I wanted to share some thoughts now that Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has been opened for a couple weeks. Let me say this, in general, as someone with a marketing background I usually try to avoid all of the grand opening hype. Most people will report nothing but the good at that point.
I prefer to let other people break in a property for a few days before I grace it with my presence. I did the same with CityCenter last year (which I need to look back at 1 year later). I’ll have more thoughts moving forward, but I’ll break my thoughts on the Cosmo today down like this:
Tall, Skinny, Ugly on the outside but Pretty Inside
I’m not enamored by the way the building looks on the outside. However, once I looked inside of the building I saw lots to like. There are plenty of modern features and beautiful, shiny crystals and chromes. The Cosmo is bright inside, but not in a bad way. Think the opposite of Aria.
The furnishings are things I’d love in my house, but I can never seem to find affordable, comfortable modern furnishings. I guess that’s what $4 billion can do.
The profile of the building(s) are very tall and very narrow. Every time I’ve walked through the place looked and felt crowded. There were a lot of people just looking around and not gambling or eating or shopping so I’ll look into this again in 6 months after the curious people are gone.
It would be great if Cosmo remains crowded but with people spending money. She’s pretty today, but we’ll see what happens after a little wear and tear.
Casino and Sportsbook
As I mention above, the casino is narrow and feels crowded but upon further inspection those were just people looking. Maybe the feeling of being crowded will lessen with time as people quit gawking and/or hit the tables.
Each visit I’ve seen the tables and machines have all been fairly quiet. Maybe 1 player per table on average. Tables are pretty good for a strip casino: blackjack minimums are as low as $10 with 3:2 payouts for blackjack on all except double deck games. As per Vegas Tripping the video poker pay tables are slightly above other strip casinos.
The sportsbook is TINY. I could never see myself hanging out watching games here. It feels more like a lounge than a sportsbook. Planet Hollywood has a tiny sportsbook, but at least they have Blondies and the PBR bars in the Miracle Mile shops for overflow.
They also have a stage in the sportsbook with free concerts, that’s pretty nice but it will definitely get in the way of the gamblers. I’m stoked for the free shows, but I wonder how the two will work together.
I’ve walked by the sportsbook about 4 or 6 times and only noticed sports on the TV’s once. I’m not sure that’s always the case, but that’s what I noticed.
Lastly, there is no poker room. I’m pretty sure this will change in time. There’s really no reason not to have one except for differentiation.
Restaurants & Shopping
The restaurants and shopping are on the second and third floors. There are a lot of restaurants that seem as if they’ll be good. My first dining experience was great!
Some friends and I split a bunch of small plates & appetizers at Holsteins. Everything was fantastic. In fact, this was one of the best meals I’ve had in Vegas in a while! The beer list was huge and the prices weren’t insane like most casino restaurants. I cannot wait for a return trip.
On another trip I tried Comme Ca. It was ok. Not priced too bad for a casino, but there wasn’t anything amazing about my meal. I’m looking forward to trying the others – specifically the pizza place, China Pablano and Scarpetta.
On name value, the shopping is the polar opposite of its neighbor CityCenter. There are no chain stores. Each store seems to have something that makes it special. Prices were high, but not insane. I’m not sure how the stores will do and, to be frank, outside of the property’s success I don’t really care.
Summary: Restaurants: 1 amazing, 1 good, more to come for sure. Shopping: Cool stores don’t care.
I had a blast looking at the people touring the Cosmo. There was almost an even amount of people in TapOut and Ed Hardy type clothes as skinny jeans and bad haircuts. “Hipsters” and “Douchebags” may be morphing into one at the Cosmopolitan. If that happens this building may blow up!
Not ironically, neither of these groups were spending money they were just taking up space. “Normal” looking people were the ones in the restaurants, stores, tables.
Mystique and an indie atmosphere have been created by all of the initial marketing. From what I saw they’ve attracted all the cool people to look, but not spend.
It still amazes me that the Cosmo has not mentioned gambling or casinos in their ads. In fact this is a major miss, in my opinion, that MUST be fixed. It’s about 70% of the revenue they can expect.
I also heard from non-Vegas nerds that they didn’t understand the commercial and have no idea what the identity of the resort is. The ads may have been too mysterious with not enough branding. This is from people in the target market and out of the target market. A small sample, but interesting to hear none-the-less.
I really like the property, I’ll go check out shows and eat there and grab a drink there. I’m open to gambling at the Cosmo, but I don’t need to. That can easily change as the wind changes direction.
Another general thought is that there’s no way Cosmo can sustain as it exists today. The independent spirit is great, but you MUST market to people that will increase your income stream. That’s how business succeeds.
When Palms opened they focused half there marketing on the local gamblers and half on youth that would give the casino the cool vibe they were looking for. Sure things have changed over the years, but they were careful not to pass up on people willing to give them money.
In the coming weeks I’ll have more thoughts on smaller details about the Cosmo and their business, but I wanted to get down initial thoughts.
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