Calculating a successful and a Happy New Year!

ImageA vendor shows off her holiday wares to passers by as the Strip fills with revelers to ring in the new year.

This is it, the end of 2010, the end of the first decade of the 21st century and an exclamation mark on the end of the 20th century.  The younger you are the less sense poking the 20th century into the second decade of the 21sth century makes any sense at all.  But if you are old, then it makes sense, because in small, unconscious ways you and I are still hanging on to little bits of that century – we were born there, we lived most of our lives there and for the most part, the most significant events of our lives (and world history) took place there. But by now you and I both have to acknowledge that it is gone.

So, now it is time to rush out into the streets, hoot our horns, toast, dance, kiss and sing “Auld Langs Syne.”  320, 000 people are expected to gather on the Las Vegas Strip to celebrate on Friday night.  And for all of its heralded financial problems in the last two years, only a handful of crowds in the world will be larger. The reason is pretty simple – there are 220,000 hotel rooms in the city.  Again, few cities in the world have more.  A long time ago, I listened to a sports book manager argue for a larger lounge for his players.  He said that although he only used half of his capacity on any day except New Year’s Eve and Day, the size of that crowd would determine the average daily crowd size for the entire year – and of course that crowd’s size was determined by the size of the lounge.

Hotel occupancy in Las Vegas is normally between 80 and 90 percent (calculated on a weekly basis), and nears 100 percent on all major holidays and during times special events are being held.  All cities, with or without,  casino gaming experience a like phenomenon – a base occupancy rate (for most cities that is between 60 and 70 percent) most of the time, with near capacity holidays.  Las Vegas may have overbuilt and may be in a serious recession, but it still has crowds that are double of what the city saw 15 or 20 years ago (and of course the accompanying revenues) – the crowds have grown as the number of hotel rooms have grown.  So while, Atlantic City, Reno, Detroit, Biloxi and every other city with gaming will experience capacity crowds on New Years – their capacity’s are tiny compared to Las Vegas.  Sometimes building a little extra is not a bad idea.

Happy New Year, but be careful who you kiss, what you drink, where you dance and always have a designated driver.



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December 2010
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