Case Studies: Casino de Genting of Malaysia
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Case Studies: Casino de Genting (Malaysia)
1.1 Explains the focus of the case study
This case study focuses on the brand management strategy of Casino de Genting. Brand communication, brand equity and brand measurement are under this category. Brand communication meant to reveal the brand through an integrated branding process. The marketing communication plan is an important tool in communicating the brand internally and externally. Such plan is an instrument to integrate brand meaning with emphasis on objectives and overall strategy. Brand equity, on the other hand, is the mental association as resultant of marketing strategies. Beyond such association and other physical attributes is the brand strength. Measuring strength depends on the positive brand knowledge acquired through different distribution channels.
1.2 Introduces the organisation
Casino de Genting is Malaysia’s sole gaming venue located in the Genting Highlands, a mountain peak within the Titiwangsa Mountains. As an important faction of the Genting Group, this casino is the only licensed casino in the country which intended to rival any Asian casino. Casino de Genting is dubbed as the Place for High Roller and Risk Takers as it offers a host of exciting international games and a Las Vegas-style of entertainment. Since it was opened in 1971, it has now become one of the finest gaming destinations in Asia. Players from all over the world including US, Europe, Taiwan and Macau continuously visit Casino de Genting. Further, Casino de Genting plays an important role in the tourism and annual revenue of the Malaysian government. Casino de Genting’s profitability was reported at US$0.63 billion in 2007.
1.3 Describes the methods and sources used to collect data
Basically, the research is a case study, a strategy for doing research which involves an empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple sources of evidence. The data collection methods employed in case study includes questionnaires, interviews, observation and documentary analysis. However, this case study will only utilize interview and document analysis as the primary and secondary research strategies, respectively. Interview questions will include hypothetical, reflective, probing and specific questions. Online forums and reviews will be also collated. Literatures to be collected, on the other hand, will be subjected to thematic content analysis. SWOT, Porter’s five forces, PESTEL and scenario analyses will be also used in this research.
1.4 Identifies key learning/principles from the case
The importance of studying this aspect lies on the future prospects especially when other regions and neighboring countries will start to relax their respective anti-gambling laws. Casino de Genting shall face business challenges and consequences though potential rivalry thereby the necessity to maximize internal brand management strategies. It would be crucial for Casino de Genting to continuously facilitate profitability by means of protecting and promoting the corporate image. This can be done through appealing to the interest of patrons and potential clientele while also creating share of mind and generating brand equity. Measuring relative Casino de Genting brand strength is a necessary step to determine how the company could make sense of the brand management strategies to retain the global casino industry leadership position.
2.1 Malaysian casino industry
Because of the long history of tolerance, South East Asia had become a hotbed for gambling. Casinos have been legalized with various restrictions in Asian countries such as South Korea in 1967 and Philippines in 1977. These casinos cater for moneyed elite and were created to attract foreign money into an otherwise area with few economic assets. As Goodman (1995) puts it, many of the new casinos around the world are found close to major cities while others are located in the heart of the city. However, access by the local population still tends to be constrained or prohibited. This still holds true for Malaysia because of religion whereby Islam is the official religion. Nonetheless, Malaysia is a multi-religious society.
In Muslim Malaysia, the Qur’an’s edicts against games of chance have been accommodated in atypical manner. Because the Malaysian government experienced difficulties in stamping out horse-race betting as well as numbers games after independence was attained in 1957, the government officials opted to regulate gaming and privatizing state-run lotteries and also taxing the trade. However, ethnic Malays are barred by law from casinos lone casino, the Casino de Genting, located 35 miles outside of Kuala Lumpur. Their ethnic Chinese countrymen, nevertheless, are free to mingle with the foreigners at the tables and slot machines. An idea to tap foreigners for gambling revenues, Malaysia becomes a home base for companies that operate only in other countries aside from the domestically operated Casino de Genting.
