Ending Paralysis by Analysis

Patrick Nichols, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Patrick Nichols’ role as senior vice president of strategy and business development at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a fitting reflection of his life experience in hospitality. Having grown up in Minnesota in the hospitality business, working in family-owned hotels, Nichols has witnessed firsthand the monumental shift in the ethos of the industry. Reinforced by a Cornell University degree in hotel administration with a concentration in finance and information systems, he is a perfect fit at one of the most recent, modern and technologically and generationally savvy resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

Nichols currently leads development, construction, retail and entertainment operations for the Cosmopolitan. As distinguishing features of the property, this role requires a global view of the gaming and hospitality sector, and intimate knowledge of the Las Vegas customer. And as if that is not totally consuming, Nichols also heads the financial planning and analysis initiatives for the company and takes on strategic capital planning efforts.

Nichols moved to Las Vegas in 2008 straight out of college. He began working at Las Vegas Sands Corporation in financial planning, ultimately as a manager. His focus within the Las Vegas Sands portfolio was the Venetian-Palazzo complex on the Las Vegas Strip. Although Nichols initially believed his time in Las Vegas and in gaming would be limited—a bridge to another industry of residence—he instead made the industry a destination.

Nichols stayed on as a member of the pre-opening teams for Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, where he was responsible for implementing all financial planning tools and reports for the resort. This added international exposure in gaming further reinforces the diversity of experience brought to the Cosmopolitan by Nichols today.

Nichols cites Jeff Burge, who he worked for during the opening of Marina Bay Sands, as a great leader and as one of his mentors. He worked for Burge in 2008 and opened a property at a time when the global economy was in a tailspin. This exposed Nichols to some of the most difficult operating scenarios imaginable, but fortified his experience in ways that contribute substantially to the lens he sees the industry through today.

Given the prominence of innovation in the Cosmopolitan business model, it is not surprising that Nichols has a forward-looking view of the gaming industry. The focus on cutting-edge amenities and content at the property is inspired by Nichols.

Although he believes that traditional casinos will maintain their relevance perpetually, Nichols is an astute observer of and a participant in the convergence of bricks-and-mortar and internet-driven gaming platforms. His willingness to experiment with the latest technologies on the casino floor, such as newer skill-based games, is a testament to his progressive outlook.

With an absorptive schedule, Nichols still finds time for sailing, playing golf, scuba diving and spending time with family.

Michael Soll
Michael Soll is president of the Innovation Group, the industry's premier consulting and advisory firm. One of gaming and hospitality's most recognizable brand specialists, Soll's experience includes senior-level management positions with such organizations as Caesars Entertainment, Hard Rock Café International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. He can be reached at the Innovation Group's Orlando office at 407-702-6648 or at msoll@theinnovationgroup.com.

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