Skift Take

Hilton’s rapid growth in Sin City signals the company sees a full travel rebound for Las Vegas, which greatly suffered from a year of no major events during the pandemic. But developing a successful Las Vegas mega-resort doesn't come cheap: Celine Dion wouldn't leave Caesars Palace for pennies.

Series: Early Check-In

Early Check-In

Editor’s Note: Skift Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill brings readers exclusive reporting and insights into hotel deals and development, and how those trends are making an impact across the travel industry.

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It wasn’t long ago when analysts wondered what future there was for resort developers in a place like Las Vegas, where occupancy rates relied on events and gambling halls filled with crowds of people — concepts very much at odds with the pandemic’s social distancing mantra. But that was then, and Hilton and other brands see a very different future. The $4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas — in partnership with Genting Group — opening later this week includes Hilton’s eponymous brand as well as a Conrad and Crockfords, part of Hilton’s LXR Hotels & Resorts brand. The latter two brands’ arrival in Las Vegas means the city is the only U.S. market with all three of Hilton’s luxury imprints (a Waldorf Astoria is further south on the Las Vegas Strip). Everything about Resorts World is big. Its combined 3,500 guest rooms and suites makes it on track to be Hilton’s largest property in the world. It won’t be home to one musical residency; it will be home to several: Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, Zedd, and Tiësto will all regularly perform at the sprawling resort. Resorts World even managed to woo Celine Dion away from her longtime spot at Caesars Palace. The splashy entertainment value of Resorts World is a bit of a Sin City homecoming for Hilton. The former Las Vegas Hilton was once the largest hotel in the world and was an early player in the artists-in-residency category as the home venue for Elvis Presley. That property is now a Westgate timeshare resort and casino. Hilton’s Vegas growth story is more t