2.2 How Casino de Genting originated
The Genting Group was founded by the late in 1965. Casino de Genting’s history is intertwined with the famous resort by which the founder envisioned building a world-class hill resort and part of such dream was the establishment of a casino. On 28 April 1969, submitted an application for a casino license before the office of the then Prime Minister . A cabinet meeting was held that very afternoon and the proposition was approved. Casino de Genting remained to be the lone licensed casino in Malaysia. Opening the same time as the Genting Resort in 1971, the casino, which was then located where the Theme Park Hotel stands today, started with thirty tables and a selection of lever-powered slot machines.
As a way to cater to the growing demands of the players, Casino de Genting doubled in size in terms of staffs, tables and number of slot machines by the 1980s and then moved to the Highlands Hotel later that decade. In 26 November 2004, Casino de Genting opened the Starworld which is a contemporary gaming venue located in the First World Hotel. The casino is now offering, through Starworld, the latest electronic table games, cashless gaming systems for its slot machines and some of the best stakes gaming tables proffering classic games such as Roulette, Pai Gow, Baccarat and Blackjack among others. The latest themed outlet named @Latté was launched on 19 March 2005, brewing up some of the finest coffee in Asia for gambling and coffee aficionados combined.
As such, Genting Highlands is one of the most successful casino resorts in the world apart from being one of the primary tourist attractions in Malaysia. Genting Highlands Resort was voted the World’s Leading Casino Resort in 2005 and 2007 as well as Asia’s Leading Casino Resort from 2005 to 2008 by World Travel Awards. Genting Group as well has diversified into many other industries and while in the process, new company brands were created that have become distinctive names in their respective field.
2.3 SWOT Analysis of Casino de Genting
Casino de Genting has been so far proved to be popular in non-Muslim Malaysians and the government. Aside from the exclusive weather condition and the strategic location, Casino de Genting is the first mover in the casino industry in Malaysia and has the ability to cater to high leisure demands through its widely diversified games. With its strong brand name and image and great marketing programs, Casino de Genting now boasts for a huge capital and a stable financial status. Malaysian government has seen additional revenues through the casino operations. Gambling has seen as a strategy to open up to international business environment minus the need to sacrifice Qur’an teachings. As a local business also that caters to both domestic and global clienteles, Casino de Genting had created a number of new jobs for the people.
Inherently, anti-social activities accompany gambling and such accusation trickles down to wider governmental scrutiny of the conducts of Casino de Genting. So far, the casino does not faced with major dilemmas concerning, for instance, current ceiling on price money and misdirecting proceeds.
The continued support of the government to promote tourism in Malaysia proved to be significant in the success of Casino de Genting. The Visit Malaysia 2007 tourism programmed was deemed successful, not to mention the lower currency rate in the country. Malaysian tourism strategy could highlight the superb gambling experience Casino de Genting could offer in their future tourism programmers. Major Asian cities with wealthier populations and foreign nationals penetration would be also an opportunity for Casino de Genting to exploit. As the only way forward, the growing consumer demand and market outlooks are forecasted to continually grow in scale and scope.
Although the support of the Malaysian government is a strength for Casino de Genting, it could also be a threat. Provided that foreign participation in the casino industry is limited, it will be an opportunity for them to divert investments in any other Asian region with more open gambling laws such as the Philippines as alternative locations. Another threat would be the client’s prerogative regarding dispersal of and disparity in incomes especially during this global financial crisis. Intense regional competition and diplomatic conflicts with other countries whereby high rollers would opt for newer and fancier casinos in Asian region was perceived to be a threat for Casino de Genting.
2.4 PESTEL Analysis of Casino de Genting
2.5 Porter’s Five Forces Analysis of Casino de Genting
Threats of New Entrants
Apart from the existing regional competitors, there are no major domestic competitors for Casino de Genting. There are rumors of potential new entrant of American gambling companies to penetrate Casino de Genting. Even so, the Malaysian government continuously supports the Genting Group and set high political barriers to new entrants. In fact, even the conservative Islamic party PAS does not pursue the campaign against gambling (Casino City Times, 2008). In addition, new entrants would be discouraged of the high capitalization required in penetrating the global/regional or even the Malaysian casino industry.
