MGM Resorts International announced this week that three casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip will be resuming their weekly hotel operations. The Mandalay Bay, Park MGM, and Mirage will all provide hotel operations by March 3. From that point, the properties will offer hotel services seven days a week, 24-hours a day.
Details of the Reopening
CEO and President of MGM Resorts, Bill Hornbuckle, released a statement on the reopening process of the hotels, stating that the change was a result of a positive change in travel by the public as well as progress via vaccinations and decreasing positive case counts. The casinos will resume full week options and the operator is optimistic about the recovery of Las Vegas as well as the ability to bring back employees to the faculties in larger volume.
It was back in November that MGM announced the three Strip properties would close mid-week due to low traveler numbers. The casinos continued to offer gaming and restaurant dining on a full-scale. There was not enough tourism during the week at that time to allow for the casinos to remain open full time.
Last year was an issue when it came to visitor volume in Las Vegas. The city relies on air travel, with individuals coming from states around the US as well as internationally. McCarran International Airport is the place where travelers come in, and it has reported a 57% decline in visitors. In 2020, around 22 million people traveled through the airport. The year prior, that number was much higher at over 51 million people.
Along with air travel, Las Vegas is also missing convention visitors. The city is known for hosting large conventions throughout the year. During conventions, travelers spend money on dining, drinks, hotel stays, gambling, and other forms of entertainment. Last year, convention travel dropped by a whopping 74%.
Because there were fewer travelers in the city, the hotel occupancy rate dropped. Weekend occupancy, as well as weekly rates, were down. In 2019, the weekend occupancy was up by over 90%. Last year, that number dropped to just over 52%.
As a result, guest room rates dropped, but travelers were still not coming into the city. Most people have been unwilling to travel due to fear of contracting the coronavirus. Even though the casinos are doing everything they can to create a safe environment, it is not enough to ease the minds of players to travel.
Will 2021 Be Different?
Is MGM Resorts making the right decision? Will tourism increase this year? Millions of people in the United States are receiving the vaccine for COVID-19 and restrictions are starting to loosen. Because of this, plus the eagerness to travel, operators feel that there will be an upswing in tourism numbers this year.
MGM not only decided to start offering hotel stays again mid-week but also are bringing back some of its live entertainment shows. Some will start back up this month while others will wait until March. Basically, the company feels that the demand for travel will increase visitor numbers, enough to dictate the reopening process and hopefully see more people coming back to Las Vegas very soon.