Sunday, April 1, 2007
I'm in these meetings today and yesterday and, while utterly fascinating almost every single minute, the mind wanders from time to time. And directly out the window I'm facing right now is this billboard for the Thunder Valley Casino-Resort outside Sacramento. You may have to click-thru to expand it because the thing that you need to see is the Web site on it.
It's this: A Chinese language site for the casino. And if you go to the normal site, there's a prominent link to the Chinese version of the site. Thunder Valley is a tribal casino co-owned by Station Casinos that grosses alone half the total gambling take of all the Reno casinos combined. It's also 45 minutes from Reno. I get that I am at a hotel in Chinatown and Thunder Valley is a day-trip market for Chinese-Americans, but I'm still confused by something.
I looked all over the MGM Mirage, Harrahs, Venetian Las Vegas and Wynn Las Vegas websites. I was unable to find a single one of the Vegas interests -- not even Station Casinos, which partly owns Thunder Valley -- that have a hotel site in any other language. Not Chinese, not Spanish, not Japanese or German. And while Thunder Valley isn't competition to Vegas, it still made me realize what a big thing the Strip properties are missing.
Given the international outreach going on by Las Vegas, the fact that Nevada is the only U.S. state with a tourist office in Beijing, and all the activity in Macau for Las Vegas Sands Inc, Wynn and MGM Mirage in particular, it's baffling that neither the Vegas properties nor the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority itself seems to have any microsites in foreign languages. I know they have huge armies of phone operators to take reservations in a zillion other languages. But what about the Internet?
Ultimately, by not having this, they're forcing non-English-reading guests to use travel agents and tour operators who mark up the costs of Vegas trips. That can't be a good thing.