by Michael J. Shapiro | May 05, 2011

 MGM Resorts International reported solid first-quarter financial results yesterday as well as positive second-quarter trends, as described by CEO Jim Murren in a conference call. Significantly, Las Vegas Strip properties saw a 16 percent year-over-year increase in revenue per available room, surpassing MGM’s first-quarter estimate of 10 percent. Convention business was a primary factor in the company’s performance, noted Murren. Convention room nights accounted for 20 percent of MGM’s wholly owned room mix in the first quarter, a 5 percent increase over last year and the highest such percentage since the first quarter of 2007. The mix helped to drive an overall average daily rate boost of 13 percent, said Murren, as well as revenue increases of seven percent in food and beverage and four percent in the entertainment, retail and other category. Convention bookings remain strong, Murren added, and are outpacing last year’s for every month in the remainder of the year. MGM estimates that convention room nights should represent about 14 percent of the room mix for 2011, which would be a two percent increase over 2010’s total. First-quarter results also were driven by strengthened consumer spending, added Murren, as evidenced in part by a three percent increase in RevPAR, excluding hotel and casino revenue. To take advantage of the higher spending, both the MGM Grand Garden and the Mandalay Bay Event Centers have increased entertainment bookings by double digits over last year. “When we have good events at the arenas, people spend more money,” Murren said. Property performance continues to improve at CityCenter, in which MGM owns a 50 percent stake — driven in large part by strong convention business at Aria Hotel & Casino. That property posted a 13 percent RevPAR increase over the previous quarter and bested last year’s first quarter RevPAR by 41 percent. Despite that improved performance, MGM continues to lose money on CityCenter — the $125 million quarterly loss, a marked improvement over last year, was largely responsible for MGM’s overall net loss of $90 million for the quarter.