6 percent and 2 percent, respectively; while nightclubs and DJ shows fell from 4 percent to 2 percent; and Broadway shows, from 2 percent to 1 percent.

Attending a sporting event — which includes parents in town to watch their children or friends play in tournaments — held at 6 percent from 2022 to 2023.

Measuring gambling is a little tricky when it comes to surveys. Visitors were asked what their gambling budget was, not how much they bet or put into machines. The LVCVA figures they may get a more truthful answer with that question.

Gambling questions show where the age of the visitor comes into play.

Overall, 79 percent said they gambled while here compared with 75 percent a year earlier. They played an average 2.4 hours compared with 2.6 hours in 2022 and had a gambling budget of $787.54 compared with $761.22.

Survey results showed baby boomers budgeted $969 compared with $1,110 a year earlier, Generation X budgeted $850 compared with $845, millennials budgeted $747 compared with $669, while Generation Z took $396 to gamble compared with $517 a year earlier.

Bagger indicated it’s clear some of the younger visitors to Las Vegas are finding other things to spend their money on when here.

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

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