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Weak convention traffic causes January visitation to plummet

Updated February 25, 2022 - 6:06 pm

Las Vegas in January had the lowest number of monthly visitors and hotel occupancy rate since March, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported Friday.

With convention traffic down 55.3 percent from pre-pandemic levels, the lack of meetings attendance was a big factor in the decline in overall visitation.

Another key metric, the average daily room rate, was the lowest since February 2021.

“With the omicron variant and continued impacts on the convention group segment, Las Vegas visitation reached 2.47 million, roughly three-quarters of pre-COVID levels of January 2019 but dramatically higher, 91.2 percent, than January 2021,” said Kevin Bagger, vice president of the LVCVA research center.

“Overall hotel occupancy reached 59.3 percent, 27.7 points ahead of January 2021 but 24.7 points below January 2019,” Bagger said. “Reflecting the challenged convention group segment, midweek saw occupancy reach 52 percent, 29.5 points vs. January 2021 but down 30.1 points vs. January 2019. As in the past several months, weekends fared better than midweek as weekend occupancy reached 74.6 percent, 26.3 points ahead of January 2021 and down 14.2 points vs. January 2019.”

Most visitation indicators followed the same pattern: numbers well ahead of 2021 figures but well behind pre-pandemic levels of 2019. The pattern played out for highway traffic at the California border on Interstate 15, all categories of hotel occupancy (weekend, midweek, hotels and motels), Strip room rates, room nights occupied and Reid International air traffic.

January 2022 levels of downtown Las Vegas room rates, Clark County gaming revenue and average daily traffic on all highways leading to Las Vegas were ahead of both January 2020 and January 2019 levels.

The Nevada Department of Transportation monitors highway traffic statistics and doesn’t differentiate between tourists and local traffic.

The city’s hotel room inventory of 150,487 is 3.6 percent higher than it was last year and 1.6 percent more than it was in January 2019.

Visitation figures were a mixed bag for Mesquite and Laughlin.

Visitor volume of 70,000 estimated in Mesquite was 30.8 percent less than in January 2019. But the average daily room rate in Mesquite of $71.66 a night was 19.3 percent ahead of January 2019 levels. The occupancy rate in Mesquite was flat at 70 percent.

Laughlin saw 83,700 visitors in January, 1.3 percent better than in January 2021, but 41.1 percent fewer than in January 2019.

Occupancy of 39.1 percent in Laughlin was 0.5 points better than in January 2020, but 17.2 points below January 2019. The average daily room rate of $48.58 was 7.3 percent less than in January 2020, but 30.7 percent higher than in January 2019.

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

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