Asia’s integrated resorts are polishing their lifestyle facets and keeping them preened and Instagram-ready for millennials, as the younger generation becomes a potent consumption force. By Paige Lee Pei Qi, Rosa Ocampo, S Puvaneswary and Prudence Lui
From left: Sands SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands; Soak Out Water Party at Universal Studios Singapore
Integrated Resorts (IRs), typically associated with casino-goers and families, are increasingly responding to millennial preferences. While IRs have different strategies to court this lifestyle-sensitive group, they can all agree that photogenic food, dynamic events and digital messaging are ways to the hearts of millennials.
Lures in F&B
“Dining is at the core of millennial culture today. With over 80 dining options across Marina Bay Sands (MBS) – from casual bistros along the waterfront promenade, to al fresco lounges atop the Sands SkyPark – we (aim to) satisfy this group who are always on the prowl for unique culinary experiences,” a spokesperson from MBS said.
“They also appreciate finer details when it comes to dining, from hospitality, finishing touches to the restaurant’s decor, right up to the produce that goes into what they eat,” the spokesperson added.
Similarly, a Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) spokesperson told TTG Asia that the newly earned Michelin stars at four of its restaurants, along with the Curate initiative (which features visiting Michelin-star chefs), appeal to millennials seeking the latest food trends and fine dining by renowned names.
Resorts World Genting (RWG) recognises the traction that international names and local cuisine have with millennial visitors. A spokesperson stated that established global brands at its new SkyAvenue mall such as Burger & Lobster and Motorino are popular with millennials, while those seeking authentic food and culture will enjoy its newly-opened Malaysian Food Street.
An event-loving crowd
RWG also holds regular activities such as concerts, live shows and festive promotions to attract millennials, which has gotten the thumbs up from Ally Bhoonee, executive director at World Avenues Travel & Tours.
“RWG has done the right thing by upgrading and refreshing their products. This will encourage repeat visitors and new ones, especially millennials who also form a key age group that Malaysia wants to attract,” Bhoonee said.
Also keeping entertainment offerings fresh is RWS in Singapore. A spokesperson said the resort “strives to create new, exciting and adrenaline-charged experiences across its attractions”.
Recent examples include the Soak Out Water Party, Halloween Horror Nights 7 and Santa’s All-Star Christmas in Universal Studios Singapore.
And at Resorts World Manila, its three bar and restaurants last November offered paid live viewing of the hyped boxing match between Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao and welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.
Where millennials are concerned, products may be key, but many IRs acknowledge that these are best taken advantage of when combined with digital strategies.
Samson Tan, CEO of GTMC Travel: observed: “We see IRs (using social media and technology). They are increasingly leveraging various social media tools to promote the latest offerings and drive the millennial crowd in.”
Indeed, through social media, MBS found that it has gained “strong clout over consumers’ decision-making process”, using “compelling imagery, trend and style tips, or content to win prizes” to connect with mobile-savvy millennials.
The potential doesn’t end there, as social media opens up opportunities for user-driven, organic and viral marketing.
“Being able to re-share our followers’ posts is a powerful means to empower them and encourage even more user-generated content – which in turn amplifies our share of voice in the world of social media,” said the MBS spokesperson.
Likewise, RWG was recently shown the power of viral marketing. It collaborated with ESL and provided the Arena of Stars as the venue for the ESL One Genting e-sports tournament (January 6 to 8), which “went viral” on social media and attracted 10,000 people, many of whom were millennials.
Charisse Chuidian, vice president – public relations, at City of Dreams (COD) Manila admitted that millennials are not a main target for its gaming facilities, but with some innovation and creativity, strategies can still be devised to engage this mobile-savvy segment and tap their influence.
“Millennials do play a role in spreading awareness for our hotel, restaurants and entertainment marketing. They are a great segment for brand awareness and we regularly offer online promotions to leverage on their ‘snap-happy’ market behaviour.”
The same applies for traditional gaming entertainment, as Chuidian highlights a millennial-targeted initiative to co-market the City of Games mobile app. The Slots and Baccarat mobile game allows players to earn real-world rewards that can be redeemed in COD Manila, COD Macau and Studio City.
For Sands China, which operates The Venetian Macao, Sands Macao and Sands Cotai Central, branding and marketing tends to be “more mass market”, a spokesperson said.
“We periodically undertake paid social campaigns for certain entertainment events/concerts if millennials are identified as a key market, but this is rare,” a spokesperson added.
Beyond promotions, RWS also caters to tech-savvy millennials with new payment modes. “Chinese visitors can make fast, secure and contactless mobile payments using Alipay – China’s largest mobile payment provider and global lifestyle app – at more than 200 RWS locations.”
Theme parks not exempt
Even IRs that have been chiefly appealing to the “young and young at heart” are not spared from keeping up with millennial trends.
Sean Choo, general manager of Sunway Lagoon, said: “Millennials travel solo or in small groups and do their research online before visiting a destination – it is important that we are ‘seen’ in all the online channels that millennials use to access information.”
He added: “We invite key opinion leaders such as bloggers, celebrities and artistes to visit our park, share their experiences and promote our brand… they have an influence on the decisions millennials make when choosing a holiday destination or place to visit.”
Not losing sight of more conventional tactics, Choo said the theme park – which is located close to a number of universities – have packages (e.g. Quacktastic Tuesdays and Terrific Thursdays) – to attract the price-sensitive student market.
As well, RWG expects its upcoming Twentieth Century Fox World theme park will be a “definite crowd puller,
particularly among youths” when it debuts in 2H2017, the resort’s spokesperson stated.
This article was first published in TTG Asia March 2017 issue. To read more, please view our digital edition or click here to subscribe.