Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gambling on a good strategy at Resortsworld



Tonight, the Travelife team and I went over to Resortsworld to have dinner with the hotel team and to talk shop. I hadn't been to Resortsworld in a while as I've been traveling so much, so I was happily surprised to see the entire place alive with the interiors completed, beautiful lighting, and shops open for business. It looked like an entertainment center in a First World country.

We had dinner at Passion restaurant, which has delicious Chinese food, and discussed all sorts of exciting projects together. One of the hotel executives kept us laughing all the time with tales of his past experiences at other jobs, such as of knocking on the doors of Boracay resorts to do sales in his shorts. I only met him tonight but after more of a chat, we both realized we'd been at the International Travel Fair in Brunei about 18 months ago; although we'd never met there.

THE VERY EXCLUSIVE GENTING CLUB


After dinner, we went on to the Genting Club, which is Resortsworld's swanky facility for high rollers, with a consumable membership fee pegged at 500,000 pesos. Again, the last time I'd been here was on the very first night it opened, and there were so many people around that it was hard to appreciate the work that had gone into making it look very sleek and polished.


Tonight it was fully renovated and I noticed the bright yellow entrance in a material that reminded me of tortoise shell, the long bar with a row of identical chairs inspired by James Bond, another bar on the opposite side named the Rat Pack that was showing Frank Sinatra clips, a billiards section, a sports bar and a full-service spa called The M Spa. There was also a dance and music jamming venue, a Chinese restaurant, a Korean restaurant and a huge gaming area.

PAYING FOR PRIVACY

There must've been close to eighty staff members spread out over the truly cavernous entertainment space, and catering to only a handful of high rollers. I guess that's what the top clients want: exclusivity, space and privacy to do their own thing at their own pace.

I also had a peek into one of the salons, and there were three gaming tables manned by casino staff, a generous buffet spread of snacks, a couple of comfy couches and a giant TV screen in case you needed diversion from gambling. This room can also be turned into a private dining arena, and food can be brought in from any of the hotel restaurant outlets.

The best idea, however, came from Stephen Reily, the hotel's executive vice president. "You can bring your friends over and we can have a private trolley with a roast beef ready for carving," he suggested. That sounded wonderful, indeed, and I'm sure I can easily think of a couple of friends who would love to be included.

FRIENDS FOR LIFE

"If they can experience that, I'm sure they'll be Resortsworld's friends for life," I joked the hotel team. And Stephen wittily came up with a quick reply: "No. They'll be your friends for life," he said, with a strong emphasis on the "your." We all laughed because it was true. This would certainly be a shortcut to serious popularity.

I'd made an appointment to meet a friend at 10 pm tonight at home so I got ready to leave at about 930 pm. Yes, my days are so booked this week that late at night, after the last event is over, is the only time I can meet friends. Fortunately, they've been game and energetic enough to trek over even at the late hour.

BREAKING THE MARKETING BARRIERS

On the way to the driveway, I bumped into Kingston Sian, Resortsworld's CEO, who was walking through his hotel in a very hands-on way. We had a very nice chat about his hotel and casino, and he told me: "I want to do things that have not been done before."

I then said: "Everything's so impressive. Congratulations. In fact, things look so polished that it's hard to believe I'm in the Philippines. This could be Macau or Vegas."

"Ah," he replied. "But one day when you're in Macau or Las Vegas again, I hope you'll be able to say it the other way around. The casino in Macau looks like Resortsworld Manila."

And with the energetic team behind Resortsworld continuously planning out-of-the-box events (just like Travelife Magazine, the Philippines' leading travel and lifestyle publication), I'm sure that day will not be far off.


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On the way home

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