As part of its $140 million upgrade, Golden Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ:GDEN) has announced it will rebrand the iconic Stratosphere resort that has called Las Vegas Boulevard home since April 1996.
The new name of the property that at 1,149 feet boasts the tallest freestanding observation tower in the U.S., will be, The STRAT Hotel, Casino and Skypod. The STRAT’s top three floors, which includes entertainment and rides, will reportedly be called SkyPod, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The move by the Nevada-based company is in keeping with its effort to drive more traffic and get people talking about all of the resort’s new amenities.
Golden Entertainment Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Steve Arcana, reportedly told the Las Vegas news agency that the significant property upgrade launched by the company in August was to address the “kind of outdated” feel of the Stratosphere.
The company kicked off the major marketing campaign with a pair of TV commercials, which reportedly were to air in the Las Vegas viewing area during Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, February 3, 2019. There is no other time of the year that business obtains that level of viewership.
Arcana said, “What better way to start our ‘STRAT Rising’ campaign but to expose it on the Super Bowl?” He added that along with Nevada residents, some 300,000 tourists would also be watching the game.
The casino operator acquired the resort along with three other properties, including Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Arizona Charlie’s Boulder from casino holding company, American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC for $850 million in 2017.
Golden announced in March 2018, that it would carry out upgrades to the property in three phases over the next three years, and company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Blake Sartini said at the time that they expected the improvements to generate a return on investment (ROI) of between 15% and 20%.
Gaming and accommodations:
Upgrades will reportedly include all public spaces including the casino floor, which according to Arcana, will remain the same size. However, the casino’s slot count will increase by 2% to approximately 765. Arcana said that each year Golden will update the slot count from 5% to 10% with the latest games.
International Game Technology‘s (IGT) electronic Dynasty game will also reportedly be added to the Stratosphere’s gaming floor, and a Lightning Link-dedicated gaming lounge will also be created. The set of linked games with progressives from Aristocrat is one of the best performing games in the US.
Of the Stratosphere’s 2,427 guestrooms and suites, 310 have been upgraded by Golden since August 2018 and according to Arcana, between 240 and 350 rooms a year or four to six floors, will be completed a year. He said the last room renovation took place sometime around 2012 to 2014 and included a few hundred rooms, as reported by the news agency.
Generate more in-house:
Golden reportedly said that the property has historically attracted crowds, over 1 million annually, that come to get a view of Las Vegas from the 108th-floor observation deck. But that after a brief visit, leave to play and eat at other properties. Golden hopes to change that dynamic, with the improved amenities helping to keep that additional spend in-house.
“visitation becomes a little more sticky“
“The rebranding is designed to create an experience throughout the entire casino property including rooms, food and beverage, casino floor so that visitation becomes a little more sticky and the property keeps people around a little bit longer,” said Arcana.
Food and sportsbook upgrades:
A new menu was recently introduced at the Stratosphere’s Top of the World restaurant, while on the 108th floor, the property has debuted 108 Eats by James Trees and has also opened a 24-hour restaurant and cafe.
Arcana said, “Food is a very important branding position for the company. The first thing we did was understand what food was lacking at the property.”
An upgraded sportsbook, View Lounge and BLVD Main Taphouse will open in March just in time for the NCAA basketball finals, with the first week of the always highly-anticipated tournament arguably one of the most electric in sports betting.
According to the Review-Journal, along with bar food, Taphouse will offer 20 craft beers, while cocktails will take center stage at View Lounge. The venues will be connected to each other.
Building brand loyalty:
Chad Beynon, an analyst for the New York-based Macquarie Group, said that the Stratosphere’s prior owners invested little and did not build brand loyalty, something, he said, Golden is making progress on reversing.
“For years, the Stratosphere has served as a value dormitory for leisure customers. Now that Golden has applied some capital expenditure and significantly improved some of the room product along with internal concepts, we believe a rebranding and remarketing will drive solid returns,” said Beynon.
An official date for the rebrand has yet to be announced.
Currently, Golden Entertainment owns 10 casino resorts, nine in Nevada and one in Maryland, 60 neighboring pubs and taverns and more than 1,000 route locations servicing over 10,500 machines across Nevada and Montana.