Travelers flying to Las Vegas don’t wait until they touch the ground to start their reveling.
On the way to Sin City, the average planeload of passengers spends a total of $116 for liquor, beer, wine and soda, surpassing drink sales to any other destination in the lower 48 states, according to statistics released by GuestLogix, a company that specializes in onboard merchandising for the airline industry.
Travelers flying to cities in Hawaii and Alaska spend the most of any U.S. destination, but that is because it often takes a long-haul flight to get there.
Brett Proud, chief executive of GuestLogix, said the spending patterns for travelers to Vegas are unsurprising. "Everybody going to Vegas has a party mindset," he explained.
Spending on drinks drops significantly for travelers leaving Las Vegas, Proud added.
"On the way back, people are out of cash," he said.
For all destinations, the biggest days of the week for buying drinks are Thursdays and Fridays, when the average planeload spends $67 and $66 per flight, respectively, according to GuestLogix’s statistics for May. Of those sales, about 99 percent are for the purchase of liquor, beer and wine.
Hotels try to sell more food
Penny-pinching travelers are spending less on food and drinks, and some hotels are responding by putting an end to conventional room service. Others are working even harder to entice their guests’ taste buds.
New York Hilton Midtown, the biggest hotel in New York City with nearly 2,000 rooms, plans to eliminate room service this summer. In its place, the hotel will offer a cafeteria-type restaurant where guests can grab quick meals like pizza and sandwiches.
Spending reports show that room rates have been edging up in the past year and are on track in 2013 to eclipse pre-recession prices. But spending on food, drinks and other hotel extras has not kept pace.
A new PKF report showed that room revenue from 2011 to 2012 increased 6.3 percent while income from food, drinks and other services edged up only 2.3 percent.
In Southern California, several hotels are responding by offering new choices to get guests to spend.
At the Luxe City Center Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, plans are in the works to offer guests quick on-the-go drinks and meals before the end of the year, general manager Tom Xavier said.
He said the hotel is also considering including in its regular room service menu many of the signature dishes served in the new lobby restaurant.
–Hugo Martin / Los Angeles Times