Domestically, there are no substitute products and services being offered by Casino de Genting. However, if we are going to look at the regional schema, China would be the greatest rival. There are at least four major gaming establishments in China as spread in Beijing, Hong Kong and notably, Macau. In terms of differentiation, Casino de Genting is strategically located complementary to other tourist destinations such as resort and hotels and theme park. Casino de Genting has a distinctive competency of the mixture of Monte Carlo and Las Vegas gaming environment and experience.
Bargaining Powers of Supplier
Casino de Genting has a more advantageous position that its supplier. This is because the Genting Group has the sole autonomy on the gaming products and services, and that suppliers could be easily changes once the group becomes unsatisfied of a certain product or service. Gaming products and services that Casino de Genting considers are audio/visual, electrical and signage, chips and cards and game equipments as well as gaming development, cash handling and facility design and construction.
Bargaining Power of Buyers
Based on the responses, the bargaining power of buyer is definitely weak due to the monopoly in Genting Highlands Resort. As a world-class gaming entertainment area, Casino de Genting has standards suitable for international clientele. If the group desires to monopolized the prices of the products and services, it will have the freedom to do so, which leave the buyers at a disadvantaged position.
As already mentioned, Casino de Genting has no domestic rival to date, only regional rivals. The strong leadership position of Casino de Genting, however, would not be easy to defeat.
3. Key Strategies, Processes and Activities of the Organisation
3.1 Brand Communication – Locus Marketing
According to (2008) for any Asian casino to prosper, brand communication shall focus on targeting, retention, organisation, people, incentives, cultures and systems. Customer centrism will be intensified and so the necessity to optimize customer service as the only possible means to sustain competitive advantage. The growing service standards will also require interdepartmental cooperation as well as the qualitative changes in the decision-making of top leadership. Retaining excellent staff will be also a significant Endeavour as well as lifelong learning at every organizational level. At Casino de Genting, the unique marketing strategy is locus marketing. From the word locus which means a set of points which satisfies a certain condition, Casino de Genting markets their brand through satisfying distinct niches or market segments. In addition, the company employs marketing communication strategies with emphasis on the role of technology ( 2007).
Marketing and sales is one of the primary activities in Casino de Genting. Casino de Genting is implementing an effective advertising and marketing campaign including the variety of advertising medium, attractiveness of the organized events and innovative promotional packages in accordance to season or festivity. Genting Group collate information about its customers to better understand them and build a stronger customer loyalty base. Casino de Genting brand depends on SAS software in creating customized campaigns based on the analysis of data derived from the customers. As such, the marketing initiatives of the group centers improving customer insights and further optimization of the marketing campaign. There are two leading marketing campaigns for Casino de Genting. The first campaign was designed to increase spending frequency of visits from a segment of high potential customers. The second campaign focuses on providing members with more attractive packages to encourage upgrades. According to, Senior Vice President, Casino Marketing:
“[SAS software] has increased our operational efficiencies and allowed us to better manage our resources by channeling them into the right programs and services. It is being utilized in marketing, resource and operations planning, and finance to manage our performance. Supported by relevant data, we are able to identify key success drivers in our campaigns, which enables us to make better decisions, saving us time and money” (SAS Institute, Inc. 2008).
Further, Casino de Genting developed an interactive website which informs clients about the games (Gaming Guide and Frequently Asked Questions) as well as promotions and events and tournaments. An online tour inside the casino facilities saves the cost and time for the consumers and the members’ corner provides details on how they could add value to their money while inside Casino de Genting. Genting WorldCard Benefit, Genting Points and Genting Rewards Gallery are just three of the main features of Casino de Genting to reward loyal customers. The loyalty network program accommodates the 2.2 million members with benefits extended to the 2, 000 participating merchant outlets. The points accumulated act as redemption for rooms, food and beverage, gaming and transportation. Further, Casino de Genting has a wide distribution channel in which it works with various social campaigns, media activities, online collaborations, travel agencies and several gambling enthusiasts all over the world. Approximately, Genting Group spent RM60 million in its marketing.
