Grant Bowie, chief executive officer and executive director of MGM China, declared that yesterday’s unveiling ceremony marks a milestone for MGM Cotai. In an email interview with the Times, Bowie talks about the ongoing recruitment campaign for the new property and also on the gaming revenue rebound.
Macau Daily Times (MDT) – What is your impression of the new lion statue?
Grant Bowie (GB) – Pride! I am personally proud of the accomplishments we have reached at MGM Cotai and unveiling the company’s first lion to be gilt in 24-karat gold signifies the importance of this new property. More importantly pride in the sense that the lion represents the pride or the team behind this company and the MGM employees are the ones who have delivered the company’s growth allowing us to reach this special milestone.
MDT – The statue is set to become an iconic element of MGM Cotai. Can you describe other elements in the new property that will stand out?
GB – Well there are still many secrets left to be unveiled at MGM Cotai, but I can give you a few highlights. MGM Macau is a luxury property that represents a more traditional luxury… its architecture is classic with an ode to Portuguese culture in its Grande Praca for example, it’s dining offerings are tailored to high quality amenities and skill combined with authentic ingredients and recipes, etc. MGM Cotai will reflect the same attention to detail and best in class amenities and service that all MGM customers have grown to expect. However, it is represented in a very contemporary way. At MGM Cotai we are all about innovation and creating extraordinary experiences. We are not developing anything that we have done as a company anywhere else in the world. The architecture is modern, KPF designed the building, this is the same architectural firm who designed the ICC in Hong Kong and is award-winning for iconic modern architecture. [In terms of] Food and Beverage, we set out years ago to find up and coming chefs from around the world to bring a new culinary scene to Macau. […] MGM Cotai is almost twice as big as MGM Macau which allows us the space to show off what the MGM brand is known for globally… entertainment! We have a lot more to share on this over time, but we will have a resident show in our state of the art theater which is dynamic and can adjust to host all kinds of events. Also our ‘Spectacle’… which is the size of a football field and I believe will eventually become a must see destination for Macau visitors, wowing everyone who walks through our doors.
MDT – MGM Cotai is scheduled to open in the second half of 2017. With its opening, MGM’s staff is expected to double to over 11,000 employees. Do you expect to launch a recruitment campaign for the new property? When?
GB – Our recruitment campaign has already commenced. It began in the fall of 2016 and we have already offered jobs to over 1,000 local employees in the area of Facilities Management, Security and Hotel operations. We have conducted four off-site career fairs jointly organized with local associations and more recruitment events will be organized in the coming months with other positions and opportunities. We will continue our hiring and training program as we prepare for the opening of MGM Cotai. This is such a great opportunity for Macau locals to be a part of a world class integrated resort company. We are very focused on creating opportunities for those who want to learn more. We offered almost 270,000 training hours for our staff in 2016 and continue to promote and transfer from within to build a more local management team with over 80 percent of our management being local already.
MDT – You stated previously that 40 percent of the current staff from MGM Macau will be transferred to MGM Cotai. What is the objective of this move?
GB – From the beginning, we are very clear that we will be operating two properties under “One company, One culture.” MGM Cotai provides us with a great opportunity to replicate our success at MGM Macau through our experienced staff. From a human resource perspective, our Cotai opening offers substantial staff developmental opportunities for both of our properties. Many of our staff will be able to take on newer or bigger challenges at either of our properties. Those (40 percent and more) transferred or promoted to work at our Cotai property will help inject our MGM DNA and help build a consistent service culture that focuses on great employee and customer experience. All in all, our commitment to developing local talent since our opening is further consolidated with the opening of Cotai as many of these critical positions will be helmed by our local staff.
MDT – Macau’s gaming revenue hit a two- year high in February and the VIP sector is rebounding. Do you see this upward trend continuing through the year?
GB – It is great to see growth in the Macau gaming market again. I believe on a year over year basis the new casinos that opened in 2016 will help to grow the market in 2017 and that we will continue to see some growth. Perhaps not at the same magnitude as February, but a market that is expanding on new and diverse offerings is exactly what we want to see as we prepare for the opening of MGM Cotai. We are also very focused on growing our mass business both in Macau and particularly at Cotai when we expand. PB