AAA Admits It Has No Clue on Labor Day Travel, But Las Vegas Optimistic

Posted on: September 3, 2021, 08:53h. 

Last updated on: September 3, 2021, 03:43h.

AAA hasn’t released a holiday forecast for Labor Day in several years, and the nonprofit travel agency isn’t changing its ways for 2021.

AAA Labor Day Las Vegas holiday travel
Pedestrians walk along the Las Vegas Strip across Bellagio Drive on September 5, 2020. Southern Nevada officials are betting on strong visitor demand during the 2021 Labor Day weekend. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Destinations and travelers across the nation rely on AAA travel projections for busy holiday times throughout the year. The group — officially the American Automobile Association — uses various data points to predict travel during such holidays as Memorial Day and Thanksgiving.

But as many Americans begin their Labor Day weekend trips, AAA is again refraining from issuing any sort of guidance.

The Labor Day holiday of years ago has changed, especially with so many schools starting earlier now,” AAA said of its foregoing of trying to analyze Labor Day travel.

Regardless, tourism officials in Las Vegas are optimistic that a slew of travelers will come to Southern Nevada, stay at a casino resort, gamble, eat, attend a show, and shop.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors to Las Vegas for the unofficial end of summer,” said Lori Nelson-Kraft, spokesperson for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).

Delta Could Put Dent in Travel

The earlier start of the school year isn’t the only issue that has led to much uncertainty surrounding the 2021 Labor Day weekend.

COVID-19 and the delta variant continue to present worries. Gas prices have additionally surged in recent months, the national average for all grades $3.255 in August. That’s up 34.5 percent from $2.420 in January.

Las Vegas’ indoor mask mandate could also turn away some. Wildfires in neighboring California are also expected to damper holiday travel. Still, gaming experts in Nevada believe Las Vegas will be bustling today through Monday.

While there are numerous macroeconomic factors influencing travel right now, including the delta variant and natural disasters, I would still expect Labor Day to be busy and profitable,” Amanda Belarmino, an assistant professor at UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“With other places requiring vaccine cards and ID just for indoor dining, Las Vegas really is middle of the road in terms of requirements, safe without being intrusive. I think this will continue to spell success for Labor Day weekend and the beginning of fall,” Belarmino added.

Rooms Available

For those considering a last-minute trip to Las Vegas, casinos have plenty of vacancies.

On the Strip, a Friday through Monday stay in a standard suite at The Venetian runs $287 a night. With taxes and resort fees, the total stay comes to $1,129. Standard guest rooms at the new, flashy $4.3 billion Resorts World run cheaper, at a total cost of $873.

Other Strip options, inclusive of taxes and fees:

  • Cosmopolitan — $1,470
  • Wynn/Encore — $1,442
  • Bellagio — $1,381
  • Treasure Island — $759
  • Sahara — $596

The average nightly rates are considerably higher than what rooms typically sold for in July. According to LVCVA research, the average rate on the Strip in July was $160.71.

Downtown, once a nearby relief of Strip hotel room prices, isn’t actually cheap this weekend, either. Golden Nugget is $932, Fremont Hotel & Casino $917, and new Circa $1,052. More budget-friendly options include the Plaza Hotel and Casino ($512), the D ($459), and Golden Gate ($539).