Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


MGM Expects $50M-$75M Incremental Revenues in 2024 With Marriott Partnership

4 months ago

Even though the big MGM-Marriott loyalty & booking partnership that was announced earlier this year with much fanfare has been delayed until early 2024 — ostensibly due to MGM’s cybersecurity threat which derailed much of its business over weeks — MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle is very bullish about it.

In its Q3 earnings call earlier this week, Hornbuckle said that the company will begin to see the benefits of the partnership pretty quickly in 2024 soon after it launches. In response to an analyst question of whether this delay in launch means that MGM won’t see the incremental revenues in 2024 and whether the gains would be pushed to 2025, he said:

“No, I think it’s ’24 because I think the booking cycle for Las Vegas, even with this group [of Marriott Bonvoy users] because we’ve seen it obviously mirrored Cosmopolitan [which MGM now owns and has been part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection] is pretty much in line with everything else. They go a little earlier because they want to make sure they can use their points, et cetera. But there’s a clear window over the next couple of months. So once we launch it, we think it ramps fairly quickly.

And I think by the third and fourth quarter of next year, this time next year, we ought to be — have a real good feel for what it’s going to provide. The group activity that will be part of it is a little different discussion and we’ll take more time given the obvious nature and cycle of that business. And remember, I think the first year, we’re looking for $50 million to $75 million in incremental [revenues].

And there’s nothing to believe even despite the delay candidly, there’s nothing to believe we won’t recognize or realize that.”


MGM Resorts CEO Thinks Dubai or Abu Dhabi Might OK Gaming This Year

10 months ago

Executives at MGM Resorts International are hopeful that gaming may be approved by the United Arab Emirates, possibly as soon as this year.

The Las Vegas-based casino and hotel operator announced back in 2017 its plans for an MGM Resort in Dubai that wouldn’t have gaming but would instead have 1,000 rooms and 10 villas. Yet executives sounded more hopeful about running a casino in a Gulf State someday when talking with analysts during the company’s first-quarter earnings on Monday.

“As it relates to Dubai, that property continues to evolve,” said Bill Hornbuckle, president and CEO. “We’re the managers, but the owners want to upgrade the property, I think, with gaming in mind. But it’s up to Abu Dhabi and the national government to ultimately decide. … We’re hoping ‘any day.’ But I got to believe as the summer fulfills itself, we’ll hear more news on that.”

“We have had people on the ground there basically nonstop since the first of the year, trying to understand the opportunity in Abu Dhabi and then ultimately, if it will open up,” Hornbuckle said. “If they pass on it, [the opportunity] will open up to the other Emirates. Whether the rulers of each Emirate then take it upon themselves to approve it is up to them.”

“Obviously, we’re focused on Dubai, and we think it would be ideal,” Hornbuckle said. “There happens to be 150,000 to 200,000 square feet of space that could be converted into such a thing. But time to tell there, and we’re not saying no to Abu Dhabi either.”

MGM already has competition on the non-gaming front. Wynn is spending $3.9 billion in the region, as Bloomberg reported this week, noted Alan Woinski, editor of The Gaming Industry Daily Report and Skift’s Daily Lodging Report. The Wynn property is on an island and is said to have a “gaming area” though this doesn’t seem to have been approved yet.

Here are other key points about the operator of 32 hotels and casinos in the U.S. and Macau.

Expansion Continues

In April, the company received approval of its development plan in Osaka, Japan. MGM and its partners Orix hope to start building the nearly $10 billion integrated casino resort, with an opening now expected in 2030.

MGM’s application process in New York is “progressing,” the company said.

Hotel Boom:

In the first three months of the year, the overall MGM Resorts company generated $467 million of net income on revenue of $3.9 billion.

Its Las Vegas Strip resort hotels, in particular, generated $752 million in revenue. That was thanks to a mix of strong pricing — with rates 31 percent higher than a year earlier — and an average occupancy of 92 percent.

There’s further room to grow, executives said, if Chinese and other Asian travelers come back to Las Vegas in large numbers. In the first quarter of 2019, Asian Pacific customer made up about 45 percent of its business, while now they’re currently only about 25 percent.

“So if that comes back, from that perspective, it would be pretty meaningful,” said Corey Sanders, chief operating officer.

Online Travel Became Major League Baseball’s Official Online Travel Partner

11 months ago, which has marketing relationships with the International Cricket Council and the Union of European Football Associations, is playing ball with Major League Baseball.

Pictured is a Spring Airlines A320 bedecked as as seen on July 7, 2018. Source: Kwok Ho Eddie Wong

The company will officially announce today that it has become Major League Baseball’s official online travel partner. Among travel-related services, the league also counts MGM Resorts and Capital One, which offers Capital One Travel, as official sponsors. Marriott has also been a partner. declined to release financial details of the marketing partnership, but said fans will begin to see branding in baseball stadiums across the U.S., and there will be a new media campaign getting under way in several weeks.

