Thursday, May 27, 2010

5 Ways To Fix #CityCenter

Here's my LVW column this week. Enjoy. -sf

Free advice for CityCenter
A few modest proposals

Now that we have several months of data showing that MGM Mirage’s $8.5 billion gambit on CityCenter has failed to move the needle on citywide visitation—let alone that it would help bump up 2010’s tourist numbers to a full 7 percent increase over 2009—perhaps it’s time to offer a little advice on how things can be better. After all, I interact on a daily basis with actual tourists and routinely check out MGM Mirage’s competition. So I have a few suggestions. They’re not groundbreaking ideas, but they’re commonsensical and, for the most part, not terribly expensive.

Read the rest at LasVegasWeekly.Com


Roberta said...

Steve, posted here because I didn't think my long winded comment would fit at the weekly. You have some very valid points on City Center. For a project of it's size and self proclaimed as a city within a city, it does lack the variety you mention with entertainment and sundries, and the buffet isn't on par with the offerings next door at Bellagio. The lone self park garage also doesn't fit those that don't have crappy cars, but just don't care to valet.

I'd also have to add that we were surprised by the traffic flow at CC. Considering all the frontage on Frank Sinatra and with Harmon and the new bridge, it seems they overlooked the ease of access both could have offered. Vadara almost seems isolated from the rest of the complex because of it.

The lack of a Strip side marquee is a both a hindrance and uninviting. It's very presumptuous for MGM to assume that everyone knows City Center and what it has to offer. That's why every other casino has one or more advertising what they hide inside. The only signage is that of some of the Crystals retailers, and I can't tell you the amount of clients and visitors that thought it was a shopping mall surrounded by office buildings. Driving by, many haven't noticed the high up on The Harmon Cirque wrap (good, perhaps), and it surely doesn't have the wow factor of the videos playing on all the other marquee screens.

Locals are an important part of marketing. Their word of mouth recommendations can be invaluable. I know I have guests and clients on a regular basis, and get calls and emails from friends for recommendations for their friends' Vegas trips.

In their defense, MGM does (sorta) market to locals... but rather quietly. They do have their locals specials page and that includes some Aria and Vadara offers. They also include many in the LVCVA Vegas Locals page. While neither gets much traditional media time, I do appreciate the traffic it sends to my blog posts about them. :)

My in-house marketing guru made an interesting observation that the resorts have been asleep at the switch. It's the newbies that continue to move here and often have their inrush of visitors. Home sales in 09 were second only to the boom year of 04, projected Las Vegas would continue to be the top state-to-state move, and recently United Van Lines said it was in their top four. As the resorts needed traffic, they could have easily used Las Vegas Real Estate Agents like myself, to help introduce their properties and give them a welcome. This with either room offers while they were on their house hunt, or comped / discounts on amenities for the new arrivals as they move in. Obviously home buyers that may be transferring, retiring, hired on as skilled professionals, or entrepreneurs seeking out business opportunities with our lower costs, could fit into their demographics.

Hopefully MGM will consider your input here Steve, as well as those of others. Who knows, maybe they'll follow the lead of Steve Wynn and tweak the property to correct issues with original designs and to add to customer satisfaction, as he has done over the last 5 years. It's that unique 'Only in Vegas' experience that has made this city grow.