Las Vegas Sun

May 23, 2019

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Gaming companies turn to technology to better cater to customers

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Steve Marcus

Saverio R. Scheri III, far left, managing director for WhiteSand Gaming, moderates a technology executive panel Tuesday during the Gaming Technology Summit at Green Valley Ranch. Chief information officers, from left, are David Farlin of Boyd Gaming, Marshall Andrew of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Steve Murphy of MGM Mirage.

GamingTechnology Summit CIO Roundtable

Saverio R. Scheri III, far left, managing director for WhiteSand Gaming, moderates a technology executive panel Tuesday during the Gaming Technology Summit at Green Valley Ranch. Chief information officers, from left, are David Farlin of Boyd Gaming, Marshall Andrew of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Steve Murphy of MGM Mirage. Launch slideshow »

Beyond the Sun

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will showcase some cutting edge technology, an executive promised Tuesday, but as for what it will be, the resort isn’t ready to share all the details just yet.

Cosmopolitan’s chief information officer, Marshall Andrew, said during a technology executive panel at Tuesday’s Gaming Technology Summit at Green Valley Ranch that the resort is using technology create a “wow factor.”

Andrew said people will have to wait for a public relations blitz for specifics, but he said the technology will focus in three areas: server-based gaming, mobile apps and in-room technology.

The property’s website, which will be launched in June, will detail the technology better, Andrew said.

Like its neighbors Aria and Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter, Cosmopolitan’s in-room technology will feature a central remote controlling all of the room’s devices, Andrew reluctantly shared.

“They are going to have more features and functions,” Andrew said of the Cosmopolitan rooms. “Aria kind of laid the groundwork. A lot of us went over there and stayed in the rooms to check it all out. We saw things that we liked, but we saw things that we could improve upon, and that’s what we’re working on right now.”

Deutsche Bank is spending $4 billion to complete and open the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in December.

After a new management team took over, Andrew said, it quickly realized its list of technology wishes exceeded Cosmopolitan’s budget.

“We started down a path with working with all our key business owners and understanding what they need from technology to drive business,” Andrew said. “We got a lot of great ideas but as we started to put things together, we realized we were in excess of that $4 billion budget and had to split things up into three buckets — what do we need, what will set us apart and what do we want?”

Executives from Boyd Gaming and MGM Mirage’s international hospitality division joined Andrew on Tuesday’s panel to talk about technology initiatives at their resorts and how they are using technology to better customize customer experiences.

David Farlin, chief information officer at Boyd Gaming, said the gaming company is listening to its customers when it comes to deciding what new technology to implement.

Boyd is using mobile apps, social media like Facebook and Twitter and putting its performers’ videos on YouTube, just to name a few initiatives. Farlin said the company felt it had to control its message through social media before it controlled them.

Farlin said Boyd’s social media and Internet marketing has fared well among customers of all ages, including its older customers base.

“It’s no longer just the billboards. It’s no longer just the newspaper ads. They are getting their information in different ways,” Farlin said.

At MGM Mirage’s international properties, the company is hoping to use technology to better serve high-end guests and address cultural differences, said Steve Murphy, vice president of international IT operations.

“At five-star and six-star hotels, we should know who you are before you walk in the door,” Murphy said.

Knowing their guests before they enter the property helps them up-sell to the guests and market better to their needs, Murphy said.

MGM Mirage is acquiring the management of hotel developments in Vietnam, India and Egypt through its subsidiary, MGM Mirage Hospitality. Murphy said the plan calls for MGM Mirage Hospitality to acquire the management of 42 hotels around the world in the next 10 years.

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