It didn’t take long for Doni Taube to get a global outlook on gaming when he first came aboard with Mirage Resorts in 1996 straight out of UNLV.
“I became a regulatory compliance officer and was tasked with putting together procedures when it came to marketing, collections and front money in the international arena,” he explains. “We had expanded into more than 60 countries worldwide, so we needed some rules to go along with the opportunities.”
Later, Taube was able to operate the international marketing department at Mandalay Bay, and moved to Aria at the end of last year. Early in 2010, Taube was named to head global gaming marketing strategies under the chief marketing officer for MGM Resorts, Bill Hornbuckle.
The job was created for Taube, and entails exploring international marketing opportunities, creating brand awareness and aligning the MGM brand with like-minded companies in the hospitality industry and beyond.
“The idea is to be focused on brand marketing outside the day-to-day operations of our casinos,” he says. “Our hosts are very busy trying to maintain market share in our business, and our job is to bring other avenues of revenue to the table to explore. It has allowed us to focus on emerging markets and places where we haven’t penetrated.”
Taube has been developing partnerships and alliances with other brands that have something to gain by aligning with MGM Resorts. It’s not just gaming; it’s hotels, cruise lines, credit card companies, retailers… anything that is complementary to the MGM experience.
“Truly, it’s unique,” he says. “The idea is to encourage customer loyalty. When you have a shared experience and you refer customers to your partner, their loyalty to you will increase via more visits or increased spend.”
When developing customers who visit Las Vegas, Taube says the purpose of the trip and the style of the visit needs to be known so MGM can design an experience that works.
“We need to provide customers with the flexibility to decide what they want,” he says. “For us to achieve what we want—an unforgettable guest experience—we need to listen very closely to their needs and desires and place them in one of our brands that matches them most closely, something that is very specific and unique.”
The economic struggles of Vegas are beneficial because they make people think outside the box, says Taube.
“We’re trying new things that have never been attempted before,” he says.
Some of the new marketing tools MGM is using include the social media, the instant gratification that today’s customers expect.
“When you sign up for one of these programs,” he explains, “we know that we’re already appealing to someone whose tastes and desires coincide with our brands. So you’ll get the information necessary very quickly.”
The high-end brands of the company—MGM Grand in many locations, Bellagio, Mirage, Mandalay Bay—appeal to the high-rolling VIP market, and Taube says the addition of Aria has only increased that reach.
“It’s already established itself as one of the great hotels of Las Vegas,” he says. “Our clientele recognizes the great experience there—both gaming and non-gaming. As time goes on, we’ll be saying the same thing we’re saying today about Bellagio: Aria will be a game-changer on the Strip.”