Recently, I received an e-mail from Kirvin Doak Communications (KDC), a Nevada-based public relations, marketing and social media firm, regarding hospitality and technology trends that may surface in Las Vegas over the next 12 months. To compile this information, KDC polled its stable of clients, and received responses from Bellagio, ARIA, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Delano Las Vegas, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, Vdara Hotel & Spa and The Shops at Crystals.
To be honest, I receive quite a few of these “things to watch for over the coming year” lists, but the companies queried for this one caught my eye, and I found a number of the responses to be quite informative. Some of the potential trends I found most compelling include:
The growing importance of Millennials—Gen Y and X spending power may be on the rise, but when it comes to overall influence, it appears Millennials may be leading the way. “Millennials grew up on technology and view it as a means to navigate their world,” said John Bollen, chief digital officer of MGM Resorts International. “In 2015, we will see how the impact of this group’s preference for sharing experiences with their peers and need for connectivity influence everything from in-room technologies to entertainment offerings.” One way Las Vegas will transform to entice Millennials is by taking a “laidback yet innovative” approach to current hospitality services.
Social environments will become more popular and important—The growing demand from younger consumers for casual and flexible social spaces is driving the redesign of common areas into distinct social hubs. “It’s about creating pockets of moments unique to the space and offering different areas for interaction—whether for business or pleasure,” said Matthew Chilton, general manager of Delano Las Vegas. By way of an example, Chilton noted new lounge atmospheres including Franklin at Delano Las Vegas and Alibi at ARIA, where guests can enjoy conversation, drinks, small bites and live music. With the incorporation of living room-style seating and live entertainment, these social spaces accommodate networking groups and friends alike.
The continuing impact of mobile technology—Visitors to Las Vegas will increasingly be able to use mobile devices for a whole range of hospitality services, ranging from booking a room and making dinner reservations to purchasing show tickets and even reserving pool lounge chairs. “We’re always looking for ways to provide guests the opportunity to do things at their own pace,” said Shannon McCallum, executive director of hotel operations at ARIA. “In 2015, we’re looking at ways to enhance mobile capabilities even further, including services that will allow pool guests to order cocktails from their phones.”
Mobile technology will also have an impact on room design and functionality, as Bluetooth-enabled devices become more of the norm in guestrooms. For example, new high-tech amenities including iPads in high-end suites at MGM Grand will interface with hotel departments, allowing guests to order room service, send laundry and more, according to Travis Lunn, vice president of hotel operations at MGM Grand.
Integration of social and digital gaming into the casino experience—Properties such as MGM Grand and The Mirage are already prepping for this future with the introduction of devices such as InteractivePro tables. InteractivePro Tables are like giant smartphones, featuring a unique interface allowing four different users to operate interactive or individual gaming screens, watch sports, access social media and more, according to the KDC release. “In 2015, we plan to introduce sports betting, video reels and video table games,” said Tom Mikulich, vice president of business development for MGM Resorts International.
This is only a taste of the trends discussed in the release. Those wishing to access the full report can do so at the KDC website (www.kirvindoak.com). I suggest taking a look, better to know what may come than being caught by surprise.