City of Dreams In A Mass Market

Posted: May 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

Special Report
22 May 2010

By a panel member, Professional Ground

Fun & Excitment come from Great Content!

A recent visit to the City of Dreams in Macau’s Cotai Strip has been an eye-opener.
Gone were the days when everything that’s pegged with casino concept would make profits. Investment in huge casino & hotel properties in one single location no longer ensure an attraction to the mainland Chinese. Instead, a simple combination of food, entertainment, mid-range shops and 300 tables size casino would have created greater operating margins, coupled with the “must-have” element of junket room operations.
So what’s City of Dreams concept? Here are some of the key factors:  
* The products such as Hard Rock might not go down well with the mainstream Chinese holiday goers. Mainland Chinese including Taiwanese do not quite buy-in with such type of western products.

* Already the over-catered luxury brand shopping in Macau that could be a turn-off. Go to Guangzhou and take a look, Southern Chinese are very conscious of price points vis-a-vis acceptable quality.  Being fashionable is one thing, but propensity for high-end luxury goods spending remains out of touch to mainstream consumers.

* Lack of truly exciting content within huge built up space is the biggest setback. Gone were the days of poeple being attracted by big properties. In Macau there are already many large & grand resorts and each has to compete for uniqueness as well as on value-for-money. City of Dreams succeeded as mordern hotel & shopping resort but fall short as a destination of fun & excitment. It is a case of forgetting customer insights. “Build it and they will come” slogan is obviously the out-dated approach to Macau’s casino resorts landscape.  Innovation for consumer market remains a key success factor.

* We went into CoD’s casinos and found the environment seemed to be lacking the “human’s qi” (a Chinese term for rallying people to come) in terms of attracting players.  But next when we took a look at the Venetian Macau’s casino floor across the raod and it was different. Venetian Macau must have done something right to consistently attract more customers to their casino floor and also, among other content like the Grand Canal Shoppes for example.

* In Macau’s competitive landscape, just having spacious corridors of luxury & branded shops line-up is an out-of-dated mode of design-to-fail. It was an amazing sight that many tour guides though dropping their tour groups at CoD, were just going through the motion of leading their tours with a flag, making quick pace walking around the hugh corridors and out they went. We observed that their main destination is Venetian Macau instead.

* It is strange that City of Dreams has unintentionally become a rallying point or secondary landmark for Venetian in Cotai strip instead of making itself an unique “Must-see & exciting” destination. Why?  The answer could be, it might have forgotten an important element of any successful entertainment hub – great content!  Yet it is not surprising that CoD has already making plans to reclaim its turf in Cotai Strip.


Professional Ground’s “Thinking Aloud” —
In contrast, will this syndrome of “build it and they will come” again happen to the Lion City State’s integrated resorts?
Many hopeful observers seem to think that so long as the hardware is up and running, it is acceptable that software could be lagging behind and still making impact. Does the logic work? Maybe and maybe not.

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