MGM Resorts announced today that weekly hotel operations are resuming at three of its casino resorts located on the Las Vegas Strip.
Effective March 3, the hotels at Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, and Park MGM will be open seven days a week, 24/7.
“As we begin to see positive signs around the public’s sentiment about traveling, coupled with important progress on the vaccination front and decreasing COVID-19 case numbers, bringing Mandalay Bay, Park MGM, and The Mirage back to full-week operations is an important step for us,” MGM Resorts CEO & President Bill Hornbuckle said in a statement. “We remain optimistic about Las Vegas’ recovery and our ability to bring employees back to work as business volumes allow us to do so.”
MGM announced in November that Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, and Park MGM hotels would close midweek. However, the resorts’ casinos and restaurants remained operational throughout the week.
2020 Visitor Volume Down
2020 was of course a most difficult year for Las Vegas casinos.
McCarran International Airport, which will soon become Harry Reid International Airport, accommodated 57 percent fewer visitors. Last year, about 22 million air travelers came through the airport. In 2019, that number was more than 51 million passengers.
Total visitor volume in Las Vegas totaled 19 million in 2020, a 55.2 percent decline from 2019. Convention attendance tumbled 74 percent to just 1.7 million business travelers arriving in Southern Nevada.
With fewer people, hotel occupancy naturally dropped. Weekend occupancy went from more than 90 percent in 2019 to 52.8 percent. Midweek was even worse, as conventions are typically responsible for keeping casino hotel rooms occupied during the week. Midweek occupancy was 37.4 percent.
Guest rooms were cheap as a result. The average daily room rate on the Strip went from $143.21 in 2019 to $131.02 last year.
Revenue per available room — known as RevPAR — a common metric used in the hospitality industry, is calculated by dividing total room revenue by the total number of rooms available. Strip RevPAR fell from $129.46 to $55.16.
Visitor Demand Returning
Millions of Americans are receiving their COVID-19 vaccines, and state restrictions are continuing to be loosened. Along with announcing midweek hotel reopenings for the three casinos, MGM added, “In accordance with state guidelines, the Company recently announced several of its live entertainment shows will return to the stage in February and early March.”
The gaming industry is betting on a robust, built-up eagerness to travel among the public.
“As the burden of our health care system eases, travel restrictions are being lifted,” Hornbuckle said during MGM Resorts’ fourth-quarter 2020 earnings call earlier this month.
We believe the demand for travel and visitation in Las Vegas could be robust later in the year. In fact, our gross bookings in January was the strongest since the start of the pandemic, and guests are increasingly booking 90-plus days out,” Hornbuckle added.
“While the return of the larger groups will ultimately depend on the easing of gathering guidelines and other factors, we remain bullish on the long-term demand,” he concluded.
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