Las Vegas Room Rates Remain Higher During March Madness

Posted on: March 24, 2021, 03:07h. 

Last updated on: March 24, 2021, 03:42h.

Room rates at Las Vegas hotel-casinos are holding steady at a higher rate going into the second weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Caesars Palace
A water feature adorns the front of Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. The resort is one of many experiencing more room reservations in March than in previous months. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

These higher rates show “things are looking up” for tourism in the city, gaming consultant Debi Nutton told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Looking at the room rates, it shows demand,” said Nutton, a consultant for Resorts World Las Vegas and a former Wynn Resorts executive.

The newspaper’s analysis of 16 hotel-casinos on or near the Strip shows room rates are remaining higher than rates on Saturday, March 13, the last weekend before the men’s tournament began.

The 68-team tournament tipped off on March 18 and was in full swing by Saturday, March 20. Room rates on March 20 were higher than the previous Saturday. The tournament, which wasn’t played last year because of COVID-19 concerns, traditionally is a busy period for Nevada sportsbooks and hotels. The championship game is April 5 in Indiana.

Heading into the second weekend of tournament play, room rates in some instances are even going up. The starting rate at Excalibur Hotel and Casino is up 42 percent, from $139 last Saturday to $238 now, the newspaper reported. The Flamingo Hotel and Casino is going from $175 to $259, a 32 percent increase. Caesars Palace already is full for the upcoming weekend, according to the newspaper.

Year-long Tourism Decline

For a city battling a year-long tourism slump during the coronavirus pandemic, these sustained higher room rates well into March may indicate that an economic rebound could be coming, according to industry experts.

“The first week of March Madness is always great because of all the games,” Nutton said. “You’d think next week wouldn’t be as good. But when we talk about pent-up demand and the great weather in Las Vegas, it’s a great time to go.”

Las Vegas also could be benefiting from the geographic location of the collegiate teams in the Sweet 16. Five of the 16 remaining teams headed into play this weekend are from the West Coast. Two of the teams, the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans, are from Los Angeles. Los Angeles is the closest major metropolitan area to Las Vegas.

Casino Openings

Las Vegas tourism officials also are encouraged by the number of hotel-casinos coming fully into operation in recent weeks.

Several hotels that had been closed during the slow middle of the week are operating on a seven-day schedule again. These include the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino and the Palazzo at the Venetian Resort. Both are on the east side of the Strip.

On Thursday, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is opening in the remodeled and rebranded Hard Rock on Paradise Road east of the Strip. 

In addition, construction of Resorts World Las Vegas is nearing completion in time for its anticipated summer opening. The resort is continuing its interview process in filling 6,000 job vacancies. Resorts World is on the west side of the Strip at the location of the now-demolished Stardust Casino.

In addition, many in the tourism industry hope the nationwide vaccination rollout inspires confidence people who are reluctant to travel. 

“I think people feel comfortable returning,” Nutton told the newspaper.