Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Podcast: The Cosmo Matrix & Unwin's Theories

Above you can see the very basis of the theory behind Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The talking points for the $3.9 billion resort opening Wednesday is that it will fill a niche of an alleged 59 million Americans who are part of the "curious class." The media has chowed down on that "narrative" for this opening, and we shall see in coming months whether it's correct.

But what is it? Well, Unwin drew me a picture earlier this month during my interview with him. You may want to reference that picture when you listen to the conversation, which is in the podcast feed now and can be downloaded by right-clicking here. (It'll also appear on your iPod if you listen that way. Not sure about other devices.)

What you see above is Unwin's case for different forms of high-end Vegas resort concepts. The poles run from themed to design-driven and from spirited/vibrant to refined/proper. The B in the lower left is Bellagio, the W is Wynn, E is Encore, P is Palazzo, A is Aria, CP is Caesars Palace and up there in the upper right corner is a C for Cosmopolitan.

Now, I could draw any number of arbitrary grids and create a construct that leaves me alone in a gigantic class. But, as I pressed Unwin in this interview, he's really going after exactly the same folks that Jim Murren said he was after a year ago, the moneyed, urban, educated set. Wynn and Encore go after them, too, but with the belief that when those people go on vacation, they want lush luxury, not concrete and glass.

We shall see where this goes, won't we? It strikes me as a lot of hype masquerading as demographic analysis.

Happily, the interview is not dominated by that kind of chatter. You also get to hear Unwin react to Steve Wynn telling me two weeks ago that the Cosmo is "an extraordinary example of ill-conceived plans" that won't get as much out of pedestrian traffic as Unwin believes.

Download it by right-clicking here or subscribe for free in iTunes or Zune.


Michael said...

I will say Cosmo's marketing to that class seems much more focused and capable of drawing the class. The issue I think they'll find as you seem to believe too is that those types aren't really interested in Vegas no matter what you build them.

I can't fault Unwin though, what other demographic is he going to focus on that can keep the lights on? If someone picked up the resort for a song, they could cater to a middle market class as high end for them, but that won't pay Deutshe Bank's bills on the completion costs for the resort.