Last year Mesquite saw over 1.3 million people visit its hotels, restaurants, golf courses, and local activities. That number has steadily risen since the depths of the great recession racked the local tourist industry for over five years.
But who are they, where do they come from, and what do they do while they’re in Mesquite? The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) 2016 annual visitor profile contains some of those answers.
Visitor demographics have changed very little over the years with the largest segment still married and from the western half of the nation. “While visitors have continued to skew older, there has been a slight decrease in the proportion of those between 60 and 64 years old and a slight increase in those 65 years old and older,” the LVCVA reports says.
The annual household income of visitors has fallen in the $80,000 or more category and increased in the $60,000 to $80,000 range. The proportion of retired visitors increased a bit while those who were employed fell to just under one-half.
Visitors to Mesquite are “staying longer and spending more money” according to the LVCVA even though fewer are gambling.
One of more startling statistical changes shows that 87 percent of Mesquite visitors gambled while they were here. That’s a significant drop from 95 percent in 2015 and 97 percent in 2012.
To somewhat soften that blow to the casinos, of those who did gamble they increased their time and budget for the activity. “The average trip gambling budget in 2015 was $212.51, up significantly from an average gambling budget of $179.85 in 2015,” the LVCVA report said.
Having seven nearby golf courses would lead one to believe that a significant portion of visitors come here for golf. But that hasn’t always been proven by the numbers.
“Thirteen percent of Mesquite visitors said they played golf while visiting Mesquite, up significantly from 5 percent in 2012, 6 percent each in 2013 and 2014, and 10 percent in 2015,” according to the report.
And, while it seems to local residents that a growing number of people come to Mesquite for youth sports tournaments and events, that characteristic does not register in the surveys. In fact, 96 percent of the survey respondents said there were no people under the age of 21 in their immediate party.
While a significant portion of Mesquite visitors continue to say they are just passing through, 27 percent said they were planning or had visited other areas in Nevada or nearby states. That’s the lowest it’s been since 2012 and down from 35 percent in 2014.
Most people, 57 percent, said Las Vegas was on their schedule while 27 percent were going to Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon. St. George, UT was part of 24 percent of the visitors’ travel plans. Other nearby destinations mentioned were Valley of Fire, Laughlin, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and Death Valley. Nearby Gold Butte was not listed as a part of travel plans.
Another noteworthy change in the visitor profile shows that 78 percent of people coming to Mesquite said it was a repeat visit. That demographic has steadily declined from 94 percent in 2012. However, there’s been a steady increase over the last five years of visitors coming to Mesquite just to relax. In 2014 and 2015 that amounted to 16 percent. In 2016, the percentage of visitors here to relax jumped to 22 percent.
“All visitors to Mesquite were 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 majority of visitors (87 percent) said that having other places to gamble made no difference in their decision to visit Mesquite, down significantly from 98 percent each in 2012 and 2015 and 99 percent each in 2013 and 2014. Twelve percent said it made them more likely to visit (up from 2 percent in 2012 and 1 percent each in 2013–2015) and 1 percent said it made them less likely to visit,” the LVCVA report said.
Mesquite has always enjoyed a high satisfaction rating from its visitors and 2016 was no different with 98 percent saying they were “very satisfied.”
Only 15 visitors, or one percent, said they were only “somewhat satisfied” when they visited Mesquite. Of that number, the chief complaint was related to dissatisfaction with their hotel followed by complaints about food. Other complaints were related to gambling, shopping and employees. Interestingly, not one person complained about smoking in the casinos.
LVCVA reported a significant increase in the number of people who said they will definitely return to Mesquite. In 2016 that was 78 percent of survey respondents. The number has grown steadily over the last five years from 59 percent in 2012 who said they will definitely come back.
If you’re a believer in “word of mouth advertising” you’ll be happy to note that 97 percent of visitors said they “definitely” or “probably” will recommend Mesquite to others with 86 percent of them choosing “definitely.” In 2012 only 71 percent of visitors chose that selection.
In conjunction with that, 55 percent of Mesquite visitors said they first heard about Mesquite from friends and relatives, up significantly from 34 percent in 2012.
The LVCVA publishes the results of surveys they take throughout the year to monitor trends, identify market segments and potential target markets and to help calculate the economic impact of visitor groups. The report contains survey results over the last five years. One hundred surveys are conducted each month near Mesquite hotel-casinos and hotels.