Internally, Casino de Genting is just like any other organisation when it comes to communicating brand to internal stakeholders. The Genting Group adopts a corporate philosophy which values the employees and emphasize human resource development. Embedded on traditional values of hard work, perseverance and integrity, the group continuously expand to comprise a global team of dedicated and motivated professional managers. There are a total of 27, 117 employees in Genting Highlands Resort as of 31 December 2007 with 13, 000 under the Casino de Genting ( 2008). For these employees to incessantly commit to the brand, annual training conferences and team-building events are held. Family days are also held by various departments within the Group to foster team spirit and collective brand knowledge among executives and staff.
So as to retain the same people with established knowledge of the brand, internal recruitment is prioritized. Casino de Genting, for instance, holds a 12-month long training programmed which provides career advancement opportunities for high potential employees. As part of the Casino’s branding initiative, such opportunities were extended to external candidates of select colleges and universities in Malaysia. Effective brand succession is the motivation behind this activity. Casino de Genting also participated in various career fairs and recruitment drives to hire, train and retain the best talent. Brand is also communicated through various seminars and talks focusing on how employees could add value to the strength of the brand and how the Casino de Genting brand could contribute in their quality of life.
3.2 Brand Equity
Necessarily, putting value to the Casino de Genting brand must cover specific categories which will drive the four areas identified. The value chain of Casino de Genting starts with its operations. As a 24-hour business, the operation basically starts with the first contact to the guests or customers, involving the staff and facilities. Such activity helps in creating value to the customer through service. In Casino de Genting, the brand is optimized through generating customer satisfaction. This can be done through polite, friendly and experienced staff as well as the best facilities. A review said that: I haven’t been to the Genting casino for over 10 years already and my previous impression of it wasn’t too good… However, it seemed like some upgrades have been made to the Genting Casino as I found it a much better place this time. As the only casino in Malaysia, the Genting Casino attracts a huge number of gamblers and visitors from all over Malaysia and Singapore, especially over the weekends. It is split into several areas over two floors and is easily accessible from any area of the huge Genting entertainment complex.
Another aspect of the brand equity lies in the consistency of workplace practices internal to Casino de Genting or simply the workplace ethics that comes with the brand experience itself. According to(2008), employees from front liners to C-levels must always practice professionalism while also aiming customers to have a positive experience. For instance, from the collected responses, two commented that: A) You need to be over 21 years of age to enter and may be stopped for identity checks at the entrance. Ladies are required to be properly attired while men are required to be in collared shirts with proper pants. B) At the security gate, the guards will check that you are wearing appropriate attire and not carrying any prohibited items. Sometimes, they will check your ID to make sure you are 21 years old and above, or that you are not of the Muslim faith. So be prepared to produce ID or passport. Baird (2008) continued that customers always pay a premium for the experience. In other words, when people come to Casino de Genting to experience the brand itself, they did not go there just for gambling, but they want to experience everything that would go with the money they are paying including timely and quality, ethical services.
Moreover, while at the discussion about ethical stance, Casino de Genting recognizes the requirement for responsible gaming. Genting Group believes that while gambling is a form of entertainment, a small minority of its customers may have difficulty controlling their gambling habits. Indeed, two more responses indicated that gambling is addictive. A person says: I am just a novice, yet I could see how addicting these games can be! If you win, you would wish for more; if you lose, you want to recoup your losses! It is okay to have fun and join in the thrill and excitement of gaming; however be careful that this does not turn into an obsession, and let it control your life. While another noted that: Gambling is still gambling, some people might think. I totally agree with that. As for me, I always use money which I can afford to lose to play with anything. Once lose, I am not going to try to win back my money. If I win, I am most happy and I will stop if my inspiration tell me so. As such, Casino de Genting offers a self-check to determine if an individual’s gaming habit is out of control toward developing a compulsive gaming disorder. The casino’s website is equipped with a list of indicators that a person maybe exhibiting signs of gambling disorder.
· Is gambling always on your mind?
· Everything you do or say unconsciously leads you to gambling?
· Feeling guilty or remorseful after your gambling session?
· Neglecting your family and health for the sake of gambling?
· Lying to your family and friends on the frequency and extent of your gambling activities?
· Borrowed money to gamble?
· Gambling in hope of getting more money to pay off debts or bills?
· Gambled longer than expected?
· Keep saying you will stop once you hit your limits but instead play on till your last cent?
· Difficulty sleeping as a result of gambling?
· Contemplated self-destruction as a result of gambling?
· Contemplated illegal acts to finance your gambling activities?
If you answer to any of the question, you may be at risk of developing gambling disorder. Consider seeking medical assistance.
Table 1 Gambling Disorder Indicators
Satisfying brand expectations is also an imperative in the casino industry. The last thing that any casino brand wants is for customers to whine about the lousy gaming experience they had while inside their property. As (2008) puts it, the reality today is that we have a gaming village and that casinos cannot afford to get it wrong. For Casino de Genting, the priority is vested on how the people deliver the product, which is service. Casino de Genting is well aware that gaming is a people business and that to satisfy people, you must put the right people at the right time and at the right place. In order that Casino de Genting could create value through its service, the Group strategically placed customer service counters in every part of the Genting with thoroughly trained staffs. Such customer service function helps generate the positive image of the company. In addition, Casino de Genting is very particular with maintenance and repair. Knowledgeable and skillful engineers are on the stand-by in case gaming equipments will be unexpectedly damaged.
(2007) assert that casinos and other gaming operations sell fun and entertainment to the majority of their customers. Referring to gaming as a leisure or entertainment product is definitely a reasonable general description. As an ‘experience good’, the customer would have no idea how pleasurable or attractive the product will be until after the act of consumption. Brand expectations must not only be satisfied through the service. People went there to play and have fun and so, there must be an array of activities that awaits them. At Casino de Genting, there are tables, slots and kenos among others as well as world-class entertainment. An online casino reviewer observed that: The two main areas in Casino de Genting are the Hollywood and Monte Carlo areas. There is also an exclusive International and VIP Room reserved for the big stake gamblers. The casino has a large number of automated slot machines and roulette for players who prefer to play with smaller stakes. A wide range of table games such as Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, Casino War and Poker is available in varying betting amounts. The idea is to keep people busy with what the property has to offer, and doing it in a pleasurable manner as possible.
3.3 Brand Measurement
BRAND STRENGTH INDICATORS
- customer service
- levels of familiarity
- image awareness
- customer recalls
- individual motivation
- ability to purchase
- attitudes and behaviors toward consumption
-levels of attachment
Table 2 Brand Measurement Indicators
4. Key Learning
4.1 The 10 Biggest Casino Marketing Sins
10. Trying To Be Who You Aren’t – this is the Las Vegas Strip Casino trying to attract locals (and the Las Vegas locals casino trying to attract Strip customers). It’s the terribly remote tribal casino trying to be a regional entertainment center or a destination resort. It’s the struggling megaresort with a weak stomach for taking big bets, fancying itself as a high roller haven. This is any casino, in a desperate attempt to grab more business, that positions itself as something it can’t possibly be.
9. Chasing Unqualified Groups And Lists – in this sinful activity, casinos adopt the short sighted attitude that “hey, our current customers already love us, we need new customers!” They buy prospecting lists, do expensive advertising in outer markets, and bring in any groups they can find to fill their hotel rooms. They forget that it’s easier and more efficient to get your current customers to spend a little more or stay a little longer, than it is to milk that mythical “untapped market.”
8. Short Term Marketing Focus – this sin typically involves a casino looking out to next week or next month and saying “Hey, business looks weak, let’s do something!” It’s reaction rather than proactive and reasoned strategic marketing.
7. Half-Assed Measurement – and sometimes this involves no measurement at all, but it absolutely includes every instance where a casino spends money to drive business and doesn’t know “reasonably” to “absolutely” well what its return on investment was (“What was the cost per response of that ad campaign???”).
6. Advertising Is A Sacred Cow – and in this sin it typically means that advertising is a disproportionate (and often bloated) part of the casino budget. But hey, don’t touch it; the GM (or the tribal chairperson, or the CEO, or the Marketing VP) feels we need to be “top of mind.”
5. Always Looking For The Home Run – in this sin, “simple” and “solid” and “tried and true” isn’t enough. We need “sexy” and “flashy” and “more of Las Vegas.” So roll out the Mercedes, ramp up the $1 million giveaway and get the big names in the showroom (usually on a crowded Saturday night)!
4. Taking Current Customers For Granted – this sin is manifested in many ways, but let me tell you about this in the words of your own customers: “Hey, we play here 4 times a week and rarely get anything. But a bus rolls up, and these strangers get a roll of quarters, a free meal and a gift (and then they clog up my favorite machines!). What about me???”
3. Viewing Marketing As A “Department” – in this sin, you typically hear operators talk about “those marketing people” and marketing people saying “we bring ‘em in, and THEIR frontline employees run ‘em off.” This is the sin of not understanding, or not believing, that every employee needs to be a marketer.
2. Lack Of A Marketing Plan – and in this sin, I don’t mean “budgets” or “goals” or a tweak of last year’s marketing schedule. No, I’m referring to a true strategic marketing plan, created by ALL of a property’s Senior Executives, based on effective marketing principles and real marketing needs. It’s a sin that few casinos have this.
1. Listening To The GM Instead Of The Customers – and in this most mortal sin of all, the trademarks are a cavalier GM (or Tribal Council Chairperson, or Marketing Exec) who makes marketing decisions based on what HE or SHE thinks is best, or most profitable, or “what we really need around here.” It’s often characterized by a lack of listening to customers, executives spending little or no time on the casino floor, and Department Heads managing to rules, budgets and the GM – to anything and anyone, but the casino customer.
4.2 The 3Zs
Let's take a
closer look at zero, zip, zilch.
Zero. That’s the amount people tip when they get bad service. Why in the world should they give you a tip if they don't get the service they demand and deserve? You can't blame them for that.
Zero is the number of times the guest wants to come back and experience your property's poor service yet again. If your service is lousy, you've failed to give the guest a reason to come back, and your property and your personal livelihood cannot afford that. Competition in the gaming industry is growing by the minute and there isn't a single property that can say it doesn't matter if it has good service. Guests have too many entertainment choices.
Properties with poor guest service make zero profits. They just don't make any money. Perhaps I exaggerate, but it is true that guests vote with their pocketbooks. You need to make sure you're getting their vote with great guest service.
Zilch. Zilch is slang for nothing. That's how much value a guest places on poor service – nothing, nada, zilch. Guests want to be amazed. They want to have a great experience and they want to remember how wonderful it all was. Employees are first in line to meet those demands. Unfortunately, if customers get zilch for service, they'll remember the negative more than the positive.
Zip. That's what it costs to give a guest a smile, say hello and glow with a positive attitude. Those little gems of outstanding customer service cost absolutely nothing and they can pay huge dividends. So instead of giving your guests zip, let them know they are appreciated.
Let's recap. I suggest you set service goals, put them in a brief and simple plan and then team up with a buddy to stay on track. And while you're doing all that, never lose sight of zero, zilch and zip.
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