Marketing in Macau a challenge, but Wynn not worried

Mar 1, 2016 3:00 AM

The $4 billion Wynn Palace that will open about mid-year on Macau’s Cotai Strip presents marketing challenges that do not exist in the U.S.

The Chinese government in Macau and Beijing has put rules in place that require careful attention.

“We are not allowed to promote with our offices in China,” CEO Steve Wynn was saying recently. We can advertise in very limited ways about rooms. But they are very, very careful about that.”

However, the good news, he said, is he’s not certain places like the Wynn Palace lend themselves to mass marketing techniques. For very upscale properties such as the kind Wynn Resorts operates, “99 percent of the marketing is word of mouth.”

Among the Chinese who can afford a high-end resort such as the Palace, word gets around in a hurry. Wynn said there was no advertising to shine a spotlight, so to speak, on the company’s first Macau investments. It was not needed.

“I’m not sure,” Wynn said, “what we would gain if we could advertise in every place. But you can be sure that any wealthy guy in Beijing, Shanghai, Fuji and Guangzhou – whoever goes to Macau – they know about us already.”

The same word-of-mouth worked nicely in Las Vegas.

“Everyone knew about Caesars Palace, Bellagio and The Mirage within a few months of when they opened. Traditional marketing isn’t quite as important when you open up really grand destination hotels. Everybody writes about them and talks about them.”

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected].