Who are the average visitors to Mesquite? Are they retired golfers who don’t gamble all that much because they don’t have a lot money and are here on vacation? If you answered yes, you would be wrong.
Each month throughout the year, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority conducts 100 visitor surveys around town to “provide an ongoing assessment of the Mesquite visitor and trends in visitor behavior over time.” The surveys create a socio-demographic and behavioral characteristic profile and identifies market segments and potential target markets for businesses in Mesquite. The surveys also provide a basis for calculating the economic impact of different visitor groups.
The 2015 LVCVA survey report shows trends over a five-year period and provides a very interesting snapshot of those who visit Mesquite.
First-time visitors to Mesquite last year rose sharply to 15 percent compared to only 6 percent in 2011. The proportion of first-timers who were just passing through dropped significantly from 51 percent in 2011 to 42 percent last year. Translated, that means more first time visitors specifically came to Mesquite as a destination choice rather than just dropping by.
The proportion of repeat visitors who say they were just passing through fell drastically from 33 percent in 2011 to only 14 percent last year. Repeat visitors who came to Mesquite specifically to gamble rose sharply from 17 percent five years ago to 27 percent in 2015.
Interestingly, only 1 percent of both first time and repeat visitors say their primary purpose for their current trip to Mesquite was vacation or pleasure.
First-timers who say they came to Mesquite specifically to play golf comprised 13 percent of the survey respondents while 8 percent of repeat visitors named golf as their primary reason for coming to town. Overall, 10 percent of visitors say they played golf while in Mesquite, up from 6 percent each year since 2011.
The proportion of Mesquite visitors who gambled while visiting Mesquite fell a slight 2 percent over the last five years. Still 95 percent of them spent an average of $180 during their visit down from $207 in 2011.
Of note, the LVCVA surveyors asked a competitive impact question, worded as follows: “Now that there are more places to gamble outside of Mesquite, do you feel you are more likely or less likely to visit Mesquite, or does it not make a difference in your decision to visit Mesquite?” The report says that “the overwhelming majority, 98 percent, said that having other places to gamble made no difference in their decision to visit Mesquite.”
In 2011, about 75 percent of visitors to Mesquite were 50 years old or older with 36 percent over the age of 65. About 95 percent were married and 63 percent of them had a household income of $60,000 or more. The majority, 53 percent were retired and 37 percent has a high school diploma or less while 44 percent had some college education.
Most of those demographics flipped by 2015. Now people 50 years old or older make up 58 percent of visitors with 27 percent 65 years old and up. Married people make up 90 percent of the visitor population. Those with household incomes over $60,000 comprise 66 percent with 54 percent employed and 44 percent retired. Only 27 percent of visitors have a high school diploma or less while 46 percent have some college.
The only demographic that remained the same from 2011 to 2015 is that 80 percent of visitors to Mesquite reside in the western United States.
Apparently, people who visit Mesquite enjoy their stay since 99 percent of them said they were very satisfied with their trip. Of the 1,200 survey respondents, only 12 said they were just somewhat satisfied with their visit. Four visitors complained about their hotel, 3 had complaints about food or shopping and only two people complained about employees at the hotels or casinos. No visitors had any smoking-related complaints.
That high satisfaction rating led 75 percent of visitors to say they definitely will return to Mesquite and 16 percent saying they probably will come back.
The number of people who visited nearby places while they were in Mesquite stayed roughly the same over the last five years averaging around 32 to 35 percent. Las Vegas was the most popular side trip at 57 percent with 27 percent naming Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon as their side destination. The Valley of Fire dropped from 14 percent last year to only 9 percent this year as the secondary destination to Mesquite. Gold Butte specifically did not garner enough survey answers to be listed separately if at all.