Las Vegas is the world’s gaming trendsetter. Renovate, revamp and start again has always been the city’s mantra. Today’s competitive market, however, gives a greater urgency to what’s trending. Today’s competition is fierce and global with numerous experts saying the U.S. gaming market is saturated with little room for growth. While statistics confirm greater competition, numbers also reflect a robust U.S. market.
Regardless if gaming has hit or neared its saturation point, competition and vying for customers is at a peak with no end in sight. Knowing what’s trending to attract and develop customers is critical but should be approached with a balance of cautiousness, boldness and planning. Before tearing down walls and ripping up carpet, designing and building for any trend should take into account what generates the most revenue. For a gaming property, the casino is still king. It’s the engine that drives everything else. We always recommend starting with the basics—the profit generators—and from there researching historical data of properties that have maintained their appeal. Concepts that repeatedly weather trends include property flow and people movement, accessibly and hassle free parking. For business properties, the right ratio of meeting and convention space, in addition to flexible function areas, continue to enhance and drive business.
“Back in 2004, with the opening of Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa and before the ‘technology revolution,’ our design incorporated indoor/outdoor space and day-to-night venue use throughout the property. The functionality, operations and profitability of these multi-use spaces continues to be important today,” said Brad Friedmutter, CEO of Friedmutter Group.
Unfortunately, not all trends are timeless. “What’s trending now” in Las Vegas revolves around catering to a younger more tech savvy crowd. Young people age 21 -35 exhibit the highest rate of casino visitation. With this new demographic of customers comes a new set of taste requirements.
Nationwide, 26 percent of casino visitors say they never or rarely gamble during their trips. The good news is the average trip expenditures for food, shopping and shows have increased. People are gambling less and spending more on fine dining and other activities. This bodes well for non-casino businesses. Businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to attract visitors who are interested in more than just gambling.
So what does the younger crowd want? The younger casino visitor is seeking a total experience. They want a mix of non-gaming amenities, such as fine dining, shopping, live entertainment, spas, and pool areas. Interestingly, today’s casino goers reportedly have the highest levels of education among all casino goers, with 66 percent having completed college. Numbers also indicate that casino visitors, young and old, are more affluent and better educated than at any other time.
Trends to appeal to the young include smaller casino floors by designing casinos as structures within structures. Spaces are segmented according to demographics and tastes. The result is a personalized, intimate gaming experience.
Mobile devices are another game changer. “The number of gaming devices and the social aspects of gaming will continue to drive the size of the casino floor. As mobile devices continue to play an important role in the gaming experience, and more electronic table games replace traditional games, less physical space may be required for the gaming floor. However, the social aspects of gaming will continue to drive the design, and the size of the floor will be driven by accommodating a greater number of people and players to create the excitement and energy within the property,” said Friedmutter.
Technology is changing all of gaming’s touch points, including design and construction. In construction, it has created efficiencies in both work force and costs. Design ideas include moving, erecting and taking down walls digitally to create new spaces.
Many of today’s hospitality and gaming guests are more in tune to the environment. If a property can incorporate sustainability into design and construction, it can market its environmentally proactive stance.
Deciding what trends to follow can be expensive, especially considering the probability of their short life span. Before starting any renovation, begin with what generates the most profit and then design and build for as much flexibility as possible to incorporate future changes, known and unknown. To maximize cost savings, work with your design and your construction team in the concept phase of the project. When invited to the table early, the general contractor can ensure design concepts are in line with realistic expectations according to current market conditions, including costs and availability of materials. It’s also the phase where we can maximize the greatest potential to plan your property for future adaptability and constructability to incorporate construction changes and whatever is trending next.