Las Vegas sets record with 39.7 million visitors in 2012
Las Vegas closed the book on 2012 visitor volume with moderate growth in occupancy and average daily room rates, on top of a record 39.7 million people who came to the city for vacations and conventions.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority today reported citywide occupancy for the year at 84.4 percent, 0.6 percentage points ahead of 2011, and an average daily room rate of $108.08, 2.8 percent more than it was a year ago.
The LVCVA compiled the end-of-year statistics when disclosing December numbers. The agency that markets Las Vegas said 3 million people visited in December, 2.8 percent ahead of December 2011, and occupancy was at 75.8 percent for the month, 2.7 percentage points more than a year ago.
December visitation was boosted by the National Finals Rodeo and the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight on Dec. 8.
The average daily room rate for the month was $102.34, 0.7 percent ahead of December 2011.
Analysts were cautious in their praise.
“We have seen over the past several months a notable uptick in motel occupancy, which points to the market skewing toward a less affluent customer,” said Las Vegas-based Union Gaming analyst Bill Lerner. “All in, December was a solid month on the Las Vegas Strip. That said, we think the mix shift of customers needs to change before we see a meaningful pickup in gaming and outside-the-room spending.”
The 39.7 million visitors in 2012 were about 500,000 more than the previous record set in 2007.
A portion of the 2012 growth could be attributed to an increase in convention attendance. The LVCVA estimated a 1.6 percent increase over 2011 to 4.9 million. One of the reasons for the attendance increase: a 13.6 percent jump in the number of conventions and meetings. The LVCVA recorded 21,615 conventions, meetings and trade shows for the year.
The number of conventions held was still off the record 23,847 reported in 2007, and the number of convention attendees didn’t match the 2006 record of 6.3 million. The record occupancy rate for the city was in 2007, when 90.4 percent of rooms were filled for the year.
Last year also saw moderate increases in the number of passengers at McCarran International Airport, up 0.4 percent to 41.7 million, and vehicle traffic on all major highways leading to Las Vegas, up 0.9 percent to 100,774 a day. Traffic on Interstate 15, the primary artery to Southern California, was up 4.5 percent to 42,143 vehicles a day.
While visitor volume statistics for Las Vegas were moderately good, the numbers in Laughlin and Mesquite were weak.
Visitor volume was down 8 percent to 2.1 million in Laughlin, and hotel occupancy rate fell 4 percentage points to 59 percent. The average daily room rate was up 3.4 percent to $41.72 for the year.
In Mesquite, visitor volume was up 1.5 percent to 996,146, while occupancy fell 5.6 percentage points to 72.8 percent. The average daily room rate was up 1.4 percent for the year to $52.20.