MGM Mirage Places Odds on Uptick, But Investors Don't Ante Up
With the opening of MGM Mirage's CityCenter (pictured), its "city within a city" boasting a new hotel-casino, Aria, came concerns that the operation will cannibalize MGM's upscale Bellagio next door. Murren countered that worry: "Bellagio is up in every metric since the opening of Aria," he said, adding that 10,000 visitors per day stop at the Bellagio from the people-mover operating between the two properties.
Better News from Macau, and Detroit
Aria has significant convention facilities, and there and at other MGM Mirage casinos along the Strip, convention business is trending positively. Montly convention revenues are expected to be higher than last year, starting in April, Murren said. (2009 was particularly disastrous for conventions in Vegas.) Murren said convention revenues in 2011 will be close to those in 2008, which exceeded last year's dismal numbers, and that room-rates for convention customers outdo those of leisure customers by $60 per night.
MGM Mirage had better news from outside Vegas. MGM Macau "made a lot of money in January," Murren said. "Our volumes are improving, our market share is improving, and we'd like to go public [with Macau] by midyear." Its lesser-known U.S. outposts -- in Detroit and in Biloxi and Tunica, Miss. -- have succeeded in creating synergy for customers, he said, and Vegas properties will follow suit this year with an enhanced players program. "We will relaunch the program to make it more effective," Murren said. "Driving business through our portfolio is something that we have not yet done."
With operating expenses reduced and signs pointing to a financial uptick (in the vaguely distant future), Murren is more optimistic than MGM's investors. "It is still very rough our there, but we see great progression on the revenue side. On the cost side, our company has never been in better shape."