Caesars Entertainment’s Bob Morse

Caesars Entertainment’s Bob Morse

 MARILYN MCHUGHI recently had the pleasure of speaking with Bob Morse, a 35-year lodging and gaming industry veteran and president of hospitality for Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas. Bob is responsible for development, implementation and execution of Caesars’ integrated strategy for the Las Vegas hospitality corridor, including its recently rebranded LINQ Hotel and network of resorts. He oversees all initiatives related to food and beverage programs, nightclubs and nightlife, hotels and pools and spas. Prior to joining Caesars Entertainment in 2014, Bob served as senior vice president and COO of The Americas region of InterContinental Hotels Group and, before then, was managing principal and COO of Noble Investment Group. He’s touched every corner of the industry and shares his professional insights this month.

 

HM: What regions are you excited about in terms of hotel development and why?

Morse: Our industry is much different than the pure hospitality business because there are only so many places where we can enter into new markets due to gaming regulation. For our established markets, Las Vegas, of course, continues to be an incredibly vibrant place to do business. We are excited by the trends we have been seeing here that appeal to guests beyond just the classic gaming visitor. It’s my job to capitalize upon those trends and create dynamic guest experiences that appeal to this new type of visitor. In the last year, we’ve opened two new resort experiences with the boutique hotel The Cromwell and, most recently, The LINQ Hotel. We also keep a very close eye on what opportunities may arise for us to enter into new jurisdictions either here in the U.S. and, even more so, internationally. We are in the process of developing an integrated resort just outside of Seoul in Incheon, Korea. We have fabulous plans for that property and are keeping an eye on additional market opportunities that may arise in that area of the world.

HM: Caesars is hoping to attract millennial travelers using social interaction with its recently rebranded LINQ Hotel. Tell us more about this strategy and what industry trends are having a big impact on your hotel operations these days?

Morse: If you look at our visitor demographics, the Las Vegas visitor is getting younger. The new generation of visitor is spending more on hospitality, including hotel rooms, restaurants, nightlife, pools, golf, spas and shows. They want us to deliver the full destination resort experience. It’s my job to develop offers attractive to the millennial traveler that everyone can enjoy. We want to reach across demographics, but create those experiences that particularly resonate with the under-40 crowd. We are also mindful of the way in which the world is becoming more digitally dependent. We are conducting lots of pilots and tests that will allow our guests to use their smartphones to utilize on-site services and engage and interact with our brands via social media.

HM: How often do you travel in a given month?

Morse: In 2013, I clocked a lot of travel hours: four flights a week, 42 weeks a year. I logged 265,000 miles. Now, I probably average about one trip per month. My focus, right now, is concentrated on Las Vegas, so I’ve been able to get a bit of a break from the road.

HM: If you could have any job at any Caesars property, what would it be?

Morse: You can’t be more excited about the job you have, and I’m fortunate to say I have the best job at Caesars. I have the opportunity to bring my 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry to one of the most iconic brands in gaming. We’re looking at what the future of gaming looks like, and I get to sit in the middle and develop our strategy to move forward.

HM: If you could offer hoteliers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Morse: Be consistent. Know your position in the market and know your customer, then develop an offer that appeals to that segment. Give your investors an honest return on their investment but ensure you’re delivering a quality product that builds guest loyalty. Strike a healthy balance between those two objectives and never allow one to outweigh the other.

HM: What is your advice for students considering the hospitality industry?

Morse: The industry has evolved since I left hotel school. It is far more focused on the business side, driving ROI and securing market position. There’s no longer an “if you build it, they will come” type of mentality. Students should consider what they want to do and where they want to go, both personally and professionally. There is a far greater variety of business models in hospitality today. Students should take a holistic view of the business and select a company that matches with their individual goals: where they want to live, the customer they want to serve, how they want to grow their career. There is room for an array of different career paths in hospitality and the industry is growing.

HM: What makes an industry event good?

Morse: Relevance. A good industry event is relevant and covers timely topics with speakers that provide insight as true subject matter experts. You want a strong speaker lineup and some time to network with your peers. You want to walk away from an event with your fingers on the pulse of what’s going on across the industry, particularly in areas that are outside of your direct purview. A great industry event takes a global approach and focuses on the rest of your world, not just what’s in your backyard. You want to know about what’s happening in emerging markets, how you can court international guests and differentiate your business from your competitors. 

IHF CALENDAR

International Hotel Investment Forum

(IHIF Berlin)

March 2-4, 2015

Berlin, Germany

berlinconference.com

In association with Bench Events

Asia Pacific Hotel Investment Conference (APHIC)

May 12-13, 2015

Bangkok, Thailand

Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference (RHIC)

2015 date to be announced russia-cisconference.com

In association with Bench Events

North America Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (NATHIC)

2015 date to be announced

Chicago

NATHIC.com

For more information on the IHIF Summit Series of events, visit ihif.com.

MEET THE IHF TEAM

MARILYN MCHUGH

VP, global events

Questex Hospitality + Travel Group

[email protected]

TESS PEARSON

Event director

Questex Hospitality + Travel Group

[email protected]

BEN ISENBERG

Event director-Asia

Questex Hospitality + Travel Group

[email protected]

NICK DILIGENTE

Business development manager

Questex Hospitality + Travel Group

[email protected]

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