Saturday, March 28, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Visitors to Las Vegas last year were likely to be older, were more likely to drive into town than fly and planned to spend less money.
Those are some of the statistics reported Friday in the 2008 Las Vegas Visitor Profile issued by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Published to help hotels and the community better understand tourists, conventioneers and other visitors who drive the local economy, the profile is based on interviews with 3,600 visitors conducted last year by GLS Research.
The researchers cautioned that the results reflect all of 2008 and don't fully portray the downturn in the economy that dramatically slowed visitation to Las Vegas later in the year and into 2009.
The results are in line with other research issued by the LVCVA, which found that in January -- as visitation declined 11.9 percent from January 2008 -- average hotel room rates in Las Vegas were $105, down 20 percent from January 2008.
Highlights of the visitor profile study, with numbers comparing 2008 to 2007:
-- The average visitor spent $102 on a room each night, down from $109. The average gambling budget of $532 was down from $556.
-- Eighty three percent of the visitors had household incomes of $40,000 or more, up from 80 percent.
-- Seventy six percent of the visitors were 40 or older, up from 72 percent; and the average age of 50.6 was up from 49.
-- Sixteen percent were first-time visitors, down from 19 percent.
-- Thirty nine percent were here for vacation or pleasure, down from 42 percent.
-- Fifty seven percent drove into town or otherwise arrived by ground transportation, up from 54 percent.
-- Forty four percent used the Internet to plan their trips, up from 40 percent.