The 30-day, mandated shutdown of Nevada casinos and most nonessential businesses was originally scheduled to end April 16, but some Las Vegas casino-resorts are eager to begin booking up their properties again.
On certain properties’ websites, like Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Wynn Resorts, rooms were available for booking beginning on April 17. Las Vegas Sands Corporation was also offering room bookings starting on April 20.
These specific properties’ room bookings were available on Tuesday morning, however, with Gov. Sisolak’s new closure extension that’s calling for all gaming properties, nonessential businesses, and schools to remain closed until April 30th, it’s surely thrown a wrench in those planned earlier bookings.
“Today’s ‘Stay at Home’ directive strengthens the imperative that Nevadans must not leave their homes for nonessential activities in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Sisolak said in a press release. “This directive builds on previous directives around school closures, social distancing, closure of non-essential businesses, and bans on public gatherings of 10 or more people by requiring you stay at home unless leaving is absolutely necessary.”
On the other gaming properties’ websites, including MGM Resorts International, Red Rock Resorts, and Boyd Gaming Corporation, their room bookings aren’t being offered until May 1, which seems like the more likely time of return with the Mayor’s recent extension.
Will Properties Fill Up, Post Shutdown?
That’s a tough question. On one hand, an antsy, quarantined national population will likely want to get out and about once we’re all freely able to travel and be in large groups again.
On the other hand, citizens may still be leery about traveling to a densely populated area like the Las Vegas Strip, especially if COVID-19 is still in the air.
“I think (tourists will return) in waves,” Applied Analysis principal Jeremy Aguero said. “They’ll have to feel safe, and the economic impacts of this (outbreak) will have effects on travel.”
What Will Room Rates Look Like, Post Shutdown?
According to Aguero, he says guests can likely expect lower room rates once the Las Vegas properties open their doors up again.
He thinks operators will “try to increase occupancy, and pricing is going to be a lever,” he said. “We’ve seen operators use this (strategy) in the past, and we have every expectation they’ll utilize it in the future.”
So what are room rates looking like right now?
Well, rooms at Caesars Palace and MGM’s Mandalay Bay are starting at $99 on their projected reopening date.
You can snag a room at the Red Rock Resort of Palms for even less, as they’re starting at $79 on May 1. A room at The Venetian is being advertised with the starting rate of $119.25 on April 20.
Boyd’s Aliante in North Las Vegas is offering rooms starting at $150 on May 1. While a stay at the Wynn is on the pricier end of the bunch, starting at $259 on April 17.
According to a statement by MGM representatives found on the company’s website, the company will “continue to monitor the situation and communicate any changes,” adding “while we look forward to getting back to the business of entertaining you soon, right now we are singularly focused on the well-being of our employees and our visitors from around the world.”
What Does the Outlook Look Like for Returning Guests?
According to STR and Tourism Economics, an analytics company, their March report (which excluded Las Vegas) projected that the U.S. hotel industry will report a 50.6 drop in revenue per available room (otherwise known as REVPAR).
That decline in revenue is due to obvious factors, like the virus outbreak and its affected shutdowns.
“The industry was already set for a non-growth year, now throw in this ultimate ‘black swan’ event, and we’re set to see occupancy drop to an unprecedented low,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior vice president of lodging insights, in a statement presented on March 30.
According to Aguero, it’s still premature to predict how the coronavirus pandemic will ultimately impact the Las Vegas tourism and REVPAR. Important, telling factors, like the length of the outbreak’s effects and the dent it will put into the local tourism industry need to be considered first.
“There are some scenarios that turn out better than that, and there are also those that turn out worse,” he said. “It’s going to be the trajectory of the virus that’s the determining factor for the trajectory of the tourism industry…When are people going to feel comfortable traveling again? Comfortable being in groups?” Aguero asked.
Survey Gives Some Insight
In a survey conducted by research firm, The Harris Poll, which took place the weekend of March 21, it found that around 15% of Americans said they would wait another couple to few months once the curve of the virus flattened out in order feel comfortable and confident enough to visit a casino again.
But, there’s another group of people who are eager to step foot into a casino just as soon as they’re able to again.
That group includes Oregon-resident, Makayla Melton. Melton has high hopes that things will return back to normal in Las Vegas by May, as she already booked round-trip tickets, which she snagged for under $100, and plans to stay at Luxor for a comfortable five days.
Melton, who will be a first-time Vegas visitor, is counting on casinos to be up and running by the time of her planned trip.
Flying itself isn’t a big concern of hers amid the outbreak, as she said she’ll be taking extra precautions to maintain her health while traveling to the city of lights.
“I’ll be careful, but I wanted to jump at the opportunity since everything was so cheap,” Melton expressed while hoping for the best. “The trip could be canceled last minute, but if it’s not it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Well, one thing is more certain despite all the changes currently going on, and that’s that April is expected to be an oddly quiet month on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
At least there’s more of a solid timeline on how long the Strip will stay shutdown for, per Gov. Sisolak’s latest stay-at-home order.
Be sure to keep an eye out on the different Strip properties’ websites to see if rates go down any further, and check back for more updates regarding Las Vegas casinos amid the coronavirus closures.
Will you be planning to make a trip down here when this all smooths over? Let us know in the comments below!