Las Vegas hotel rates fare better with F1, as race faces challenges to draw American crowds

Las Vegas hotel rates fare better with F1, as race meets challenges to draw American crowds
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 12:02 AM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Las Vegas Strip room rates and occupancy fare better with the Formula race revving into Las Vegas, according to tourism experts, though sports experts note that the race still faces hurdles to attract Americans in droves.

Resort properties across the Las Vegas Valley have hoped for a financial boost from F1 fans.

“The indicator called ‘average daily rate’ will go up this week. It’s going to go up for everyone: Aria obviously, Bellagio, Caesars, Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn properties. The rooms on the other side of the hotels [without a race view]…those rooms are going to go at a more normalized rate, but it will still be higher than it would have been without F1,” said Alan Feldman, former MGM executive and Distinguished Fellow of the International Gaming Institute AT UNLV.

The event has been seen as crucial to ushering the return of international tourists, post-pandemic; Feldman calls it “a two or three hour commercial for Las Vegas the entire time.”

“We have to continue to find new ways to invite people to Las Vegas. To invite new people to Las Vegas, I can barely think of anything better than F1 to do exactly that. It’s inviting people who have never been here before, very, very often quite wealthy, ready and willing to spend a lot of money here in our town. I know it’s been inconvenient. I know it’s been very difficult. But that’s what we do here: we stage events, shows, we build hotels so that people will come here. And F1 I think represents an enormous opportunity for us,” Feldman said.

F1 follows the trends of other sporting agencies seeking to expand footprints into other international markets.

Will Americans come to see the race in droves?

“I think the biggest challenge is trying to get Americans to get an emotional connection to this product. Americans like sports because they identify with the teams,” said Alan Snel of LV Sports Biz, tracking business and economic trends in sports.

Snel points out the average American spends $664 a year to attend sporting events, according to a survey from Lending Tree, but points to the value of a ticket: Americans will spend cash to see their beloved teams.

“One way to connect with Americans is through just growing up and learning the sport as a kid, falling in love with the sport and having it culturally be part of their background. Now the other way is, when you get to be an adult, is to sell the experience,” Snel said.

F1 is truly selling the spectacle of Las Vegas in the race, he said.

“Time is more of a commodity than ‘things.’ F1 is going to have to try to create an experience that will be memorable for adults. They’re going to have to convince Americans that not only will you be watching it and a competitive sport race, you’re going to be immersed into this ‘bigger than life’ experience. I think some of the economic impact numbers have been overstated. But I’m the first to say that this will be a visual spectacle that will draw a lot of Americans to it once they see what it’s all about,” he said.

Both Snel and Feldman believe that some Americans will come to Las Vegas for last-minute hotel deals or race tickets for either fanfare or sheer curiosity for F1.