Visitation to Las Vegas picks up

An increase in drive-in traffic from California and neighboring states helped boost Las Vegas visitor volume in September and occupancy at Strip and downtown hotels, which saw their room rates increase 9% over August.

Visitation rose by 170,000 over August to 1.7 million, which is up 10.9% from 1.53 million in August. That’s still a decline of 51% over September 2019 when there were 3.47 million visitors. August visitation had fallen 57% over the previous year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The apparent reason for the gain was the increase in vehicle traffic at major highways at 126,888 in September, a gain of 5.8% or about 6,000 vehicles a day over September 2019. On the I-15, daily traffic of 47,584 was 8.5% higher than 43,863 in September 2019. Those I-15 gains have continued into October. 

Since Sept. 2, the I-15 has only recorded three days where traffic declined over 2019 through Oct. 21, the last day available.

In comparison, passenger traffic at McCarran International Airport was 1.7 million, a 1.9% decline from 1.73 million in August. It was down 60.6% from September 2019.

Overall hotel occupancy was 46.8% in September, up from 42.7% in August. It was 88.3% in September 2019.

September weekend occupancy was 66.1%, up from 63.1% in August. It was 95.6% a year ago September.

Weekday occupancy was 38.5%, up from 34.4% in August. It was 85.1% a year ago in September.

Strip occupancy was 46.4%, up from 42.1% in September. It was 89.8% in September 2019. Downtown occupancy was 44.3%, up from 40.2% in August. It was 83.6% a year ago in September.

The average daily room rate of $108 is up 9% from $99 in August. It was $137 in September 2019, a 21% decline.

The average Strip rate was $117, up 8% from August’s rate of $109. It was $148 a year ago, meaning rates have declined 21%.

The average downtown rate was $65, up from $59 in August, a gain of 10%. It was $78 a year ago.

There were 1.86 million room nights occupied, up 10.5% from 1.69 million in August. It was 3.9 million a year ago, representing a drop this year of 53%.