Las Vegas: In January, Las Vegas will welcome over 180,000 visitors to its annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — the world’s largest tech innovation event.
But as Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, reports, if Las Vegas wants to grow events like that, it will have to expand its base of available rental accommodation.
As the Las Vegas planning commission and the city council consider a proposal to either restrict or ban residents from renting out their own properties via short-term rental platforms, Shapiro said they should consider the bigger picture by providing visitors with accommodation across a range of prices.
However, he said the issue was not unique to CES as other trade shows, sporting events, festivals and conferences would attract more visitors if attendees had lodging choices at a variety of price points.
Las Vegas’ growing reputation as a sports hub, with the construction of stadiums and bids for future teams, highlights the need for more lodging options. Some visitors are seeking out more budget-friendly options or want to stay in homes so innovative short-term rental services represent travel solutions for travellers.
Short-term rentals often provide a more convenient and comfortable stay for business travellers for example as they offer amenities such as a kitchen or a living room. At the same time, hosts and homeowners can offer their own local expertise and make some extra money on top.
The city’s tourism business is no longer solely limited to the Strip and downtown Las Vegas. Now, visitors who book short-term rentals are spreading the wealth, beyond the traditional areas that Las Vegas is most known for.
Airbnb reported nearly three quarters of its properties are located away from traditional hotel areas. Airbnb travellers spend double the amount of other visitors and more than 40 per cent of what they spend is in the neighbourhoods where they stay so local businesses are also benefiting from this shift.
Shapiro said the advantages of short-term rentals make the proposed restriction from the planning commission appear a “hasty and unnecessary move”. Instead, he believes city leaders should work with rental property owners, local businesses and platforms to create rules that work for everyone in the relevant neighbourhoods.
Las Vegas is always growing and adapting to give visitors the best experience and in doing so, it is accommodating more visitors and welcoming innovative openness.
Shapiro said such moves to restrict visitor choices would only hurt the city and the world’s largest events, such as CES, that rely on accommodation choices for guests.