I celebrated my 32nd birthday in Beijing, as I was studying at the Beijing Language and Culture University at the time. Halfway through the dinner banquet, the restaurant’s owner pushed a television on a rolling stand into the middle of the room, and instantly my fellow diners fell silent. The commentary was in Mandarin, but I soon realized the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were alight and spewing smoke.
The world changed that day, 11 September 2001. Our modern-day history became divided into two periods: pre-September 11, and post-September 11.
Make no bones about it, the COVID-19 catastrophe we are living through right now is no less a defining event. There will be a “pre-covid” world and a “post-covid” world.
This is especially so for our industry of gaming, hospitality and tourism in Asia. While the hit to almost all sections of the global economy has been devastating, the damage our industry has suffered, and continues to suffer, has been particularly brutal.
IRs in the Philippines, Singapore and Korea are suffering extended closures, and those in Macau may as well be. I walked the entire Galaxy Macau mass gaming floor on Saturday afternoon, and counted exactly 20 players – 13 on tables and just 7 playing slots. It was so sad.
There are some who think this is just a horrible period to be ridden out, and when we finally do “go back to normal,” things will return to how they were before, and this nightmare can be quickly forgotten.
Those people are wrong.
We will, eventually, go back to a normal, but it will not be the pre-covid normal. It will be a new normal, a post-covid normal. And while many aspects of the post-covid normal will be the same or similar to the pre-covid normal, there will be significant and important differences. Societies will change. Priorities will change. Behaviours and preferences will change.
These changes will create winners and losers. The winners will be those who study, learn, adapt and create offerings responding to post-covid consumer behaviors. The losers will be the dinosaurs who stood flat-footed, staring at the asteroid as it sailed through the heavens on a collision course with our planet, praying it will miraculously swerve away at the last minute. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.
So, in the weeks and months ahead, I’ll be penning (keyboarding?) this “Post Covid” series for Inside Asian Gaming, examining the changes that could be in store according to global experts, and speculating on how those changes might affect us all.
I hope you find it enjoyable, informative and thought-provoking.