Las Vegas has already begun its comeback from the pandemic. The leaders of the two Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get the report from Caesars Entertainment Inc. and MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get MGM Resorts International Report said booking trends have picked up, and anecdotal evidence online suggests a busy March Madness season at casinos on the Strip and downtown Fremont St.
Nicknamed Sin City, Las Vegas has always been synonymous with excess. That might mean gambling, splurging on some of the best food in the world, or gorging on a buffet. The city offers every means of vice, including legal cannabis, every type of drink known to man, and, well, plenty of things that aren’t quite legal but are readily available.
In Las Vegas, you can get married at any time of day and follow it up with just about any celebration you want. It’s a city of indulgence and it’s host to everything from the Consumer Electronics Show to the World of Concrete (a construction industry trade show) to conventions and meetings for just about every industries imaginable.
When you visit Las Vegas, you might not adopt the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” attitude, but you’re probably a little more forgiving than back home. Maybe you order dessert or maybe you go to a show that’s a little R-rated. Being in Las Vegas tends to release inhibitions.
This makes it a perfect city to host the AVN Awards, which hasn’t happened in two years due to the pandemic.
Vegas once again hosts a flagship event
In the early 1990s, the Consumer Electronics Show included a section devoted to adult videos. It made sense because VCRs were a key consumer electronics product, if not the key product. Eventually, the Adult Entertainment Expo split off and became its own show, which usually ran concurrently with CES.
“The presence of adult videos at CES seemed like a no-brainer. As the home video market took off, so did the porn industry,” Variety reported.
“VHS and Betamax players were the hardware, and porn was their (hardcore) software. As VHS grew in popularity on Betamax, porn’s legend as a technological kingmaker solidified. “
AAE morphed into the AVN show, named Adult Video News, which once served as sort of, well, Variety/Hollywood Reporter for the adult film industry. The event hasn’t happened in two years as an in-person event.
Even though CES returned this year (albeit in a very low-key form with reduced attendance), its unofficial companion hosted a virtual show in 2022. That will change this year as the show returns with an in-person event from the 4 through January 7, 2023, (during CES) at the new Resorts World casino/hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
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The show will consist of several events. the AVN Expo, the GayVN Awards and the 40th Annual AVN Awards Show. With over 500 exhibitors, as well as thousands of adult stars and content creators, the event will showcase “the latest innovations and developments in adult entertainment.”
Why is the event important for Las Vegas?
This is a return to normal. Conventions and events generate a lot of business in Las Vegas in several ways. The CES and, to a lesser extent, the AVN enjoy extensive media coverage, which attracts more people to Sin City.
Caesars Entertainment COO Anthony Carano even opened the company’s fourth quarter earnings call by talking about the event business.
“Despite an increase in Covid-19 cases in late December and January, we remain encouraged by booking trends through 2022 and beyond,” he said.
“While group attrition remains high, we began to see conventions return to Las Vegas in the second half of 21, and the segment accounted for approximately 10% of occupied nights, a dramatic improvement from the first half of 21. In the fourth quarter ‘On February 21, we recorded a record $160 million in new business in the company-wide group segment.’
MGM Resorts General Manager Bill Hornbuckle spoke about group events/activities during his company’s fourth quarter earnings call, stressing how a major driver it is.
“January, which typically relies more on group activities in Las Vegas, saw significant headwinds driven by groups primarily looking to reschedule until later in the year. Cancellations, while high, were mostly concentrated in very short term with limited impact beyond March,” he said. “The CES in January was the most visible event this year with an attendance drop of around 70%.
He sees the problem correcting itself relatively quickly.
“Cancellations are down and group lead volumes are normalizing. Forward hotel bookings have been flat for the past several weeks and are starting to rise above 2019 levels again,” he said.