70°F
weather icon Clear

Pool season drives revenue in Las Vegas — VIDEO

Updated May 3, 2019 - 1:41 pm

When Sean Christie moved to Las Vegas 20 years ago, summer was considered the slow season.

That changed in the mid-2000s, when pool parties started taking off across the Strip. Today, Christie, vice president of nightlife at MGM Resorts International, said the company tries to find a pool accommodation for every demographic, whether it’s a college student looking to hit a day club or a family wanting to relax in a lazy river.

“Every year, we pour millions of dollars into … making it better,” Christie said. “It’s at the top of minds in terms of our company.”

All across the valley, resorts are continuing to invest in their pools, hoping to attract demographics of all types as guests’ interests start to shift.

Focusing on pools

Examples of pool investments can be seen across town. The downtown Plaza hotel renovated its pool deck in 2016, The Venetian’s pool deck is undergoing renovations and MGM’s NoMad pool opened last month.

“We’ve been focusing on increasing our revenue at the pool deck year over year,” said Courtney Bailey, assistant director of food and beverage at the Plaza.

Local analyst Jeremy Aguero said it’s difficult to evaluate the importance of pools to the local tourism industry, as their sales are not reported separately. But he said the number of pool and day club renovations are a sign that they’ve been a positive investment.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that they’re a revenue-driving (amenity),” he said. “Those amenities are important for the 42 million people that decide to come to Vegas every year.”

‘A major revenue driver’

The beginning of pool season can be a big draw, especially for visitors who live in cooler climates, Christie said.

“They’ve been cooped up in winter coats the past six months,” he said. “When we open in April, they want to be out there.”

Data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority show pools have drawn more visitors in recent years. A survey found 11 percent of visitors in 2016 had been to a pool party or day club, and 4 percent of visitors in 2018 had done so as well.

Mehmet Erdem, an associate professor of hospitality at UNLV, said that while the season does drive revenue, Las Vegas isn’t as dependent on weather as other destinations are.

“It is unlike the snow season at Aspen, where resorts heavily depend on seasonality,” he said via email. “The LV resort market enjoys the benefit of having multiple ‘seasons’ due to city-wide conventions, sports tournaments, (and) global cultural celebrations such as the Chinese New Year.”

But pools attract more than just tourists and convention-goers.

The M Resort — which tends to cater to locals — invested $300,000 to upgrade its cabanas last year.

“The pool is a major revenue driver,” said Justin Teixeira, the director of daylife and entertainment at the M Resort. “There’s food and beverage revenue that can be captured; there’s some VIP amenity upgrades available that are an additional revenue stream.”

Data from the LVCVA show that visitors spend a big chunk of their vacation money on things like piña coladas and poolside nachos. In 2018, the average trip expenditures on food and drinks was $315, a 13 percent increase from five years prior.

And unlike other attractions, pools can be a draw for people of all age groups and demographics, and they don’t come with a time limit like a dinner reservation or spa appointment.

“You’re only limited to how much sunlight there is in the day,” Christie said.

Driving jobs

Brooke Zorne has been working as a pool server at the M Resort for two seasons, long enough to know how to handle its peak hours.

When 11:30 a.m. hits on weekends, Zorne stays busy hustling throughout the pool area, serving drinks to guests for $10.59 an hour, plus tips. She said she can earn anywhere from $250 to $400 on a busy weekend, or around $20,000 during the season.

“I love it,” said Zorne, a part-time student at both the College of Southern Nevada and UNLV. “I’m happy I decided to go back.”

Along with upgrading pool amenities, Teixeira said, the M has increased its pool staff size in recent years to keep up with growth.

In June — peak pool season — the valley adds about 4,000 more jobs, according to David Schmidt, chief economist at the Department of Education, Training and Rehabilitation.

While some of it is due to the busy travel season and conventions, Schmidt said, pool season and day clubs account for many of those jobs.

A spokesperson for MGM Resorts International said it hires more than 1,100 employees for its pool season. The Venetian hires 175 seasonal pool employees, the same number as the M, and the Plaza hires 25.

Spokespeople for Caesars Entertainment Corp., Boyd Gaming Corp., Wynn Las Vegas, Tropicana and Station Casinos declined to comment for this story.

“It’s a significant source of jobs,” Schmidt said. “Broadly, it’s better for the people working and it’s good for people in the area when they spend the money in the community. It spreads out.”

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.

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
How much do Las Vegas casino CEOs make?
Las Vegas gaming CEOs made anywhere between $1 million and $24 million last year, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ((Las Vegas Review-Journal)
30-year-old Rio needs a little TLC
Nearly 30 years after the Rio opened, the red and blue jewel that helped catapult Las Vegas to a new level with its buffet and nightclub has lost its status along with its shine.
The latest on the Drew Las Vegas - VIDEO
Eli Segall recounts his tour of the Drew Las Vegas, formerly the Fontainebleau, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinball Hall of Fame to move near south Strip
Operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame have been approved to build a new, larger arcade near the south edge of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard near Russel Road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
National Hardware Show underway Las Vegas
The National Hardware Show kicked off Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Caesars for sale?
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been swept up in takeover speculation since the company’s share price tumbled last year amid disappointing earnings and concerns over a recession. Amid the decline, hedge funds scooped up shares. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn began buying shares of Caesars as early as January. Icahn acquired nearly 18 percent by mid-March. In February Icahn called on the Caesars board to study a sale as a way to boost shareholder value.
Las Vegas home prices
Las Vegas home prices grew fastest among major markets in February for the ninth straight month. But amid affordability concerns, the growth rate has slowed down. Southern Nevada prices in February were up 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The last time Las Vegas' price growth fell below 10% was in September 2017, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported.
Free Parking Coming To Wynn
Free parking will come to the Wynn and Encore resorts on May 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Founding Venetian employees talk about 20 years at the Strip resort
The Venetian, which opened May 3, 1999, is celebrating 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Seven original employees talk about opening the luxury resort and working there for two decades. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Circa aiming for December 2020 opening
The 1.25-million-square-foot property will have 44-stories and 777-rooms. It will also have a separate nine-story, 1,201-space parking garage.
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TI/Mirage Tram reopens
The tram that shuttles guests between TI and Mirage reopened this week after being closed for much of 2018.
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)
THE LATEST