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Businesses in Las Vegas see less CES traffic, hopeful for future

Siegel's Bagelmania
Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 07, 2022

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Fewer people than expected. This year’s CES convention drew smaller crowds with swirling concerns over the Omicron variant. All of this has a ripple effect on local businesses dependent on attendees willing to spend a lot of money.

Partying at the club is a way for convention-goers to unwind and a busy time for some businesses.

“CES is great. It’s the kickoff party for the year. We have New Year’s and CES rolls right into it.”

John “KJ” Balele is the senior host manager at Vegas Made Me, a business specializing in helping clients book experiences like pub crawls and clubs. He says CES this year did not bring as much business, especially with big companies pulling out of the in-person events.

RELATED STORY: CES gadget show turnout falls more than 75% thanks to COVID

“It’s a lot more quiet. Everything was set up and there were a lot of things that were booked and then there were a lot of cancellations,” he said.

Balele estimates he’s seen less than half the business compared to the last in-person CES convention in 2020.

“You would have private parties funded by Amazon who would want its own party or book an entire venue. We just didn’t see as much of that as we usually do,” he said.

CES itself saw lower than expected attendance, only seeing a quarter of its attendance from 2020 which was more than 170,000. A time-lapse clearly shows a difference with the convention usually having crowded floors.

“It definitely didn’t feel like a regular CES. CES feels like its own holiday," Balele said.

Siegel’s Bagelmania also saw less than expected business.

“The last couple of weeks with the omicron variant, CES slowed down from what our expectations were but we’re still really happy to have CES back in town.”

RELATED STORY: CES exhibitors get creative to show off new technology amid COVID-19 surge

Just a few hundred yards from the convention center, it’s an ideal place for the business.

Michael Crandall, senior vice president of the Siegel Group says despite seeing fewer people, he’s happy to see in-person conventions back like CES.

“It’s a huge step in the positive direction for Las Vegas and we expect conventions to only build from this,” he said.

He’s also looking forward to other upcoming in-person conventions and shows like World of Concrete and the Shot Show.

“Conventions are going to build and get busier from CES which is usually in which CES is usually the busiest convention of the year,” he said.

Crandall is confident he’ll see more lanyards at the Jewish deli from those conventions.

“It’s just going to build from CES on throughout the year and we’re excited,” he said.