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Betting on Bargains

May 7, 2009 By: Michael Browne Travel Agent
 


Despite all the doom and gloom about Las Vegas, with visitor numbers continuing to drop year-to-year, the destination still remains a vacation standby for many Americans: For the seventh year in a row, it is the second-most popular summer destination booked by ASTA travel agents, according to ASTA’s “2009 Hot Spots for Summer” survey. Orlando came out on top with a 17.2 percent share of responses, but Las Vegas maintained the second spot with an impressive 16 percent of the votes.

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Las Vegas isn't just for nightlife - there are plenty of activities for families during the daylight hours.

Still, the numbers don’t lie: According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the number of visitors to the city is down by 10 percent so far this year. That’s a trend that goes back to last September, when the year-to-year visitor volume differential first hit 10 percent, and it has hovered around that mark ever since.

In an effort to attract more guests, the average daily room rate in Las Vegas hotels is dropping as well, from $104.89 in January to $99.25 in February—almost a 25 percent drop from last year at the same time.

Harrahs

A suite at Harrah's Casino and HOtel with living room and king bedroom

“We are seeing the most competitive rates in Vegas that we’ve seen in many, many years,” Sallie Rawlings of Travel Impressions tells us. “Granted, the hotels are offering great value propositions, but it’s truly the rates that are making a difference.”

As for who is traveling, Rawlings says, “it’s typically singles and married couples—of all ages. It’s become an exciting and romantic getaway destination that features incredible entertainment, fine dining, sophisticated shopping and even fine art, plus golf and scenic tours to nearby areas, including the Grand Canyon.”

As an added incentive for Vegas-bound clients, Travel Impressions is partnering with Delta Vacations for a promotion that offers 1,000 SkyMiles for booking three nights or longer, plus a free Vegas Nights Helicopter Tour over the Strip for the first 10 bookings paid in full. Trips must be booked by July 1 for travel by December 31.

Bringing Business Back 

In addition to its efforts to boost leisure travel, Las Vegas is taking steps to attract a more serious crowd after being criticized by the federal government as a bastion of excess, causing a string of meeting and event cancellations.
Eager to hold on to this important source of revenue, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) late last month launched an online toolkit—www.vegasmeansbusiness.com—to provide information and resources for meeting planners. The website offers statistics, client testimonials and other information to help promote the business side of Las Vegas.www.vegasmeansbusiness.com.
meetings held was down 5.8 percent to 22,454.

One example of a great deal available for summer travelers: Travel Impressions is offering three days and two nights at the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino starting at $225 per person through September 27. This package includes mid-week roundtrip coach airfare (costs vary by departure city), roundtrip airport/hotel transfers, hotel accommodations and hotel tax.

Meanwhile, GOGO Worldwide Vacations is offering deals for the summer season at a number of family- and budget-friendly hotels, from now through September 30. Bookings must be made by June 1. All of the deals include roundtrip midweek air to Las Vegas (prices vary based on departure city); roundtrip transfers between airport and hotel; accommodations; and hotel tax and service charges. Among the properties offered are the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino; Flamingo Las Vegas; Harrah’s Casino and Hotel Las Vegas; and Four Queens Casino and Resort.   


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