With the launch, the official schedule pages of Major League Baseball teams will feature icons that direct people to search and book accommodations near stadiums.

A recent survey found that 49 percent of U.S. baseball fans plan to travel to at least one game in 2023, and 61 percent would be open to traveling as far as 500 miles to see teams play., based in Amsterdam, has been making significant inroads in the U.S. market, trying to challenge Washington-based Expedia as the market leader.


MGM Resorts Forecasts March to Be the Best Month for Its Las Vegas Hotels Ever

1 year ago

MGM Resorts International reported earnings for the fourth quarter of 2022 on Wednesday. Here are key points about the operator of 32 hotels and casinos in the U.S. and Macau.

Revenue and losses:

The Las Vegas-based company reported a net income of $284 million on revenue of $3.6 billion for the last quarter of 2022. That compared favorably to half as much net income and 18 percent less revenue for the same period a year earlier.

Hotel segment:

“The calendar in March is positioned to have us have the best hotel revenue month, we believe, in our history,” said Bill Hornbuckle, president and CEO, during a call with analysts. Hornbuckle said demand for upcoming events in Las Vegas is driving demand for its hotels.

Worldwide, the company’s forecasts for the business volume in travel in its key markets were quite positive, though Macau is a developing situation.

MGM’s hotel revenues in full-year 2022 were up 95 percent from the previous year.
Occupancy was 89 percent, compared to 74 percent in 2021.

Average daily rate was up by a third compared to a year earlier. In the full-year 2022, MGM’s properties on the Las Vegas Strip specifically had an average daily rate of $229, up by a third over 2021. Occupancy improved 15 percentage points, year-over-year.


Macau Casino Companies Pledge Over $13 Billion Investment on Non-Gaming Activities

1 year ago

Six casino companies have agreed to invest a total of $15 billion in Macau over ten years, with more than 90 percent of the money pledged to non-gaming activities.

In line with the easing of Covid quarantine rules for inbound arrivals, Macau has renewed the casino licenses of six companies — MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, Sands China, Melco Resorts, Wynn Macau and SJM Holdings — for the next 10 years.

Genting Group lost the bid even as reports earlier had stated that the Malaysian goup was a strong contender for a new license promising the biggest shakeup in Macau in over two decades.

As the new contracts come into effect on January 1, the casino firms have promised to spend almost $13.5 billion on “exploring overseas customer markets and developing non-gaming projects,” the government said.

The investment on gaming projects would only be around $1.2 billion.  

Macau has been looking to diversify its tourism offerings for some time, looking to position itself as not just a hub for the gaming industry.

In recent years, almost 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product has come from the gaming sector.

However, the casino closures as a result of China’s zero-Covid policy dealt a blow to operators who had been losing millions of dollars a month since March 2020.

Doing away with its institutional quarantine, Macau announced last week that inbound arrivals would have to quarantine at home for five days while restricting outbound travel movements for another three days.

Earlier, travelers had to institutionally quarantine for five days in addition to three days of home quarantine.

Mergers and Acquisitions

MGM in Talks With Genting for Potential Purchase of Resorts World Sentosa

2 years ago

Casino-resort Genting Singapore is in talks with bidders for the purchase of Resorts World Sentosa and US-based MGM Resorts International is one of the top contenders, according to Bloomberg reports.

While MGM’s recent talks with Malaysia’s Lim family, that owns 53 percent stake in Genting Singapore, failed to yield an agreement, the Singapore-based casino operator is said to be in early-stage discussions with other potential buyers, as per Bloomberg.

As Covid outbreaks have led to a full closure of casinos in Macau — the Las Vegas of Asia, Singapore’s eased entry restrictions make it more open to international tourists.

A prospective buyer of Genting would also have to worry less about competition as Genting and Sands have an agreement with the Singapore government that limits the amount of gaming properties to the two entities, leaving Marina Bay Sands as its only competitor.

The Singapore Tourism Board had also reached an agreement in 2019 with Las Vegas Sands and Genting Singapore allowing them to significantly expand their respective integrated resorts.

Looking to decrease its dependence on Macau, where all casinos are closed and Japan very cautiously reopening to international tourists, MGM may be keen to explore other Asian destinations for its casino business.

Last year, speaking at the Skift Hospitality and Marketing Summit, William Hornbuckle, CEO and president of MGM Resorts International, had spoken about plans to expand in Asia.

Genting Singapore operates Resorts World Sentosa, an integrated resort on the Sentosa island, off the southern coast of Singapore. The key attractions at Resorts World Sentosa include a casino, the Universal Studios Singapore theme park, the Adventure Cove Waterpark, as well as the Singapore Oceanarium, which is the world’s second largest oceanarium.