People who visit Mesquite seem to fall in love with the City while they're here, so says the latest report from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).
The annual Mesquite Visitor Profile is compiled each year based on findings from 1,200 personal interviews conducted in or near Mesquite hotel-casinos and hotels. One hundred interviews are completed each month to get a year-round assessment of those visiting the City and to establish trends in their behavior over time.
The 2011 report is a mixed bag of results for those wanting and needing to increase tourism in the local area.
Apparently when people come to Mesquite they love it here because 99 percent of all visitors told the LVCVA surveyors that they were "very satisfied" with their stay. That's a significant increase from 94 percent in 2007, 97 percent in 2008, and 98 percent in 2009 and 2010.
Only six percent of the people surveyed were first-time visitors to Mesquite. That's down by almost half from 2007 when 11 percent of visitors were classified as first-timers. What's more, among those coming to Mesquite for the first time, only six percent said their primary purpose for visiting was for vacation or pleasure. That's dropped significantly from 17 percent in 2007 and 22 percent in 2008. Only one percent who were visiting for the first time came to gamble.
The bulk of people saying their visit was the first time they had been to Mesquite, 51 percent, said their primary purpose was "just passing through." In 2007, only 38 percent of first time visitors gave that as their reason for visiting the City.
The same reason, "just passing through," was given 33 percent of the time for repeat visitors to Mesquite when they were surveyed. That number has held fairly steady since 2007, rising to 39 percent in 2008 and dropping back down.
Only one percent of repeat visitors in town said they were here primarily for vacation or pleasure. That is a significant drop from the nine percent in 2007 and the 11 percent in 2008 who reported their trip as vacation or pleasure.
Those repeat visitors who reported their primary purpose for coming to Mesquite as gambling has held steady at 17 percent. That's the same as 2009 and 2010. It was 16 percent in 2007 and 14 percent in 2008.
The good news when analyzing all the visitors to Mesquite in 2011 is that the average number of visits was 9.2, a sharp increase from 6.4 in 2008 and 7.7 trips in 2009.
And, over a five year span, the average number of visits to Mesquite significantly increased to 26 trips. That's up from 21.9 in 2007, 20.1 in 2008, 22.8 in 2009, and 22.9 trips in 2010. So while they may just be passing through, they're doing so more frequently.
Ninety-nine percent of the people who visit Mesquite arrive in a personal vehicle and decide where to stay before they arrive. That's up significantly from 93 percent of the people in 2007 who decided where to stay before they got here.
The LVCVA report says that 75 percent of visitors decide after they arrive what shows to see. That's a significant increase from 62 percent in 2007 who did that. However, 82 percent decide before they arrive what attractions to see, down significantly from 90 percent in 2009.
Showing the power of pre-planning a trip to Mesquite, 95 percent of the people coming here decide before they arrive what recreational activities they want to participate in. While that's a lot, it's down from the 100 percent in 2009 who decided what recreational activity to partake in before they came
A significant decrease occurred over the last five years with people who visit nearby places while they are in Mesquite. In 2008, 47 percent of visitors toured nearby places. In 2009 that dropped slightly to 46 percent and decreased again in 2010 to 45 percent. However, in 2011, the number of people visiting neighbor attractions fell all the way to 35 percent.
The most popular nearby attraction was Las Vegas followed by Zion Park, St. George, Laughlin, and the Grand Canyon.
Proving once again that Mesquite is considered an "adult town," only four percent of visitors had people under the age of 21 in their immediate party. That number has held steady at three to four percent over the last five years.
Adding to that are the demographics in the report showing that 76 percent of visitors were 50 years old or older. Visitors who were 65 years old or older were listed at 36 percent.
The majority of visitors, 63 percent had a household income of $60,000 or more and were retired, 53 percent. The vast majority of Mesquite's visitors were from the western United States at 80 percent.
Fifty-six percent of people stayed overnight with an average visit of 2.6 days, according to the LVCVA statistics.
Of the 14 percent of visitors who bought a package or travel group trip, the average cost of the package was $368. In 2008, only nine percent of the visitors coming to Mesquite used a packaged trip.
People coming to town reported that they spent on average $59 a day on food and drink. That number is up significantly from $54 in 2008, $53 in 2009, and $55 in 2010.
Making the casinos very happy was the significant increase in the number of Mesquite visitors who gambled while they were here. That rose to 97 percent in 2011, up sharply from 92 percent in 2007 and 2009. While more visitors are gambling, they are spending less on the activity. In 2007, the average gambling budget was $280. That has steadily fallen over the last five years to an average of $207 in 2011.
And disputing the longtime myth that Mesquite is primarily a 'sports' town, specifically golf, are the statistics that say that only six percent of the visitors were here to play the game. That number is up significantly from three percent in 2007 and only two percent in 2008, the worst year of the recent economic recession. However, it fell one percent from 2009 and 2010.
Apparently most visitors are heeding Mesquite Gaming's commercials touting the City as a "getaway" destination because 25 percent of people coming in say they came to just relax and get away from it all. The LVCVA reports that's up significantly from 21 percent in 2007 and 2008.
Unfortunately, Mesquite continues to lose the battle as a vacation or pleasure destination since only one percent were specifically here for that reason. That's down from 10 percent in 2007, 12 percent in 2008, five percent in 2009 and three percent in 2011.
Busting another myth that most visitors arrive on the weekends is the statistic showing that 72 percent of people coming to Mesquite arrive between Sunday and Thursday. Friday and Saturday arrivals included 28 percent of visitors. That hasn't changed significantly over the last five years.
Do most people visiting Mesquite plan to come back? Apparently the answer is yes with 82 percent saying they "definitely" or "probably" will return. While that seems like a rosy picture, the positive response is down from 86 percent in 2008. Of those saying they will return, 49 percent said "definitely." That's a significant decrease from 62 percent saying that in 2007, 56 percent in 2008 and 2009, and 54 percent in 2010.