Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mild improvements, fragile recovery

The latest monthly data is out today from the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and they show small upticks but also important ones continued their downward trends. You can see it all the April 2010 v April 2009 stuff for yourself or let me boil it down for you below, with all figures referencing Vegas/Clark County unless otherwise noted:

* UP: Visitor volume (0.9%), total room nights occupied (0.4%), convention attendance (2.9%), average daily room rates (3% to $96.87), Mesquite gaming revenue (1.7%) and -- this is a surprise -- Laughlin convention attendance (20.5%)

* DOWN: Clark County gaming revenue (6.1%), passengers that came/went at McCarran (5%), auto traffic at the CA-NV I-15 border (1.1%) and -- this is eye-popping -- gaming revenue on the Boulder Strip (25.5%).

There's a notation about gaming revenue that when a month ends on a weekend, sometimes properties report that in the next month. So it's unclear if these gaming drops are the full picture except that the Boulder Strip -- Sunset Station, Eastside Cannery, Boulder Station -- look disastrous any which way. Not sure what's up in Laughlin, either, since they actually had a 5.7% drop in visitor volume.

It does mark the eighth consecutive month of overall visitor volume increase, but these rises are so anemic -- a 1.3% rise year-to-date versus last year -- that they're pretty irrelevant when we remember that the city also now has 7,500 additional hotel rooms to fill than this time last year. Citywide occupancy is down 3.1% year over year because of that.

Tough times. But it's nice to see our housing market is showing modest signs of improvement, too.