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F1 race helped Vegas room rates hit record highs in November

Updated December 28, 2023 - 4:57 pm

Visitors to Las Vegas paid more for their hotel rooms in November than any month in history, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said Thursday.

The record $249.31 a night wasn’t surprising considering fans of the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix were in town for four nights of racing and ceremonial events in mid-November.

F1 also drove other tourism metrics to record heights.

Revenue per available room, known in the industry as RevPAR, reached $204.18, a 34.8 percent increase over November 2022. RevPAR is calculated by dividing a hotel’s guest-room revenue by the room count and the number of days in the period being measured.

The average daily room rate for Strip hotels was $270.17, a 37.7 percent jump from November 2022, while downtown Las Vegas rooms went for an average $108.67, a 10.6 percent increase over last year.

Late Thursday, Harry Reid International Airport reported it had its best November ever with 4.8 million passengers arriving and departing. That means in 11 months, the airport serving Las Vegas already has had the most passengers in history. The 2023 total now stands at 52.8 million passengers with one month to go.

The November total included 265,664 international arrivals and departures, an 11.6 percent increase from last year.

Clark County gaming revenue also hit a record $1.215 billion in November, likely because of F1, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Thursday.

The county’s success resulted in a statewide gaming win record for November of $1.374 billion, which was the second highest month of all time. Gaming win in downtown Las Vegas was down slightly in November.

“What had historically been a seasonally slow month, November is now poised to be one of the best months for the Strip, anchored by F1,” said John DeCree, a gaming analyst with Las Vegas-based CBRE Equity Research.

“As expected, downtown did not see the same lift in gaming volumes experienced by the Strip during F1,” DeCree said in a Thursday report to investors. “However, we view the modest decline in (gross gaming revenue) this month as a relative positive considering F1 traffic, room pricing, and road closures could have deterred core downtown customers from visiting just before and during the race.”

Visitor volume up slightly

In addition to F1, Kevin Bagger, vice president of the LVCVA Research Center, also credited the arrival of the Specialty Equipment Market Association automotive aftermarket trade show in early November for boosting monthly convention numbers and room rates for the month.

“With highlights including the SEMA tradeshow in the first week of the month and, of course, the inaugural Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix Nov. 16-18, Las Vegas tourism metrics exceeded last November across several categories, most notably with record ADR and RevPAR,” Bagger said.

While visitor volume wasn’t appreciably affected by F1, the LVCVA considered the race to be a marketing success for the city, with millions of television viewers getting a look at the neon-lighted race course broadcast by ESPN.

Visitor volume for November was up 0.8 percent to 3.292 million.

With one month left to report, it doesn’t appear likely that the 2016 record of 42.9 million visitors and the 2019 record of 6.6 million convention visitors will fall.

The 11-month visitation total for 2023 reached 37.4 million with the addition of November’s figures, and convention visitation hit 5.8 million. Those totals are up 5.4 percent and 21.4 percent, respectively, over last year.

The occupancy rate for November was 81.9 percent overall, 0.7 percentage points over November 2022. But it also was the third-lowest monthly occupancy rate of 2023.

The challenge of filling hotel rooms will increase beginning next month, now that room inventory has climbed roughly 2.5 percent with Durango and Fontainebleau opening in December.

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

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