Last Updated Mar 24, 2010 1:05 PM EDT
As airfare costs rise, hotels can only drop prices to entice visitors -- an unfair deal, but one that nevertheless has become standard. And if anyone could, wouldn't they also want to spend less and stay in cheaper (but not less quality) hotels?
-- Hotel rooms not booked as part of a package cost on average $75.78 per day in 2009, down from $101.68 in 2008 -- and down from between about $107 and $109 when the economy was booming in 2006 and 2007. The actual cost for hotel rooms booked by all means averaged $92.93 in 2009, down from $119.19 in 2008, the LVCVA has reported separately.Because Las Vegas has been called a budget destination, they should embrace the label and advertise it as such. I know that won't be easy for new luxury hotels like Aria, Vdara and Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas to swallow -- which is OK, since their competitive prices are stealing away guests from mid-range hotels -- and they wouldn't appeal to budget travelers anyway.
-- Average spending on food and drink per trip in 2009 was $250.32, down from $273.39 in 2008.
-- Average spending on shopping per trip to Las Vegas in 2009 was $101.97, down from $121.90 in 2008.
-- Eighty-three percent of visitors gambled in 2009, a five-year low and down from 85 percent in 2008. Of those gambling, they had an average gambling budget of $481.57, down from $531.98 in 2008 and well off the recent peak of $651.94 in 2006.
-- Sixty-four percent of visitors attended shows in 2009, down from 72 percent in 2008. On a per-trip basis, visitors spent on average $39.87 for shows, down from $51.64 in 2008.
Las Vegas used to be famous as a destination with $49 hotels rooms, $4.99 steak dinners, and people gambling away hundreds of dollars. It never used to be about shows, clubs, $10,000 suites and $1,000 bottles of Grey Goose vodka. It may just be that Las Vegas is finally returning to its roots.
Photo: via James Marvin Phelps (mandj98)