Las Vegas has been hit hard during the economic downturn. Working in the industry (currently @ the Las Vegas Hilton), I’ve noticed a dramatic change in customer behavior. People are still visiting Las Vegas, but they are spending less while they are here.
Before the recession hit, the restaurants and lounges were bursting at the seams during the weekend. You had to wait in lines to get in to restaurants, lounges, and night clubs. Now, you can easily get in to any of these places…..of course, except the night clubs, where you have to always wait in line. The tables and slot machines were packed with customers and table minimums were higher. I understand that people’s disposable income has been hit hard by the economy, so they are not spending as much as they did in the past. However, the odd thing is that I see a lot of people here in the city during the weekend. That means their spending money to fly/drive here, rent a room, and play for a few days. Weekend occupancy levels are too bad in town.
If they aren’t eating, drinking, or gambling…..what are they doing? Staying in their room, watching TV? I doubt it.
So, I would love to hear from you, the Las Vegas visitor……why do you come to Las Vegas? Have you been here in the past 12 months? If so, what did you do? How did you spend your money? Business or Pleasure? Do you plan to return soon? What can we (Las Vegas) do better as a vacation destination?
Please join the conversation, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Hi, Peter. I love Vegas (and someday hope to relocate there). I come for the weather (hot. dry. sunny. Heaven!), for the great restaurants, the great spas and of course, to play poker. I have been twice in the past 12 months and will come back in December. I do spend less now – I look for the good weekday deals at the spas and for the prix fixe for dinner. I’ve been really satisfied with my trips.
thekeylime – I appreciate your feedback. Your travel profile is in line with what I’ve been observing the past 12 months. Is there anything special that one hotel offers over another that drives your decision to book?
I went to Vegas for the first time in May 2008 – I went because I had ALWAYS wanted to go, and that was my college graduation present. I’m going back in March 2010 for my honeymoon/24th birthday celebration.
I didn’t spend as much money the first time because the trip was last-minute, so I hadn’t had much time to save. I was also pregnant at the time, so I couldn’t do as much as I wanted. This time around, my husband and I plan on seeing a couple of shows, going to clubs and eating out at a few restaurants. We’re also staying on The Strip – we didn’t the last time we were there. We have more money to spend this time, so this trip will be a fun one for us.
Vegas has what we’re looking for – great food, awesome party spots, great shows and an awesome adventure. We’re looking forward to going back!
Ebonie – Thanks for the feedback. I always love to hear what people’s first impression of our city is. You mentioned location (on Strip) as a factor in your decision for the next trip. Is there anything else?
We were wanting to go when we could get a decent deal on the hotel we wanted to stay at on the Strip – and we found one! We’re going during the work week because it was cheaper to fly out during that timeframe [only $204 each ticket roundtrip], and the hotels were cheaper during the week than the weekend.
We’re also scoring deals at clubs and restaurants during the week, which is another reason why we chose that timeframe.
Ebonie – Sounds like a win/win all the way around. Glad to hear it. Would love to hear about your trip when you return.
For a commentary on a recent visit go to:
georgesarant – Thank you for that commentary. It is interesting to read about an experience from a person who has not been to Vegas in over 30 yrs. Yes, it has dramatically changed. I’m sorry it has turned into a destination that no longer appeals to you. Unfortunately, there is no turning back the clock.
I guess my wife an I are out of the demographic. We got married in Vegas (2002 at the Venetian) and have gone back about once a year since. We aren’t high rollers but consistent enough to get regular offers of greatly reduced room rates (and the occassional comp room) at Venetian/Palazzo. We take advantage of these low rates (usually mid-week), saving money on the room to use with other things. Our next trip will be in Dec. and we intend to do the things we usually do: I’ll play BJ, wife will play slots, we’ll see a couple shows and generally see and do things we normally don’t have here in Small Town Texas. 🙂
mantic59 – You are NOT out of the demographic! You are exactly what Las Vegas is looking for. A couple of quick follow up questions….has the economy impacted the frequency of your Vegas trips? or your travel budget to Vegas? or do you save up so that you can enjoy Vegas the same way you have in the past?
Peter, I meant that I was probably out of the demographic you were asking about in your original post (cutting back on spending in Vegas). We’re lucky I guess, the economy hasn’t effected us nearly as much as others. My wife and I both have decent jobs and we normally live well below our means so we can afford “luxury” trips like Vegas. In fact the trip we have scheduled in December was originally going to be in May, but I threw out my back in April and had to wait to get better. The extra time meant that we could save up that much more: now we’re flying First Class (to help my back, of course! 😀 ).
mantic59 – I see what you mean now. Glad to hear that the economy hasn’t impacted you. I hope you enjoy your trip in Dec and please stop by to say hello if you have time.
I would definitely like to meet you while we’re in town!
mantic59 – You know where to find me! 🙂
I have never been to Las Vegas but I am flying down tomorrow (October 29) for 3 nights.
My major purpose is to attend Rick Frishman’s Author 1o1 University 2-day seminar. Rick’s e-mail today indicates that the event is sold out with 300 people attending. (I had expected 100 and Rick had expected 150.)
Check out this blog post about “The Blue Porsche Boxster S Challenge” for a little more info about how my trip to Vegas developed:
I am not a gambler so casinos don’t interest me. In fact, I hope that I never have to ever walk through one of those depressing places again.
But I will check out some of the sights, including a local pub called the Freakin Frog that was recommended by the President of Westjet (the airline on which I am flying) in September’s Westjet magazine. If a pub is good enough for a multi-millionaire (who avoids the glitzy tourist draws in Vegas), it is good enough for me.
