- MGM Resorts has announced that The Mirage in Las Vegas will close all operations Monday through Thursday starting January 4.
- The move is due to the continued weakness in the Las Vegas tourism and gaming industry due to COVID-19.
- The Mirage has been operating hotel accommodations ‘weekend only’ during the month of December.
There appears to be no bottom in sight for the flat lining Las Vegas tourism and gaming industries. Every time it looks as if things can’t get any worse the other shoe drops to further illustrate the depths of the economic abyss confronting Southern Nevada. The latest indication of how bad things *really* are–MGM Resorts has announced that starting January 4 and running ‘indefinitely-but-hopefully-not-later-than-the-end-of-February’ The Mirage Las Vegas will be closed midweek. Not just the hotel–the whole property including the casino and the iconic volcano.
It wasn’t that long ago that Las Vegas used their status as a 24/7 playground as a marketing strategy. I probably have some ‘Las Vegas 24/7’ swag somewhere around my house. Now the notion of ‘Las Vegas: Always Open’ is being challenged. Don’t get me wrong–I understand completely why they’re doing it. As a MGM Resorts stockholder I agree with the decision, at least from a financial standpoint. From a symbolic standpoint, however, it demonstrates just how close the COVID-19 pandemic has come to destroying a good deal of what makes Las Vegas special. A vaccine can’t come soon enough….
Here’s the Tweet that The Mirage sent earlier today announcing the move:
Here’s a more expansive statement that MGM Resorts sent to the media:
With weekday business levels remaining low due to COVID-19 and the restrictions on group gatherings, we have made the decision to temporarily close The Mirage Monday – Wednesday, effective January 4, 2021. This closure will include the casino, hotel and restaurants, in addition to all other amenities. While we do not currently expect the mid-week closure to remain in effect past February, we will continue evaluating how long The Mirage’s mid-week hotel closure will remain in effect.
Nehme Abouzeid, president of LaunchVegas LLC consulting group, summed up the situation:
“We’re usually kicking off the year in January with a booming CES show and glowing worldwide media coverage. Instead, we’re shuttering hotels so we don’t hemorrhage more money.”
“Not only do we have low demand, but we have public health rules prohibiting large groups from even meeting. What do you expect corporations to do?”
He called the midweek closures a ‘sad but understandable’ inevitability. That just about says it all and it might not be the end of it. It sure wouldn’t surprise me to see other properties adopting a similar strategy as they navigate the typically slow winter months with little or (more likely) no convention business to keep rooms filled and slot machines ringing.
The announcement comes precisely a month to the day from MGM Resorts’ announcement on November 20 that the hotels at The Mirage and Mandalay Bay would be closing midweek. The midweek closure of Park MGM was announced not long after the property reopened. At this point, midweek closures of the hotels at major Strip properties are so common it’s tough to keep track of them. Planet Hollywood, Palazzo Tower and Encore are definitely closed for midweek lodging. For now, there’s at least one major property reopening soon–Caesars Entertainment has announced that the Rio All Suite Resort and Casino will reopen on December 22 at 10 AM Pacific.
There hasn’t been any updated information from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority since they dropped the summary of Southern Nevada tourism indicators for October. Suffice to say, they haven’t improved with the COVID-19 virus resurgent across the United States and internationally. The last full month of data (October 2020) reported by the LVCVA shows not only the significance of the convention industry but the complete lack of it currently. In the past five years, each October has attracted more than a half million convention visitors to Las Vegas. In the past four years, Las Vegas’s convention visitor count has hit 6.3 million or more annually.
This report now shows 7 straight months of zero convention attendance but in reality Las Vegas is nearing the end of month number nine without *any* convention business whatsoever. This is an essential source of midweek revenue and the spate of midweek closures serve to underscore the importance of conventions to the Southern Nevada economy. Even with COVID-19 vaccines rolling out it will still take a number of months to get them to the general public. By that point, there’s every reason to think that convention travel Las Vegas will have been at zero every month for a year or more.