Skift Take

Nearly two million business travelers attended conventions in the first five months of this year, up almost 900 percent on the same period in 2021. And that's despite widespread international restrictions.

Sin City’s conventions and conferences are still pulling in the corporate crowds.

Visitor numbers working their way back to pre-pandemic levels, and businesses are more than willing to pay a premium; hotel rates in May this year were more than a quarter more expensive than before the pandemic.

Las Vegas saw two million people attending conferences and events from January to May this year, according to new figures from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

It was a star performer during the pandemic, now it appears the destination is continuing its run as a popular corporate destination.

The 1,999,900 business travelers represents an increase of 878 percent on the same five-month period in 2021, when just over 200,000 business travelers visited.

The overall number of leisure and corporate visitors combined exceeded 3.4 million people in May alone, surpassing May 2021 by nearly 20 percent, but remaining 7 percent below the level in May 2019.

However, average daily rates were up 25.1 percent in May 2022, compared with May 2019.

While the authority paints a picture of a resilient destination, international travel has not quite fully recovered, according to reports. All pre-pandemic conventions have returned to Las Vegas, but attendance was still down, Clark County Commission Chair Jim Gibson was reported as saying.

However he said: “We predicted probably 2024 before we were fully back. I think that one could make the argument that may happen earlier.” The report added that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority had also opened new tourism offices in Mexico, Canada, the UK and Germany.

Company spending on conferences has meanwhile surpassed 2019 levels, as an overall share of business travel budgets, and is expected to be up 4 percentage points in 2022 compared to 2019, according to a new Global Business Travel Association poll.

Its 28th Business Travel Recovery Poll, carried out last month, found conferences, trade shows and industry events stood at 21 percent of budgets, second only to customer and prospect meetings, which came in at 31 percent. Internal meetings with colleagues were at 17 percent.

”In-person meetings are on the top of the list for where companies are allocating their business travel spend this year,” the association said.

Korean Air this month became the latest airline to resume its flights between Las Vegas on July 10. Operations had been suspended from Seoul in March 2020 because of the pandemic.

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Tags: business travel, conventions, corporate travel, covid-19, las vegas, travel management, tripactions

Photo credit: The overall number of visitors to Las Vegas exceeded 3.4 million in May alone. Hard Rock International