Wynn Talks Choice, Change and Truth to DMers

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ATLANTA -- Thank God Steve Wynn didn't have a prepared speech yesterday at DMA·05. The teleprompter would have robbed the Las Vegas showman of his way with words and turned it into another prepackaged soapbox presentation.

The backdrop to most of Wynn's talk was his casinos -- the Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and a new billion-dollar casino in China's Macau -- and the Impressionist art, luxury stores and Ferraris in them. He also discussed choice, change and truth. Here are some nuggets from the session:

· "We all have technology staring us in the face ... the ability to maintain agility in the face of change ... no one can tell what will happen physically, socially and economically 60 months from now. This was not the case in our parents' age."

· "I live in la-la land. I live in Glitter Gulch. Anything to do with living is worth overdoing." Wynn mentioned how he, his executive chef, a few executives from his company and a couple of Wynn chefs were heading last night to New York from Atlanta to collect two Esquire restaurant awards at the Museum of Modern Art.

· "You can't be Kmart and Neiman Marcus at the same time. That's schizophrenia."

· "You use broad-based media advertising to establish your image. When it comes to making a sale, we need a hand on our customer. We need that one-on-one exchange."

· "Internet reservations [at Wynn properties were] 5 percent previously. Now we're pushing 25 to 30 percent of our business on the Internet, and it's heading up."

· "My message is things haven't changed after all. Well, yes and no." He expected the audience to know the "yes" part. As for the " 'no' part, it cuts close to the bone. The truth -- it's got to be true. The public gets it sooner or later. People only expect one thing: Keep the promise you made."

· "You can get into a car anywhere in the United States, except Salt Lake City and Honolulu, and within 90 minutes you can get to a blackjack table." Las Vegas has 130,000 hotel rooms, and Wynn's hotels had a 97 percent occupancy rate last week, he said. "People are coming to Las Vegas because of choice: experience, eating, playing, entertaining, shows."

· Wynn noticed a problem with those fancy chef-named restaurants opening their nth outpost in Las Vegas. "The famous chef wasn't doing cooking. He was on a television show." All these restaurants have big-name chefs, "but that's not a promise. What's the truth? It's about who's cooking dinner. The world has become food-conscious."

· "Technology has made a big difference and has pushed us into your arms," Wynn told the assembled direct marketers.

· "Most of my attention every day is spent on human resources," he said. Wynn has 9,000 employees, which will rise to 15,000 with the Macau operations. He started with 300 employees when he sold the Golden Nugget casino to Kirk Kerkorian, billionaire owner of MGM.

Visit blog.dmnews.com for more updates from DMA·05

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