73°F
weather icon Clear

2 years after Las Vegas shooting, Mandalay Bay regaining footing

When John Harrison made plans to attend the SuperZoo pet retailer convention in Las Vegas in August, he initially booked a room at Luxor. It wasn’t until he saw a price drop at Mandalay Bay that he decided to cancel his reservation and switch to the other property.

Staying at Mandalay Bay made sense; the convention itself was hosted at the property’s convention center, and Harrison said he favors its amenities over Luxor’s.

But it was hard for him to forget about the tragedy that occurred nearly two years earlier. Harrison and his wife had explored the hotel to find the suite where a gunman stationed himself the night of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting at the nearby Route 91 Harvest festival. The wing associated with the shooting remains closed.


This is part of an ongoing series observing the two-year anniversary of the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. See all of our coverage here.


“Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. You just have to keep it in the back of your mind,” Harrison said. “You figure out where the exits are and the back doors, and that’s all you can do.”

Harrison fits into a pattern seen along the Strip. According to experts, visitors seem to be less concerned about the events of two years ago when booking a stay in Las Vegas. In turn, business at Mandalay Bay is close to making a full recovery.

Representatives from MGM Resorts International, the owner and operator of Mandalay Bay, declined to provide comment.

Finding its footing

The first nine months following the shooting, revenue per available room at Mandalay Bay was down about 5 percent, according to Macquarie analyst Chad Beynon. Management reduced the amount of marketing for the property in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, he said, and many leisure travelers were “hesitant” to book a stay there.

It was convention business that helped keep earnings up.

“With the recent 350,000-square-feet convention center expansion, Mandalay is one of the largest convention properties in the world,” Beynon said. “Out of all of MGM’s properties, Mandalay Bay relies the most on convention and nongaming. It did help the property.”

The fact that many of its trade shows are booked years in advance has helped Mandalay Bay keep a solid base of visitors. Beynon said he doesn’t believe there were “too many” convention cancellations at the property.

Some convention attendees, including Ali Stewart, say they don’t have a problem visiting Mandalay Bay. An employee at California pet boutique Dog and Hydrant, she said she’s gone to SuperZoo at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center each of the past two years.

“It’s something that’s not far from your mind, but you’re seeing attacks everywhere now. It’s not isolated to being in a hotel in Las Vegas,” Stewart said at the trade show. “There’s a certain uneasiness about it, but that comes with being anywhere in public.”

Hannah Guild, who works with Stewart at Dog and Hydrant, said she takes comfort in the fact that Mandalay Bay increased security measures after the shooting.

Businesses “take note of where they make mistakes, and hopefully have learned,” Guild said. “You can’t stop living.”

After the initial dip, Beynon said, Mandalay Bay experienced “lingering softness” before business started to pick back up.

“You saw a nice improvement about a year after the shooting,” he said. “Overall, it took about 15 months for the property to find its footing.”

Jefferies analyst David Katz expects that growth to continue. He said the company should perform “relatively well” over the next couple years.

“As tragic as the event was, I think there’s a reasonable level of normalcy that’s restored now,” he said. “MGM is putting their efforts to making that new normal as positive as possible. … You’d have to argue that its future is pretty bright.”

‘Roughly 90 percent back’

The revenue per available room in the third quarter of 2017 was $194. The next quarter — when the shooting took place— that figure dropped to $149. The latest reported numbers, for the second quarter of 2019, show it’s almost fully recovered at $192.

Beynon said Mandalay Bay’s performance failed to meet expectations this year. However, “we believe Mandalay is roughly 90 percent back to where it was from a branding, review, room rate and demand standpoint,” he said.

And with Allegiant Stadium expected to open in time for the 2020 football season, the analysts expect to see another boost in business at Mandalay Bay.

This will drive additional visitation and demand to the South Strip and to Mandalay,” Beynon said. “MGM believes Mandalay will be a core property for visitors going to that stadium.”

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
Binion's debuts a spinning bar overlooking Fremont Street Experience
Binion's debuted its spinning bar inside the Whiskey Licker Up Saloon. The Rotating bar only goes at one full rotation per 15 minutes overlooking the Fremont Street Experience. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Southern Nevada could set a new resale-price record in coming months.
The median sales price of previously owned single-family homes – the bulk of the market – was $310,000 in September. Before the economy crashed last decade, prices peaked in June 2006 at $315,000, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.(Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Walmart container park in Henderson - VIDEO
Henderson could be home to a container park associated with a Walmart Inc. initiative. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recession lessons could help Las Vegas face next slump - VIDEO
While the last economic downturn had a dramatic impact on local casinos, most experts expect the industry will be better able to weather the storm during the next recession. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM and victims of Oct. 1 reach settlement agreement - VIDEO
MGM Resorts International and lawyers representing potentially thousands of victims of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip have reached a tentative settlement of between $735 million and $800 million. (Mat Luschek /Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Live music and EDM dominate the night on day 2 of A’Le’Innstock
After sunset bands rocked the crowds at A’Le’Innstock in Rachel, Nevada on the second night of the event.
iPhone 11 Release
Local Las Vegas long time Apple product consumer shares her excitement for the new iPhone 11 release Downtown Summerlin. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lihi Levin talks about a mobil app Dropit - VIDEO
Lihi Levin, regional manager at Dropit Shopping, talks about a mobil app Dropit. The app lets customers leave their shopping bags at a store then have them delivered the same day to their home or hotel so they can shop without carrying multiple bags all day. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
North Las Vegas company prepares for Mars - VIDEO
Robert Bigelow and his Bigelow Aerospace manufacturing facility played host to eight NASA astronauts and 60 engineers this week getting to know the company’s B330 autonomous, expandable space station. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas developer talks about a new apartment complex called “the yoU”
Frank Marretti lll, founder of G2 Capital Development, talks about his new apartment complex called “the yoU” near UNLV. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Steel cables will hoist roof at Allegiant Stadium - VIDEO
Stainless steel cables are being put into place at Allegiant Stadium to begin the process of putting the roof on the 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas. Stadium Chief Operating Officer Don Webb explains how the cables will be used to get the roof put on the future home of the Raiders and UNLV football. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The last remaining Sigma Derby game in Las Vegas
Derek Stevens, owner of the D Las Vegas, talks about the last remaining Sigma Derby horse racing game in Las Vegas inside his casino floor. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwich Review
Janine Blake of Las Vegas gives her review of the new Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwich at the restaurant’s location on west Bonanza Road on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019,
SuperZoo 2019 takes over Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas
SuperZoo 2019 show for pet retailers brought pet products of all description to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MSG Sphere at The Venetian to cost $1.2B plus
Scheduled to open in 2021, it is expected to be busier than Madison Square Garden in New York. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Favorite products from SuperZoo 2019
Some of the fun and interesting pet products on display at the SuperZoo in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MAGIC Convention Day 3
The fashion trade show MAGIC, held Monday through Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MAGIC Las Vegas - Day One
The biannual MAGIC convention show opened Monday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant celebrates naming deal with tailgate party
Allegiant Air employees celebrate with a tailgate party after the company’s naming deal with the Raiders for the new Las Vegas stadium.
Nevada's sportsbook operators welcome competition
Sportsbook operators from near and far are looking to get into in the established Nevada market, experts say. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a first look of MSG Sphere construction in Las Vegas
Representatives of The Madison Square Garden Company give the first glimpse of progress Tuesday of the under-construction MSG Sphere — a first-of-its-kind performance venue with high-tech audio and visual capabilities.
THE LATEST