Las Vegas hotel-casinos expect a busy Labor Day weekend this year with projections for tourist volume, spending and hotel rates all higher than last year’s three-day holiday.
An estimated 303,000 people are expected to visit Las Vegas this weekend, up from 2011’s 301,000 total. Expected nongambling economic impact is $178.7 million, up 4 percent from 2011’s $172 million.
Nationwide, 33 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend, according to AAA and IHS Global Insight. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Aug. 30 to Sept. 3.
The increase in expected Labor Day travelers is driven by improving consumer confidence compared with a year ago and Americans’ unwavering desire to travel, AAA said.
A recent study released by MMGY Global and Harrison Group supports AAA’s thesis.
In its survey of 2,527 U.S. households, the research found that emotional connections are the primary reason for renewed interest in travel by consumers who endured years of having less money and time to take trips.
Like hotels nationwide, those in Las Vegas are charging more for rooms this weekend.
At the Stratosphere, rooms for Friday, Saturday and Sunday range from $400 to $430 for the entire weekend, which is up “slightly” from 2011. Spokeswoman Kathy Topp said the hotel is expecting a sellout.
“Labor Day weekend is a big weekend in Las Vegas,” said Paul Hobson, the hotel’s general manager.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is projecting 90 percent occupancy rates citywide this weekend, compared with 89.4 percent for Labor Day weekend 2011.
Fifth Street to take over gambling at Siegel properties
Fifth Street Gaming said Monday it has reached an agreement to take over gambling operations at two of the Siegel Group Nevada Inc. properties, including the Gold Spike, in a deal that expands the company’s presence in downtown Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas-based casino management company will also manage casino operations at Siegel Slots and Suites in North Las Vegas.
“The management of casino operations at Gold Spike is a natural evolution for us,” Fifth Street CEO Seth Schorr said. “The property will be absorbed into Downtown3rd, and we have already made a significant investment to upgrade technology, and ultimately, the experience at Gold Spike.”
Terms of the deals, which must be approved by Nevada gambling regulators, were not disclosed.
Visitors Authority decries breach of ‘stays in Vegas’ code
Last week, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority released an ad campaign deploring the breach of the Las Vegas Code by a lout who sold photos of Britain’s Prince Harry whilst he was engaged in a recreational pursuit on vacation.
One ad supports the fun-loving lad with a “Keep Calm and Carry On Harry” morale booster in the style of a World War II propaganda poster, while another, looking more like a Victorian handbill, is headlined “FOR SHAME!”
“We are asking for a shun on these exploiters of Prince Harry,’’ the broadside reads. “We shall boycott partying of any kind with them. No bottle service. No bikini clad girls. No Bucatini from Batali. In other words, we will not play with them anymore. WHO’S WITH US?”
“With the buzz and coverage it generated all around the world, we are very pleased with the return on investment,” authority spokeswoman Hetty Chang said in an email.
The campaign includes several elements of social media and production, and it builds on the recent “Know the Code” campaign scolding those who post Vegas trip pictures that embarrass their mates, or the odd royal, on Facebook or Twitter.
The ads capitalize on publication of photos of a decidedly naked Prince Harry embracing an unidentified young lady in equally limited attire at what appears to be the conclusion of a spirited game of strip billiards in his posh suite at Wynn Las Vegas.
Neon Museum set to open officially
After talking, planning and collecting since 1996, the Neon Museum finally has an opening date.
Although the site is still in construction disarray, the collection is expected to be open to the public on Oct. 27, after its keepers finish converting the lobby of the old La Concha motel into a visitor center and shop and rearranging the adjacent Neon boneyard for foot tours. The museum has generated revenue for a couple of years by taking visitors who pay $15 each through the 2-acre boneyard, the final resting place for more than 150 signs spanning seven decades. Now museum leaders hope to substantially boost ticket sales and add other income streams.
The La Concha embodies the era before the Strip become dominated by large corporations and video walls, with its distinctive clamshell shape dating back to 1961. It originally stood next to the Riviera before being moved six years ago.
The museum board has set a first-year operating budget of $1 million and expects to at least break even at 150,000 visitors. Tickets, at $18 for adults and $12 for seniors, students, locals and veterans, would account for the largest portion of revenues. Souvenir sales and rental for photo shoots or receptions would also contribute.
With its Las Vegas Boulevard North location, next to the Cashman Center and separated from Fremont Street by a half-mile of nondescript commercial buildings and U.S. Highway 95, the museum stands well away from the typical tourist trail.
Foreclosed LVH gets new management
The financially troubled LVH will gain new management under an agreement reached between the 3,000-room hotel-casino’s largest creditor and a court-appointed receiver who has been operating the property since January.
Employees of the off-Strip hotel-casino were notified Wednesday through the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act that a foreclosure sale of LVH would be held in November.
However, the LVH operators are not planning to cease operations. The notice was termed a “technical step” by one source because it will allow the property’s employees to be rehired under new management.
A joint venture between Gramercy Capital and Goldman Sachs Mortgage Co. LLC, the current lender of the property, is expected to bid for LVH in the foreclosure sale.