Las Vegas Hotel Room Rates Plunge With No In-Person CES Event This Year

Posted on: January 11, 2021, 02:47h. 

Last updated on: January 11, 2021, 04:24h.

With the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) being held virtually this week, hotel-casino room rates in Las Vegas have dropped by hundreds of dollars compared to last year.   

CES convention
Crowds jam a hallway at a previous year’s CES tech convention in Las Vegas. This year’s event is virtual-only. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Last January, during the Consumer Technology Association’s CES convention, Wynn Las Vegas charged $1,032 a night, according to an analysis by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. This year, the resort on the Strip is charging $99. 

The convention showcases innovative products from tech companies. Last year’s in-person convention in Las Vegas was Jan. 7-10. Because of COVID-19, the 2021 event is an online-only convention being held this Monday through Thursday.

Circus Circus, also on the the Strip, charged $309 a night last year during the convention. This week, the resort is charging $17. Sahara Las Vegas went from $752 last year to $28 this week. The D Las Vegas on Fremont Street charged $262 a night last year. This year the resort in downtown’s Glitter Gulch is charging $51.

Last year’s convention in Las Vegas attracted 171,268 people, according to the CES 2020 Attendance Audit Summary. This included 6,517 members of the media. The show featured 4,419 companies exhibiting their products. The event pumped $291 million into the Southern Nevada economy.

Casino Closings

The overall slump in convention business has some concerned whether the Las Vegas economy can recover quickly from the pandemic.

There was a hope that by now, wed be somewhat on the mend, but it doesnt appear as though thats likely,” Alan Feldman told the newspaper. A former casino executive, Feldman is a distinguished fellow in responsible gaming at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’s International Gaming Institute.

Some experts believe the ease of conducting meetings on platforms such as Zoom could lead to fewer in-person conventions.

John Restrepo, founder of Las Vegas-based RCG Economics, told the Review-Journal that the convention industry is undergoing a change “as business travelers get younger.” 

Theyre more used to technology,” he said. “They dont need the face-to-face interaction.”

Restrepo’s prediction could spell trouble for cities that rely on convention business. Conventions and large events are seen as vital to filling up Las Vegas hotel rooms in the middle of the week. The areas midweek occupancy rate in November was 32.4 percent. The weekend rate was 55.4 percent. These are the lowest occupancy rates since June. 

These low midweek rates have prompted some resorts on the Las Vegas Strip to close their hotel towers during the slow midweek days. Some have closed completely during less-busy periods.

Tourism in Decline

The slowdown in tourism is evident in the declining number of travelers using McCarran International Airport. The airport is south of downtown Las Vegas near hotel-casinos such as the Tropicana on the southern end of the Strip.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March, the number of arriving and departing passengers at the airport has been down by large numbers. In November alone, 2.4 million fewer travelers made their way through McCarran than in the previous November.

However, gaming historian David G. Schwartz of UNLV told that the number of visitors to Southern Nevada will pick back up once the coronavirus is under control.

“People are going to want to travel to Las Vegas,” he said.