IAG April 2015 - page 9

inside
asiangaming
April2015
9
WORKINGTHEROOMS
One problem has been the sound business practice of maximizing
profits fromoneofMacau’s scarce resources, hotel rooms. “If you’re
yield-managing rooms, thehighest andbestuse isacasinocustomer
in the room [rather] than giving it to a convention attendee,”Global
Market AdvisorsPartner AndrewKlebanow says.
He points out that Las Vegas has 150,000 hotel rooms, while
Macau has 28,000, about 18,000 of them five-star. “All those rooms
are now for casino-centric customers,” Mr Klebanow says. “Macau
doesn’t have enough rooms to alter its strategy. The next stage
will help, [but] they will need a lot more hotel rooms and airlift to
repositionMacau.”
NewCotai resorts comingonlineover thenext two yearswill add
some 12,000 rooms, and experts expectMacauoperatorswill widen
their nets to fill them, particularly if Chinese high rollers remain
reluctant to visit Macau and spend like old times. But more rooms
alonewon’t change arrival patterns.
Convincing travelers from beyond Greater China to choose
Macau, whether they’re gamblers or sightseers, remains difficult for
a variety of reasons. “Macau is not the easiest place to get to,”Mr
Klebanowsays. International flights intoMacauare limitedandmost
on regional budget airlines that premium players may shun. Flying
intoHong Kongmeans reachingMacau via ferry—except for those
who can afford the helicopter option—adding at least an hour, and
more bother, to the journey. The Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge
will make the trip simpler, but that’s now unlikely to be completed
before 2020, four years behind theoriginal target.
“Macau isnowbeing viewedas adaytripdestination [fromHong
Kong],”Mr Wong says. “Given the cost associated with traveling to
a daytrip destination, it may not be worth themoney.” He suggests
working more closely with Hong Kong and cities in the Pearl River
Delta region tocreateamoreattractive tourismzone. “Of course, this
is very challenging because different cities have their own priorities
and agendas,” he concedes.
“Perhaps we need to prepare the city better for non-Chinese
visitors,” Mr Wong adds. “Our foreign language ability is not as
good as that of Hong Kong and Singapore.”He ranksMacau’s high
cost relative to other regional destinations, poor public transport,
scattered tourist sties and inadequate signage as other constraints.
SpectrumAsia’sMrBrombergsays international visitors inHong
Kong can look at a side trip toMacau in two ways. On the negative
side, the ferry ride isn’t agreat experience, oftenconcludingwith long
waits at immigration, particularly in Macau. On the positive side,
Macau offers a unique history and culture with singular attractions
frommuseums to graveyards. “If you hunt around, it can be a very
pleasant tourism anddining experience.”
SHARINGTHEWEALTH
“Wewant tomarketMacaunot only asa citywitha lot of new tourism
infrastructureandentertainment but, at thesame time, asacitywhich
maintains its unique blend of East andWest cultures and heritage,”
MGTO says. “For themorematuremarkets, we’d like [repeat] visitors
toexplore the lesser-knownplacesofMacau.MGTO isalsodiversifying
tourism products to attract different types of visitors and let them
participate in theplentiful eventsand festivitiesofMacau.”
This “community tourism” initiative, asMGTO terms it, driving
more visitor traffic toward lesser traveled areas of Macau, aims to
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