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Wynn Gets Back In The Customer Service Game

By Chuckmonster on Tuesday, 28th January 2014 12:16pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 16


On April 28th, 2014, Wynn Las Vegas will celebrate its 9th birthday. It is impossible to calculate the importance of Wynn Las Vegas had to the DNA of the greater VT community in those days. Everything Wynn was a near obsession, and for good reason. Steve Wynn, architect DeRuyter Butler, designer Roger Thomas and the rest of Wynn top brass created a resort that was sexy, playful, elegant and breathtaking. No other casino opening before or since had the level of expectation and hype that the opening of Wynn Las Vegas did.

For Wynn, the former enfant terrible turned brash executive that nearly lost it all in a sea of hubris, everything was riding on the launch of Wynn Las Vegas. Including his name.

Employees, whom Steve Wynn calls the life blood of his properties, were perfectly trained, executing brilliantly from the moment the doors opened. For a while it seemed that Wynn could do no wrong - stirring the pot, garnering headlines, expanding to Macau and continually spinning yarns of brilliance without breaking a sweat.

Then, in 2008, the real estate market sent the economy tumbling in to the worst recession ever. Five months later, Encore opened... flooding thousands of stunningly luxurious hotel rooms into a market that had imploded overnight.

Despite vowing not to reduce staff service levels began to crack at the corners possibly due to depressed societal morale. As proven by Wynn's decision to shutter a nightclub at Wynn Macau within months of opening due to "unsavory types" hanging out there, Wynn is no lover of the night club game. However his love of cold hard cash and the ego stroking joy that only vanquishing an opponent can bring refocused Wynn's energy to build a life boat - the Encore Beach Club. Paired with XS, Encore Beach Club grabbed the nightclub bull by the horns and wrestled the lions share of rewards away from his competitors. With low risk and high margins, the nightclub boom was exactly what Wynn needed to ride out the storm and perhaps put a little spring in his step.

There was fallout. Some business owners might call them 'good problems to have' - crowds outside of XS made the Encore Esplanade nearly impossible to traverse. Similar experiences befell Encore Beach Club, with crushing demand for Surrender turning Encore's casino into Disneyland ride queue, richly designed and surrounded by casino games none of the club goers had any interest in playing.

While crowds and the synergistic dynamic of humanity are great for dance floors, sporting events and mosh pits, it is the antithesis of luxury experience. Traditional Wynn customers began to feel alienated by the density and intensity of Encore and retreated back to Wynn or Bellagio. Service level throughout the property slowly and quietly began to erode as revenue increase and cost savings became paramount under bean counting regime of new property President Marilyn Winn Spiegel.

And so it went... a slow steady deterioration in the one thing that meant everything at Wynn - customer service.

Recently VT superfriend DonnyMac66 stayed at Encore. After his stay, he received a post-stay email survey and dutifully filled it out, praising when earned and mentioning lapses when warranted.

I have filled out many post-stay surveys and never received a response. I mentioned the lack of cocktail service and actually got the response below.
From: Encore
Sent: Friday, January 24, 2014 5:17 PM
To: Don McDonald
Reply To: Keola Kahuanui
Subject: Encore

Dear Mr. McDonald

Thank you for taking the time to participate in our online survey. We apologize for the lapse in service on the part of our cocktail servers during your recent stay. Please be assured that your comments have been shared with our management team and will be reviewed with the highest regard. We appreciate your patronage and look forward to welcoming you back to Encore in the future!

Best Regards,

The Guest Relations Team
Wynn | Encore

A simple note, acknowledging Donny's time and opinions. Extending the Wynn customer experience long beyond their visit. Sometimes this is all it takes to change a guests opinion. When this degree of personal attention is done before, after and during a stay, it turns guests into regulars, regulars into fans, fans into devotees.

Please, Steve... more of this.

Tagged: wynn   encore   steve wynn   service   


Comments & Discussion:

Good to hear. Last time I was in Vegas I not only didn't stay at Wynn/Encore, I didn't even set foot in the property. That is a first for me.

I hope the other Wynns opening around the country are more like the 2006 Wynncore and less like the 2012 Wynncore.

Well written post. I loved the Wynn and then Encore initially. Then I noticed heavy discounting and a change of service and clientele. That took me to Mandarin Oriental (excellent) and even the Aria corner suite (Very good now that the kinks are worked out). Wynn has some work to get the mojo back for me.

