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We’re all looking for a way to do our Las Vegas trip for less or at the perfect time to optimize our vacation. We took a look at 2017 visitor data provided by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to answer some pretty common questions Las Vegas travelers find themselves researching. What are the busiest and least busy months to visit Las Vegas? When are Las Vegas hotel rooms the least expensive? How about the most expensive?
Later, we will dive into some specific weekends and events you should look to avoid if seeking a cheap, less crowded trip to Sin City, but first, let’s dive into some high-level data!
The chart below relies on 3 separate metrics for each month in 2017. Occupancy rate simply refers to the percentage of room nights available that Las Vegas hotels filled. Average Daily Rate is the average amount of money travelers paid for those room nights and Total Visitor Volume simply states how many total people visited Vegas.
Not surprisingly, the colder months of November, December, January, and February were the least busy times to visit Las Vegas. Those months had the lowest visitor count, occupancy, and average room rates (with the exception of Jan).
January is a bit of an anomaly. The month ranks as the 4th WORST month for Occupancy (just 85.7%) and overall visitor count (3,508,800 total visitors), yet has the HIGHEST average room rate at a whopping $149.13 per night. These astronomical hotel rates are likely being driven by the high demand on specific dates such as the NFL Playoffs and conventions like CES, SHOT Show, etc. From personal experience, you can find mid-week rates cheap in January. Shop around.
Now, just because a month tends to have a high average rate doesn’t necessarily mean that every day within that month will be ungodly busy or expensive. Oftentimes, the monthly statistics like Average Rate and visitors are driven by specific conventions, sporting events, or holidays that are popular for travel to Las Vegas. Shop around to find the most advantageous dates for you and book on a site that allows free cancellation so you can check back for cheaper deals later!
What are the busiest times in Las Vegas? Here are some of the main ones:
Consumer Electronics Show (Early January)
Over 180,000 conventioneers attended the Consumer Electronics Show in 2017 which takes place in Las Vegas annually in early January. That many people crowding the sidewalks, the monorail, and most importantly, the craps tables will make Vegas pretty hectic.
Conventions run in Las Vegas year-round, some larger than others. You can check here to see what conventions conflict with your travel dates.
Additionally, I like to pull up hotel rates for a specific property, Flamingo for instance, and view their nightly rates over the month you would like to visit. You’ll see the nightly price fluctuations and it will become very obvious what nights have major events and which nights are in lesser demand. Its foolproof.
March Madness (Mid-March)
For the sports betting community, doing the opening weekend of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball tournament is the pinnacle of degenerative gaming. As thousands of gamblers flock in from around the country to their Mecca, it can be difficult to find an affordable hotel room. Don’t expect to find a seat in the sportsbook either.
Super Bowl (Early February)
Another premier sporting event = one of the busiest times to visit Las Vegas.
Halloween (October 31st)
What’s more fun than dressing up and getting drunk? Dressing up, getting drunk and gambling! With that simple truth in mind, Halloween in Las Vegas is a popular time to visit. Pay up if you want to join the party, but pick another time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds.
New Years Eve
Haven’t you seen the movie Forrest Gump? Booze, New Year’s Eve, good friends, and prostitutes equate to a great time… unless she tastes like cigarettes. Vegas is generally a party, Vegas on New Years is a madhouse. Yes, we know prostitution is illegal in Vegas. We’re also not naive.
Memorial/Labor Day Weekend
A 3 day weekend is a popular time to book a trip to Las Vegas. If you are looking to avoid the crowds and expensive rooms, avoid ’em.
National Finals Rodeo (Early December)
Held on the UNLV campus in early December, the National Finals Rodeo features the top 15 earners per Rodeo event as they compete for their respective championship belts. At least, I hope there are belts. They deserve them. Consequently, a lot of folks that like watching guys conquer bulls visit Las Vegas making it a pretty busy time to be in town.
Again, avoiding major events in Las Vegas can save you a lot of time, hassle, and money on room rates. Use the convention calendar linked in this blog post or simply look at a single hotel’s room rates over a month to gauge what dates to avoid vs. when there is less travel demand. Lastly, ALWAYS book a refundable room so that you can take advantage of rate drops.