According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, approximately 1 in 5 visitors (18%) to the Las Vegas Strip in 2015 held an international passport, with Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom being our key international feeder markets.
After reading multiple articles with attention grabbing headlines like “international travel searches to United States down 17% since Donald Trump’s inauguration,” I wondered how accurate this was, and what, if any, effect this would have on Las Vegas tourism.
According to the USA Today (view article):
Overall, airfare searches from international destinations to the United States have dropped 17% since President Trump’s inauguration, according to the flight-data services firm Hopper. Searches from the seven countries included in the now-halted travel ban dropped 33% in the same period, the company said. The one notable exception: searches from Russia to the United States, which have leapt 88%, the company said. The drop includes some surprising countries, including Ireland, where travel searches to the U.S. have also dropped 33%.
(Read the same data on Conde Nast here.)
In today’s hyper-partisan political landscape, it’s becoming frighteningly normal to dismiss information you disagree with as being “fake news” and to interpret everything in the way the best fits your worldview.
This is when owning a travel website comes in handy…
We have access to over a decade’s worth of historical data on searches that have come from international visitors planning their Las Vegas nightlife on our site. Our data doesn’t care about your politics and has no bias. It just is what it is. And, if these trends continue, it should raise a red flag for anyone who derives their income from Las Vegas tourism.
Since Donald Trump being inaugurated as President of the United States, our sample of international traffic has dropped similarly to what’s been widely reported on other travel sites:
United Kingdom -26%
And, as a bonus, our data also showed this boost: Russia +162%
To be sure, this isn’t a perfectly accurate way of saying for sure that these international visitors absolutely won’t be visiting Las Vegas in the near future.
It may turn out that they’re just waiting for things to calm down, or maybe they’re all just fashioning together boats made of palm trees and, in an ultra hipster move, planning to explore the United States without any help from the internet.
But the fact that our traffic analytics data — which is specific to Las Vegas, matches up perfectly (or in some cases, much worse) than what has been reported on other travel and booking websites, isn’t looking good for The Strip.
If this trend in data is any sign of things to come, Las Vegas is looking at a drop in international visitors and it’s timing aligns perfectly with all of the news (and attempted legislation) coming from Washington D.C.
How We Got Our Numbers.
To compare JackColton.com to what’s been reported on national sites like Conde Nast, USA Today, and Hopper.com, I isolated three sets of data for International traffic to JackColton.com:
From 1/20/17 – 2/20/17 (Post Trump Inauguration).
From 1/20/16 – 2/20/16 (Comparable Time Period in 2016).
From 1/20/15 – 2/20/15 (Comparable Time Period in 2015).
Then, for an added bit of confidence in the data:
From 1/01/17 – 1/19/17 (Just Before Trump’s Inauguration).
From 1/01/16 – 1/19/16 (Comparable Time Period in 2016).
To compensate for differences in overall traffic levels due to changes in SERP (SEO), marketing campaigns, and press for the website (overall, our website traffic is up), I proportionately adjusted a curve to each date range. Also, of note, I only checked the 7 countries mentioned.
It’s possible to nitpick a few percentage points here and there, but the overall trend on our traffic is perfectly clear: international traffic is undeniably down in the month since Donald Trump took office, and that’s exactly what other sites are reporting as well.