Bellagio is favorite Vegas resort, visitor survey shows - Wednesday 19th of October 2005

A new independent tourism survey says Bellagio is the favorite casino resort in Las Vegas.

And, of visitors who are members of a frequent-player loyalty program, most have an MGM Mirage Players Club card.

The survey, released today by New York-based Majestic Research casinos and leisure analyst Matthew Jacob, also said that while Las Vegas loads up on a variety of entertainment, dining and shopping alternatives, casinos are still the primary lure to the city.

Jacob said he wasnt surprised by most of the results, since he has seen other surveys about Las Vegas visitation.

"I guess I was a little surprised by the percentage of Las Vegas visitors who gambled," Jacob said. "The city has worked to diversify its nongaming offerings, but still, nearly every Las Vegas visitor plays."

According to the survey, 96.6 percent of those questioned said they gambled in their last trip to Las Vegas. The number is higher than the 87 percent reported in the 2004 visitor profile study commissioned by the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority.

The survey, titled "Majestic Surveys: The Las Vegas Visitor, What Happens in Vegas, Who Stays in Vegas," was based on questions of 437 adults, 21 or older, who visited the city in the past 12 months. The average age of a respondent was 40.7.

The survey was conducted online, and Majestic acknowledged that because of that method of gathering information that some data could differ from actual Las Vegas visitor demographics, such as age and sex of the participants and the percentage of people who booked their trips on the Internet.

Among the survey respondents, 33.4 percent live in California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii or Alaska, while 23.1 percent live in 17 states classified as the East Coast region.

Jacob said the Las Vegas visitor survey was his organizations first and that the company intends to conduct similar surveys three or four times a year in an attempt to reveal Las Vegas travel trends.

Unlike some surveys conducted by researchers with the LVCVA, the study includes some questions about preference among resorts and branded loyalty clubs.

Among survey respondents, MGM Mirages loyalty card was the most widely held, followed by Harrahs Total Rewards Card. Jacob said according to data, 48.7 percent of respondents that have a Harrahs Total Rewards card also have a Caesars Connection Card.

"This seems to contradict Harrahs managements statements that there was less than a 20 percent overlap between Harrahs and Caesars customer data bases, though we acknowledge that there is likely to be less overlap in markets other than Vegas," Jacob said in remarks accompanying the survey.

The survey also said the Bellagio, with 18 percent of the votes, was the overwhelming favorite casino resort in the city, followed by the Venetian (10.2 percent) and Caesars Palace (8.1 percent).

Respondents were asked to consider gaming and nongaming amenities when answering the question. Jacob said Wynn Las Vegas, which opened in April, may not have been selected by some respondents since the survey involved visitors who made a trip in the last 12 months. He said he expects Wynns popularity to climb in future surveys.

Trailing the top three among favorite casino resorts, according to the survey, were Mandalay Bay (6.2 percent), New York-New York (5.9), Paris Las Vegas (5.7), MGM Grand (5.5), The Mirage (4.7), Luxor (3.6), Rio (3.3), Excalibur (2.8), Harrahs (2.6), Circus Circus, Flamingo and Las Vegas Hilton (1.9), Aladdin, Palms and Wynn Las Vegas (1.7), Treasure Island (1.4), Ballys, Hard Rock and Monte Carlo (1.2), Stardust (1.0), Sahara (0.7), Tropicana (0.5), Barbary Coast, Frontier and Imperial Palace (0.2) and Riviera (0.0).

According to the survey, 2.8 percent had no answer or didnt know and 2.1 percent had other answers.

No downtown or locals properties made the list.

On the question about frequent-player cards, most (46.2 percent) did not participate in a program. But among the rest, 27 percent have an MGM Mirage Players Club card and 26.1 percent have a Harrahs Total Rewards card.

Those were followed by Caesars Connection Card (23.1 percent), Mandalay Resort Group One Club (17.2), Tropicana Winners Club (12.6), Station Casinos Boarding Pass (10.3), Venetian Players Club (9.8), Stardust Prime Rewards Club (8.5) and Wynn Resorts Red Card (4.3). "Other" was listed by 4.8 percent.

Other survey highlights:

Most (89.5 percent) stayed in a hotel on their last visit, with 7.4 percent staying at Bellagio, 6.9 percent at the MGM Grand and 5.6 percent staying at the Flamingo.

About 61.1 percent of those surveyed said they received some type of complimentary item on their visit, with 40.1 percent listing a meal and 33.6 percent an alcoholic beverage.

About 76.2 percent considered their visit a pleasure trip, while 13.3 percent of those responding said they were attending a convention.

Most surveyed (32.7 percent) stayed three nights, while approximately the same number of people (22 percent and 21.7 percent) stayed two or four nights, respectively.

In a response to a question that should leave marketers smiling, 61.3 percent of those surveyed said they would visit about the same number of times in the next five years as they had in the last five years, and 28.8 percent said they would visit more frequently.

Of nongaming activities, 72.3 percent said they shopped while in Las Vegas while 53.1 percent said they attended a show.

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