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Strip room rates soaring for Formula One race

Updated November 3, 2022 - 9:29 am

Formula One vehicles haven’t even placed a tire on Las Vegas’ roadways, but hotel operators are already eager to cash in on the event, which takes place Nov. 16-18, 2023.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the lowest price available for a Thursday through Sunday stay was $752 per night at The Linq Hotel — not including taxes and resort fees. Room rates at Caesars Palace were the highest at $1,519 per night.

Caesars Entertainment Inc. opened its booking portal on Monday for that weekend.

MGM Resorts International released its booking calendar on Thursday, and the lowest price available for a Thursday through Sunday stay was $653 per night at the Luxor, not including taxes and resort fees. The Bellagio had the highest room rate at $1,773 per night.

The company’s website advertises the race and event dates on its home page, encouraging visitors to join MGM Rewards for special room and ticket packages. In August, MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the company was buying $20 million to $25 million worth of tickets to the race.

The first tickets for the 2023 Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix went on sale Tuesday, with ticket packages ranging between $500 and $10,000 before taxes and fees.

Room prices are dynamic and are likely to change depending on demand. But resort operators are bullish that they’ll be able to fetch a high price for the week, which is usually considered a soft week for visitation to the city.

“We think Formula One is a different animal,” Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said Tuesday during an investors call. “The demand for that particular event is well beyond what we were expecting. As you saw the rates roll out (Monday), the pricing reflects that.”

Amanda Belarmino, assistant professor at UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, said a common pricing practice is to start high and see whether demand is strong enough to sell at that price point.

“It’s better to not leave money on the table,” Belarmino said. “You can always discount if needed, but first you can see what the market will hold.”

High prices on the Strip during special events are not unusual. Resorts are also likely researching pricing in other markets that have hosted one-time major events such as the Olympics, Super Bowl and other Formula One races, she said. Plus, hotels often block off rooms for loyalty members — like MGM’s promotion — which further drives up the value of any remaining available rooms.

Given Formula One’s large fanbase abroad, Belarmino expects there will be many international travelers who are less price sensitive because of the event’s uniqueness. The pricing also suggests that resorts are expecting consumers who typically don’t come to Las Vegas.

“The prices do signal, ‘If you’re not here for F1, then come some other time,’” she said. “The whole city will be geared around this event, regardless of the price. If you want to see what it has to offer on a regular basis, come another time when it’s going to be geared more towards you.”

But some Formula One fans will be in town as soon as this weekend for the Las Vegas Grand Prix fan festival, a half-day long free event on Saturday that consists of interactive activities and live demonstrations.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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