Increasing rates for rental cars in Las Vegas are edging closer to a price tag where travelers may rethink about paying the cost. Rental cars already are in short supply or are unavailable at some Las Vegas locations for the Memorial Day weekend.
The price point at which travelers will not rent a car is between $150 and $175 a day, professors who study the national rental market told Casino.org.
Once you hit the $150 per day level, travelers will start looking for other options,” Edward G. Anderson, a University of Texas business professor, told Casino.org.
As of earlier this week, car rentals in Las Vegas reportedly were going for upward of $110 a day for the Memorial Day weekend, according to AutoSlash.com, an auto rental website.
The total cost for a rental car for between today and Tuesday from McCarran International Airport is about $763, Jonathan Weinberg, CEO of AutoSlash.com, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It could be even more.
The price may lead travelers to cancel Las Vegas plans altogether, Alfred Marcus, a University of Minnesota management professor who studies the rental market, confirmed. “[It] depends if there are other options to get them to and from airports — hotel shuttles, for instance,” he told Casino.org.
Edward Anderson further points out that many Las Vegas hotels do not refund advance room payments within 48 hours of check-in.
“People who leave their rental planning until the last minute and get caught by extremely high car prices may want to back out of their plans, but they will be stuck paying for their rooms,” Anderson cautioned.
AAA Nevada spokesperson Sergio Avila recommends to tourists and other visitors to Las Vegas to do research ahead of time and book a rental car early.
Whether travelers will be willing to pay a higher price will likely be determined by how badly they need the vehicles and whether they have any other mobility options,” Avila told Casino.org. “Booking early will be key to obtaining a rental vehicle. I would also stay in communication with your rental organization to ensure you are aware of the best procedure for pickup.”
Anderson also recommends picking up a car from a rental location that is offsite from the airport. “That will probably save you $20-$30 per day,” Anderson said.
As of May 23, AAA.com’s car rental bookings listed Las Vegas as the top car rental destination in the region. The region includes Northern California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska.
Shortage of Rental Cars, Rideshare Drivers
McCarran spokesman Joe Rajchel also said there is a shortage of Lyft and Uber rideshare drivers. That leads to “longer waits here at the airport.”
Rajchel further advises travelers to “plan ahead for all aspects of their trip,” whether it is for Memorial Day weekend or for the summer months.
The low supply of rental cars we are seeing here is similar to what is being experienced across the nation,” Rajchel told Casino.org. It is tied to the sell-off of auto fleets last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are expecting the airport to be busy this holiday weekend,” Rajchel added. Sergio Avila also points out the busiest times on the road for motorists will be this afternoon and Friday afternoon (May 28). Major metro areas could experience double the travel times compared to a routine trip, he said.
Hotels, Government Should Provide Travel Options
Options to rental cars and rideshare services could include hotels ramping up shuttle services to airports and within Las Vegas, Marcus said. Also, city and county government agencies could set up public transportation options, he adds.
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