Author of “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
(Over 110,000 copies Sold and Published in 9 Languages)
and “The Joy of Not Working”
(Over 225,000 copies Sold and Published in 17 Languages)
Ernie – That is definitely an interesting post…..I do have one question for you….you said “I am not a gambler so casinos don’t interest me. In fact, I hope that I never have to ever walk through one of those depressing places again.” If this is your 1st trip to Las Vegas…..how could you have that opinion of our casinos? Just curious….
Ernie- I can understand your comment about casinos being “depressing:” I’ve been to a couple “Indian” casinos in Arizona and seen the “low roller” joints around the periphery of downtown Vegas and they can have an almost “desperate” vibe. But most of the places on the Strip (and a couple of the newer properties like Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch) can have an “exciting” feel that I haven’t seen duplicated elsewhere.
I love Las Vegas! I spent last Thanksgiving there with my two sons. Seems as if I have been there a lot lately…Was there in February to celebrate my birthday, again in March to celebrate my oldest’s son’s birthday, returned in April for a Darius Rucker concert, again in July to see Phantom and spend time with a friend and most recently in September after the youngest left for college and I couldn’t stand the thought of being home alone. Just booked for Thanksgiving again. I am a regular patron of The Venetian|The Palazzo. I enjoy the many fine restaurants, shopping, the pools, and of course the slots. A show or a concert is always good. I try to spend days doing something other than being in the casino, out walking, going over to the mall, relaxing at the pool or a quick workout at the gym. Vegas provides enough diversions that people have lots to do other than being in the casino. Good for us but maybe not so good for gaming.
Debbie – Thanks for the detailed feedback. A few follow up questions, has your Vegas budget changed in the past 12 months? or is the same? On a related note, have you tried the Double Helix Bar at the Palazzo? It’s in the shopping mall. Great place to have a glass of wine or two, 🙂
My gaming budget has been reduced by the amount of free play I receive. My lodging, food, and entertainment budget has decreased as my comps have increased. Comps for the suite, food and free play actually means that less comes out of my pocket. Occasional limo service and free shows further decreases my costs when visiting. If I had to pay for these accommodations, I would limit my visits to twice a year.
Have not been to the Double Helix Bar but will be sure to stop in next month. I can always use a glass or 2 of wine!
Debbie – Thanks for the follow up. Enjoy your next trip. Have a couple of glasses at Double Helix for me!
Hi Peter! I got to go to Vegas for the first time in July 2009. I had never been before and I actually didn’t have a strong desire to go. I have been very lucky and as an Army brat, got to live in Germany for 8 years and travel all over Europe. I thought that Vegas would be cheesy, commercial, and too crowded!
I couldn’t have been more wrong – LOVED it!! We stayed 3 nights at the Las Vegas Hilton, easily took the train everywhere, enjoyed incredible meals (Sea Blue, the Wynn’s buffet…), and had a lot of fun making over $200 on penny slots.
We got to see David Copperfield’s show at the MGM Grand and enjoyed walking through different sites. (Even though it was 109, it didn’t feel as bad as 95 in San Antonio!!)
I thought it was a great bang for my buck and look forward to going back sometime soon. It was nice how there are so many different things to do in such a small area for such reasonable prices. We could not have done as much within the same budget, anywhere else I don’t think (and my blog is ALL about incredible savings and deals.)
Let me know if you have more questions! 🙂 I’d like to blog about my trip sometime soon too!
Geekette – Nice color on a 1st trip visit to Vegas. You were the 1st one to mention the monorail and how convenient it was for you. I think people don’t realize how convenient it really is….even though it doesn’t cover most of the city, it still is the best way to get around for the money. I use the monorail when my wife and I go to see a show at the MGM Grand Arena as it is quicker to go from the Las Vegas Hilton to the MGM via the monorail than it is to drive in/out of the parking garage during a large concert/event. Great feedback from everybody today.
Peter – So, I’m a bit late with responding to this but … better late than never. Anyway, it’s been about a year and a half since I’ve been to Vegas, but visiting the City of Sin has never been just for the fun (or gambling). I have, a time or two, played the slots or just did the touristy thing on the strip, but my primary reason for visiting has been to visit family. I do end up spending a lot of money eating, though. As far as planning a trip out that way in the future, I’m thinking that it’s a possibility next summer if some plans pan out. If not, it may be sooner.
Tania – Thanks for the follow up. I enjoyed reading your feedback.
I’ve never been to Las Vegas but my father was while he was a truck driver.
If I came to Las Vegas, I would not come to spend all my money because coming from Canada I would already spend LOTS of money for my ticket and stuff.
I would come to just see the city and see everything that Las Vegas offers.
b0jan – We’d love to have you down in our our city. Hopefully, you will save up for a trip down here and enjoy everything Vegas has to offer.
If I ever decide to come to Las Vegas, I’d definitely let you know and then we can meet up because I’m pretty sure you know more about Las Vegas than I do 🙂
b0jan – you got a deal, thanks for the comments.
I don’t come to Las Vegas anymore since Star Trek: the Experience closed. There is nothing there worth seeing any more, especially at the Hilton. I seriously hope some people got fired over that debacle. I hope the Hilton goes bankrupt.
TL – I understand your frustration over losing your favorite attraction. However, I think wishing people lose their jobs and companies go bankrupt is a bit extreme and harsh. I certainly hope nothing like that happens to anybody….friend or foe.
I just moved to vegas from orlando via the timeshare industry. Having never been here before I was interested to see what all the hype was about. TV makes Vegas apear to be somewhat confined as far as the hotels and casinos are concerned, I was surprised to see how spread out the “strip” actually was.
The timeshare industry seems to be doing well compared to Orlando which isn’t very surprising. One thing I still can’t get over is the number of families and their young children visiting, and by young I mean anywhere from 5-15 years old.
With the number of high ticket concerts and other events going on, aside from the constant gaming and dining, it’s really hard to walk around here and still think we’re in a recession.