I had a similar survey experience in Sept. '12. I booked a golf tee time through the concierge immediately after booking my room. When I showed up at Wynn's clubhouse, I was bumped without prior notice. I kept cool and the clubhouse staff jumped through hoops to get me on the first tee within the hour. I got the same survey after returning home and expressed my anger and disappointment. I got a reply from a human within a day similar to DonnyMac's. That small gesture went a long way. Encore is still my favorite resort.

I had the same survey. I stayed because of an offer that I received--3 nights for the price of 2 and $200 free play. BOTH of these were redeemed, but only after speaking to multiple employees and mysterious people on the phone. This coming after getting stuck on one of their elevators for 2 hours one evening. I don't think I'll ever return, even if they did respond to my survey with a minor apology.

I'm glad to see that Wynn is making a point to keep their customer service alive. As for me, I won't play there anymore, it's just "too tough" a place and your money doesn't last. It's nice that they acknowledge a customer's dissatisfaction but if things aren't improved on the next trip (if there is a next trip), what good is complaining?

Agree with mnvegasguy. Big-time Wynn fan from the beginning (Red Card number in the very low four digits, and investor from back in the "pre-development" days of 2002), but drifted away post-EBC. Wynncore is still gorgeous, but after great stays at Aria and Encore, I now view Wynn as simply one of many viable hotel options I will consider when I book a trip, rather than the only option.

Actually thinking of staying at the Wynn for the first time in May - (I was surprised to find rates of ~$200/night for panoramic view rooms, but maybe that's more of an indication of how bad it's gotten...) Is it worthwhile staying at least one time or should I just push my travelling party to try Aria?

Really insightful and well described analysis by Chuck.
I am likewise a charter member of the Wynn fan club. I have stayed several times at Aria SS and Bellagio Penthouses and Cypresses with their attendant attentions to guest needs.
I do still prefer Wynn TS, especially during summer and have noticed an uptick in service levels the last 2 or 3 visits. Maybe it's purely anecdotal but maybe M W-S's changes have been revised?
If they turn Alex into a club I'm totally gone though.

I think that this is a pathetic attempt at them pretending to give a shit. I have stayed in the wynn fairway villas(multiple fuckin times), regular room, encore room,and salon suite in the past and this just seems like a pathetic attempt. I called a wynn las vegas guest relations recently with a problem of an employee being very rude on the phone while i was trying to book a room and they said "im sorry to hear that, we will alert the reservations department". i told them that i have stayed in the villas and every other suite the motherfuckers offer. They could not care less and i called 3 times feeling that my complaint was legit enough to take care of. *** "the sound of silence"- Simon and motherfucking Garfunkel *** i felt like i called casino royale with the shitty treatment i was involved in. This was in the last month...they suck and it makes me cry thinking about how awesome they used to be. I wish that Wynn was back on track... but with my recent problems it seems like they are still not giving a shit about anyone. God Bless America...and canada? (i dont know how to end this shitty post)

^ Anybody who stays in the Villas should complain directly to their host no?

^ dont have a host because i paid for the fairway villa full price multiple times(i cant afford to gamble my way into a fairway villa for "free")

Yeah, it seems like just a lame form letter to me, with sentence #2 ("We apologize for the ...) being personalized to the specific complaint. A Wynn marketing asst. spent all of 30 seconds firing this off.

What the email SHOULD have said is this: "Please let us buy the first drinks for you and a guest on your next visit at our popular ___ bar. Here's a credit/voucher/whatever."

Agree with socalduck (Wynncore now being "an" option rather than "the" option) and Malibugolfer (charter Wynncore fan, recently spoiled by Aria SS). Also would tend to agree that the management change must have had an effect -- whether MWS was indeed removed due to complaints, or had simply accomplished what was always intended to be a short-term mission of cost control.

Perhaps in the same way that Wynn's management realized the downside of testing lower room rates, they also discovered the opportunity cost of service cuts. Possibly they were overly focused on their other ventures and sort of dropped the ball on Vegas, and now have refocused. Or so we can hope….

(BTW no complaint here about the lower rates. Oversupply has affected all the operators, and it's how I was able to enjoy Wynncore exclusivity for six years...)

Can't complain about the lower rates--who would? That's how I will be making my first stay at Encore next month.

"...it's how I was able to enjoy Wynncore exclusivity for six years."

That came out wrong: I did not mean raised pinkie, nose in the air exclusivity. I meant that we stayed nowhere else but Wynn|Encore for the first six years the properties were open. No monocle required! ;)

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