Finding Feasibility

Clayton Peister, Vice President, Crown Casinos

Clayton Peister is currently a vice president with Crown Melbourne, a role he has held since 2011. Over the last two years, Peister has overseen one of the global industry’s highest grossing hospitality programs, while also filling a broader corporate development and strategic role.

Prior to joining Crown, Peister held senior roles in Macau with Crown’s joint venture, Melco-Crown, and the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, where he served as regional vice president of strategic marketing. Peister has also held managerial roles in Las Vegas, New Jersey and Ukraine, always within the hospitality industry and always with a strategic or quantitative focus.

Early on in his career, Peister recognized his passion and skills in analytics and strategic marketing. “I have always had a passion for numbers,” he recalls. “I have always felt it as a creative process I enjoy immensely.”

As such, Peister decided early to focus on what he loved, choosing to specialize in these skills to build his career. This interest took Peister into the world of consulting, where he was primarily executing feasibility studies for prospective hotels and restaurants.

“At the time, I felt the feasibility process was wildly subjective and dependent on a handful of critical assumptions,” Peister explains. “I understood that there was potentially a niche in the market for developing statistical and econometric tools for quantifying dynamics like latent demand.”

This project piqued his interest in the quantitative methods and gave him the taste for developing new and unique methods in quantitative analysis.

Throughout his early career, he has benefitted from working closely with several well-seasoned and highly knowledgeable veterans of the industry. He comments that the most important influences in the infancy of his career were Michael Beacham, who now leads Hard Rock Development, and Kelvin Tan, who is well known in the Asian VIP gaming space.

The knowledge, guidance and experience Peister gleaned while working with these mentors has allowed him to have many successes in the industry.

“One experience that stands out was developing a direct marketing campaign in Macau, which drove a two-point increase in mass-market share,” Peister explains. “The science of the initiative required developing traditional direct marketing techniques—lifecycle modeling, churn prediction, response rate modeling—but the art of the initiative was trickier: delivering and skinning the offer in a culturally compelling way.”

As Peister has grown, he has become highly successful and well-known in the industry for his innovative thinking around analytics, and he has taken his role as a leader and mentor seriously. He currently challenges his staff, most of whom are bright young analysts that are new graduates, into culling ideas from “out-of-the-norm” thinking and problem-solving. He encourages and trains his staff to create compelling and realistic narratives around the data, as he feels that many brilliant ideas get lost in poor data visualization.

“Meaningful analysis involves experimentation, data mining and primary research but rarely comes in neatly packaged, linear trends,” Peister says.

Peister is a published author, and has written articles and white papers on casino analytics and the economics of hotel development. He continues to strive for new ways to look at data and trends, and is driven by his passion for the industry and quantitative process. As a member of the Global Gaming Business 40 Under 40, he will be a driving force in the industry’s continual evolution.

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