Posts Tagged ‘City of Dreams’

Lawrence Ho puts it on the line in Macau

February 26, 2017

With gaming interests from the Mediterranean to Russia’s Far East to Manila in three listed vehicles and a big ticket opportunity in Japan, Melco Crown Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho says he’s focused on Macau. His biggest challenges is making Melco Crown properties add up to the sum of their parts.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes, editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

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Despite casino slump, Macau shopping not dropping

December 9, 2014

Las Vegas Sands subsidiary Sands China’s big bet on Macau retailing keeps paying off, even as casino revenue slumps. Rival gaming operators hope to catch up when the new wave of resorts begins opening next year, but they’ve got a long way to go.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Macau tests the strength of its brands

January 25, 2014

Macau casino owners know how to build fabulous resorts but not necessarily strong brands. Leading casino operators SJM Holdings and Sands China Ltd run their properties under a variety of names, without any unifying theme or brand promise.

“A brand must offer a consistent brand promise,” Gaming Marketing Advisors principal Andrew Klebanow explains. “It must also offer a clear image in the customer’s mind. By buying a branded product the customer has a high degree of assurance what he/she is buying.” Klebanow cites McDonald’s – “the product will be hot, tasty, served fast and offer good value” – and Hard Rock – “hip environment, rock music and glass showcases filled with rock memorabilia” – as successful brands. Macau casinos, with the exception of Wynn Macau, mainly have property names that have not yet evolved into brands.

Casino owners hope to change that. Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd will bring its City of Dreams name from Macau to Manila at a new integrated resort expected to open this year. Brand Stand (Macau Business, December 2013, page 64, payment required) looks at the prospects for its success and for brand building in Macau.

The article also examines the history of the Sands brand. Sands China parent Las Vegas Sands Corp was the last owner of the iconic Sands Hotel and Casino, playground of Hollywood’s legendary Rat Pack and its 1960s successor, The Summit, led by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. While Sands survived as a corporate name after hotel’s implosion in 1995 and appears on some of the company’s properties, it hasn’t reemerged as a brand.

Macau companies do have a successful Asian example to follow, Resorts World, part of Malaysia’s Genting Group. In less than five years, Resorts World has become the first truly global casino brand, with outposts in Asia, the US, and Europe, though not Macau. As Macau’s casino companies try to spread their wings in the region, particularly Asian gaming’s great white whale, Japan (Macau Business, October 2013, pg 86), brands will become a bigger factor. Last month, Japan began its long road to casino legalization (Macau Business, January 2014, page 78, payment required), with the outcome still uncertain. Brands provide a comfort level for governments as well as investors. Like customers, brands help them believe they can know in advance what they’ll get from a casino company.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Signs of getting it right in Macau

December 24, 2012

Club Cubic was heaving at 1.30am on the last Thursday night in November. Nearly 3,000 of the Pearl River Delta’s most beautiful people gathered on the second level of the City of Dreams resort, a space that in the past has often felt as desolate and forbidding as a New York City subway station during the wee hours. On that night, Psy, the Korean rapper behind the mega-hit Gangnam Style, was in town and Club Cubic was the place to be. Sometime past 2am, Psy took the stage, gave the crowd his song and his horse dance and galloped off, but the party continued. It was a night to remember in Macau.

During a ten day visit culminating with the late night Psy-ting, there were clear signs that Macau is creating more nights to remember for visitors from China’s growing middle class that are presently driving casinos revenue growth. For more than a year, expansion of mass market gaming has outstripped VIP growth.

According to participants at last month’s Asian Gaming and Hospitality’s Congress, mass market growth reflects Macau and mainland authorities’ push to diversify the economy away from gambling toward broader tourism and leisure activities, as I wrote in the December issue of Macau Business. Junket business insiders at the conference also offered examples of Beijing’s efforts to curtail VIP play. Whatever the reason, mass market spending is rising in Macau.

On this visit, it seemed Macau’s casinos resorts had sharpened their game as tourist destinations, getting things right more often than has been their custom. Maybe it was my imagination due to spending hours on massage tables and in whirlpools to research an article on luxury spas for the January edition of Macau Business, and enjoying five-star hospitality at their host hotels. Maybe it’s because resorts that needed to learn have had great examples to follow, such as the intelligent, comfortable room design and equipment at Grand Lisboa and the right resort elements for Asia at Galaxy Macau. But mostly, it may be that resorts, especially the ones in Cotai with huge footprints, need to have more traffic and paying customers to function and feel right. As mass market tourism grows, and more people shop, eat and play in plain sight rather than behind VIP room walls, it’s happening.

Now Macau needs to take the next step and give tourists who come for a good time reasons to stay for more than a day and keep coming back. Sure, gambling will continue to be part of the mix, but there needs to be more. Psy’s appearance underlined the thirst for entertainment. The Pearl River Delta is looking for a good time, and Macau seems finally to have figured out how to deliver one. Now let the good times roll.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.


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