Las Vegas: Is It Bounce Back Time Yet?

By feature writer Alan Campbell

Has Las Vegas recovered from the great recession? Not by a long shot, though there has been a great deal of improvement. Room rates are still lower than before and occupancy is still not what it should be. Tourist numbers are short of the estimated forecast, and there are a lot of projects in mothballs. The former Sahara hotel will become SLS luxury property, the old Bills Saloon will convert to The Gansevoort Hotel.   The new property by the Genting Group will probably open by 2016. This project will create 5 to 7 thousand jobs depending on final design and size of project.

The Adjustment

Vegas has had to adjust. For many new concepts that were not in place in past years, the casino revenues took care of the bills and the casinos generated 60% of revenue. Today that no longer is true. The resorts are dealing with a different set of demographics, that is generation Y, and Z. These new comers do not gamble as much, in fact they spend the bulk of their money on the night club scene and restaurants as well as shopping. Casinos had to adjust due to the influx of gambling houses across the country. Some properties where slow in changing and paid the price.

The Economy

The Las Vegas economy is not what it used to be. Vegas can't consider itself recession proof, perhaps as it once did. Vegas is addressing the new Y and Z generation with some new projects that are being built on the strip. The newest is the entertainment complex called the Linx, and the Quad hotel complex. New York, and Monte Carlo hotels are creating a promenade walkway with retail and entertainment centres. The new visitors will be coming from the international sector, since they spend twice as much as domestic tourist. It estimated that perhaps a good 20% or more from the international market will visit Las Vegas.

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Other Factors

This of course provided that the economy does not go in to a tail spin, and that those projects that are currently in mothballs, somehow get moving. Time will tell if this will become a reality. The other side of the coin is that I hope the powers to be do their homework well, and have their ducks in a row. Just maybe then Las Vegas will come back to where it should be.

About the Author

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Alan Campbell has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. He has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. Alan considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world – it is the only place that both king's and Paupers will visit you.

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