Japan needs to focus on serving VIP-class players - experts say

Experts say that one of the goals of creating an integrated resort (IR) in Japan is to attract new class of VIP-visitors who spend significant amounts of money during their stay in the casino.

According to Yoshiko "Mimi" Koga, freelance casino consultant and writer with many years of experience in the field of VIP marketing for Wynn Resorts, it is necessary to pay more attention to the VIP segment.

In most cases, it is expected that international IR operators will play a key role in the IR consortia of Japan and their experience in these matters will be of paramount importance. However, for most Japanese companies, serving the VIP market will be something new.

IR hotels should be designed differently, says Koga: 20-30% of the total number of rooms need to be made much larger in area, and also to design higher ceilings than in existing Japanese five-star hotels. The daily rates for these VIP rooms are likely to be set in the range of 150,000 to 200,000 yen ($1360-1820).

According to the expert, the VIP system in Japan is likely to be much more similar to the one adopted in Las Vegas than in Macau or Manila, where the "rich" sector plays the main role.

In her opinion, this means that the VIP system is likely to require a large amount of the advance to the operators, after which services will be provided to customers at various levels. For example, free hotel rooms, tickets for shows, a trip to a restaurant, a limousine to the airport, or even the purchase of airline tickets.

In exchange for this, VIP guests will have to spend a certain amount of time playing gambling games as part of this transaction.

However, Koga believes that the Japanese government seems to identify VIPs as depositors of at least $10,000. In her opinion, this amount is too small to be considered a good amount for a high roller. In Las Vegas, according to the expert, this threshold starts much higher.

First of all, as Koga claims, the success or failure of the Japanese IR's VIP program will depend on the human factor: “You have to invest in people,” - she says. This means not only the selection of first-class personnel who can provide high-quality services. It is important to pay attention to attracting such VIPs, who themselves are suitable people, positive and kindhearted, who attract other similar players.

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