The Mandalay Bay Hotel received attention it did not want when 64 year old Stephen Paddock sneaked in an arsenal of weapons to his room on the 32nd floor and then opened fire on 22,000 people who had gathered for the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival. The shooting which took place on October 1 was the worst shooting in U.S history and killed 59 people – Paddock included and resulted in over 500 being injured.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) have launched an investigation into the shooting and so has MGM Resorts International, the parent company of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. A week has passed since the mass shooting and the authorities are yet to establish a motive or release any information to give the public answers to their questions.
Mandalay Bay Reopens
Mandalay Bay has since reopened to the public and has replaced the windows for the room on the 32nd floor which Paddock stayed in. Visitors to the Mandalay Bay will find a visible increase in police officials, FBI and hotel security and the same can be said for all the other casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Wynn Resorts has already started subjecting its guests to metal detectors as casinos have been forced to step up their security procedures and internal controls.
While Mandalay Bay tries to get back to normal, there will be no doubt that the property will struggle atleast initially to attract visitors and sell out hotel rooms after the mass shooting. An incident of this magnitude which received global coverage, is hard to forget and visitors will most likely prefer to stay anywhere than the Mandalay Bay.
Mandalay Bay Rebranding Not Required
However hospitality experts believe that the shooting will not have a major negative impact on the Mandalay Bay brand. This is a key property for MGM Resorts International as it generates the third highest revenue for the company. Brenda Fields, the founder of Fields & Co. in Millerton, New York said that hotels tend to have their share of murders, suicides and other tragedies but things move on.
Fields admitted that while this massacre made global headlines, people will not blame the Mandalay brand but rather the crazy gunman who targeted innocent people. She went on to say that she believed that people will associate the massacre more with the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival than with the Mandalay Bay brand.
Professor A.J. Singh of Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business took a similar stance as Fields stating that while there could be a drop in bookings for the 3,200 room Mandalay Bay, people will start coming back as they did not blame the resort for the shootings.
Other Brands Have Survived
Singh also referenced a couple of other casino and hotel incidents to prove his point. He pointed out that the iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai, India was also the scene of a major terrorist attack in 2008 but people did not accuse the hotel or blame the brand for what happened. The Taj Mahal did not proceed with a brand makeover and continues to remain open for business today and do well.
Singh also referenced the fact that MGM Grand experienced a major fire in 1980 which resulted in the deaths of 80 people and saw over 700 people get injured. MGM sold the property to Caesars Entertainment which renamed the hotel to Bally’s but MGM Resorts would go on to open another property with the ‘MGM Grand’ brand in 1993. The MGM Grand has done extremely well for the company over the last two decades and generates more income for the company than Mandalay Bay.
The same can be said of Resorts World Manila in the Philippines which experienced a horrific attack in June 2017 when a former casino employee shot up the place and torched gaming tables which resulted in the deaths of 29 people. Resorts World Manila was closed for a short period of time but reopened with the same brand name and has continued to attract visitors since then.
Mandalay Bay brought in nearly $106 million during the first half of 2017 in operating income and it will be interesting to see how much income it generates in the second half of this year.