Las Vegas is a destination that’s constantly reinventing itself, and this year was no exception. In 2023, Las Vegas hosted Formula 1 (F1) for the first time in more than 40 years, and saw the opening of entertainment destination and architectural wonder, the Sphere. The Sphere launched with an ongoing residency from acclaimed band, U2, in addition to other immersive experiences. How did these new tourist attractions impact visitation in Las Vegas?
Azira looked at a selection of top attractions and hotels in Las Vegas to see how they fared for visitation across three time frames:
- Control: September 1-28, 2023 (before The Sphere opening)
- The Sphere Opening: September 29 – October 31, 2023 (following The Sphere opening)
- F1 Week: November 13-19, 2023
Here’s how the new features impacted Las Vegas:
Impact on Attractions: A Mixed Bag
Top tourist attractions were impacted in different ways by the Sphere and F1. The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian saw the strongest visitation increase of 19% following The Sphere opening, and 22% during F1. The Venetian is directly connected to The Sphere, and it appears that the Shoppes are benefiting from that connection. The Venetian was also centrally located along the track during F1.
By comparison, the Eiffel Tower at Paris Hotel and the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace both saw more modest lift – they saw a 9% and 2% increase in visitation following the opening of the Sphere, respectively. And during F1, they saw an uplift of 1% and 3%.
However, not all the attractions saw a positive impact during this time frame. The ever-popular Bellagio Fountains saw a decline in visitation of 30% following the Sphere opening, and 36% during F1. This is likely due to reduced access to the fountains due to construction of the Bellagio Fountain Club, a premiere location for viewing the F1 race costing $11,250 per person to enter.
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Impact on Hotels: Uplift in Visitation and Rates
Hotels have also been impacted by the opening of the Sphere and the F1 event. Overall, the hotels we looked at saw a 10% lift in visitation over the control time. However, that varied significantly across the specific hotels. Of the hotels we looked at, the most budget-friendly option, Rio Hotel & Casino, which is just off of the Vegas Strip, actually saw the biggest lift in visitation for the Sphere and F1 (32% and 78% lift, respectively). This is likely because it was one of the most affordable hotel options in Vegas, especially during F1. In fact, while The Venetian and Wynn hotels saw their rates surge drastically during F1 – to $952 and $2533 respectively, Rio actually had a deal with room rates at $74 a night at some points (down from their average of $100 a night).
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The Venetian and Wynn hotels, with their sky-high room rates at 211% and 352% above the norm, saw a slight decrease in visitation during F1, down 4-5% each. Similar to the Bellagio Fountain Club, this was likely due to the exclusivity of their pricing during this time.
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A Surge in International Visitors
In addition, Las Vegas hotels and attractions saw an increase in the share of international tourists coming to the destination. Following the launch of the Sphere, international tourists grew by 37%. And during F1, an event with huge international appeal, international visitors surged by 114% over the control period.
The Continued Evolution of Las Vegas as a Destination
The Sphere and F1 have undeniably impacted tourism in Sin City. While impact varies across hotels and attractions based on proximity, rates, and whether they were affected by F1-related construction, the overall effect has been a positive one. The city further established itself as a destination with global appeal, as shown by the remarkable influx of international tourists during the Sphere’s debut and the F1 spectacle. As Las Vegas continues its evolution as a dynamic tourist hub, the Sphere and Formula 1 have undeniably left their mark on its tourism industry, attracting a more diverse and global audience to this vibrant destination.
Azira looked at consumer behavior data from September 1 – November 19 2023, for hotels and attractions in Las Vegas including Rio Hotel & Casino, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, The Venetian Hotel, Wynn Hotel, The Grand Canal Shoppes, The Forum Shops, The Eiffel Tower, and Bellagio Fountains. For footfall lift comparisons, Azira looked at footfall data for locations during the Control time frame (September 1-28), compared to following the launch of the Sphere (September 29-October 31) and during F1 Week (November 13-19).