Gambling isn't the only reason anymore why travelers are hitting Sin City, but it remains the highest single visitor expense according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's latest visitor profile study.
has transformed itself from a destination solely for people in pursuit of
gaming glory into a multi-dimensional town with a surfeit of restaurants,
shopping, entertainment and family attractions. So it's no wonder the 3,600
visitors polled by the LVCVA reported spending more in 2006 on non-gaming
activities, while at the same time budgeting more for gambling.
"That sort of mirrors what's going on in the
destination in terms of the addition of non-gaming products and
attractions," says Kevin Bagger, LVCVA's director of research. "The
visitor is drawn by a mix of dining and the gaming opportunities, as well as
the resort properties themselves."
The observation should make travel agent's lick their lips.
Giving travelers more options makes Las Vegas an even more attractive
destination for clients, especially luxury travelers.
"The people I am booking into Las
Vegas are a very different clientele now," says Donna Caruso,
manager of First Class Travel in San Diego and a
travel specialist. "It used to be that people just went to Vegas for a
weekend or so. Not anymore. Now they want to do shows, go to the spas and dine
in the specialty restaurants." In fact, the LVCVA's study showed that
people were more motivated to vacation in Las
Vegas because of its fine-dining restaurants than
because of its casinos. Average
Las Vegas Visitor Spending Up
gradual shift from mass market to luxury began right around the time that the
Bellagio opened in 1998. "That was the first real luxury hotel that
marketed to luxury clientele," Caruso says. "After that, they all
began to go up. Now the higher-end clientele go to Vegas because it's become that
kind of luxury destination."
With a better mix of options open to travelers, spending, of
course, tends to rise. That was part of the LVCVA's findings, which found
across-the-board rises in traveler expenditures, especially in lodging
expenses, which mushroomed to $107.12 on average per night. Out of all room
nights booked, half were made directly through the hotel or motel, while only
15 percent of respondents said they used a travel agent.
For clients wanting to save some money, Caruso says that it's
best for them stay Sunday through Thursday, when the hotels give their best
attracted a record 38.9 million visitors in 2006, and the LVCVA expects that
number to rise to 39.3 million in 2007, helped in part by the addition of some
5,010 hotel rooms.