Is Atlantic City on the Rise?
For a long time, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa has been the only game in town for the sharp set that frequent that enigmatic gaming town, Atlantic City. Located in the Marina section, it is off the beaten path, er, Boardwalk. The crowd it attracts is well-dressed and savvy; the resort has created cachet with few rivals, although a few have tried and failed. The Borgata stands tall and shiny — a prize just out of reach, like a stuffed animal in one of the Boardwalk’s famous claw games.
Nightlife is one of the Borgata’s main draws for the young-hot-and-now set. With two main nightclubs — mur.mur and MIXX — among myriad fashionable bars, the Borgata is ready to rule the eastern seaboard. MIXX has a city-inspired party vibe featuring world-class DJs in a bi-level lounge, while mur.mur is labeled as “sexy and sensual” and highlights a signature bottle service. I asked Greg Coyle, the Borgata’s director of nightlife, to tell us how the Borgata perceives its prestige:
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): What are your responsibilities at Borgata and how is that changing from year to year?
Greg Coyle (GC): For myself and my team, continuing to be creative and prioritize service are of the utmost importance. In bringing great parties and experiences, including the best DJs and entertainers in the world, along with the evolution of dance music through our “I Love House” series, we are constantly looking to out-do ourselves in all aspects of nightlife. In the next few weeks alone, we have Tiësto, Paul van Dyk, Bingo Players, Martin Solveig, Vice, Cedric Gervais, Steve Aoki, Rev. Run & Ruckus, Samantha Ronson, Jermaine Dupri, D.Nice and Roger Sanchez as well as some great concerts, like Florence and the Machine, Sting, Weezer, Counting Crows and Pitbull just to name a few. And this is all before summer!
Borgata's new "I Love House" series will feature Tiesto in late March 2012.
NCC: What’s new at the Borgata?
GC: We are in the process of completing a $50 million hotel redesign. Every room at the Borgata will be revamped, featuring a new color scheme, innovative artwork and state-of-the-art amenities that were not available nine years ago. They are really beautiful and truly a progressive departure from other hotels in the region. To put the reinvestment in perspective, there are two other Atlantic City casino properties that were purchased for under $40 million in the last two years. I feel that certainly demonstrates our level of commitment to guest satisfaction. With 2,800 rooms between the Borgata and The Water Club, we are proud to feature the best room inventory in the city coupled with our award-winning spas, restaurants, casino, entertainment and nightlife offerings for a complete destination resort. Keeping things fresh is an ongoing initiative here at the Borgata, with a few examples being our $1 million investment in the Borgata Poker Room (already the largest of its kind in the city) as well as the opening of Long Bar and Vintage last summer, both of which have been extremely well received. We are ready for the summer, fully charged, and I think if it is someone’s first time with us or maybe they haven’t been here since last summer, they will be happy with the things we have done to make their experience truly memorable.
NCC: A potential rival — Atlantic City’s the Revel — has been infused with money and life, replete with a Beyonce opening in late May. Is the increase in the market seen as a good thing for the Borgata?
GC: Absolutely! For quite some time, Atlantic City needed an infusion of capital, marketing dollars and combined effort by city leaders like Borgata to help move the city forward. As you know, Borgata was first to bring upscale and nationally recognized dining/chefs, nightlife and entertainment to Atlantic City. We hope Revel inspires more people to come to the city and only increases visitation and grows the market as a whole. If that is the case, Borgata, being the market leader, will also prosper. When we introduced DJ’s, artists and performers like Tiësto, David Guetta, Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon, No Doubt, Black Eyed Peas and Deadmau5 to this market, we truly began to put Atlantic City on the map as a nightlife and entertainment destination. Bringing more artists to the city is beneficial for everyone.
NCC: So the thought process is that everyone will go to the Borgata anyway?
GC: Yes, we have developed strong relationships over the last nine years with our customers and partners. We anticipate that with more people coming to the market, we certainly believe that to be the case due to the product and service we offer.
NCC: Do you think Revel will draw from Las Vegas tourism and not necessarily the Borgata, now that its ready to roll? Is being good for Atlantic City good for the Borgata?
GC: Prior to joining the market, we recognized and coined the phrase "Atlantic City rejecter" as those customers who were bypassing Atlantic City for Las Vegas. Atlantic City simply did not have the non-gaming amenities, like dining, entertainment and nightlife, that Las Vegas had evolved; therefore, Borgata brought first-class and nationally recognized attributes to the city, thus changing the entire dynamic of the region. You quickly saw millions of dollars invested by our competitors in an effort to add similar offerings to its customers. We will continue to see an evolution in a couple of weeks with the opening of Revel.
NCC: Does "new" have the edge over "proven"? Is your marketing strategy gearing up to attract new clients to your place after they stop at Revel, or are you more intent on preserving your base?
GC: We would definitely expect visitors to check it out, but we are confident in our product, service and location — especially given the number of rooms and outstanding offerings we have. I have no doubts the Borgata will remain the market leader in every way.
NCC: How will determinations of the affect be made? Will end-of-the-year net profit be the benchmark or will elements like crowd quality and media buzz also closely be monitored?
GC: We hope there is much media buzz, that's for sure. I don't feel you can measure something like this over a short timeframe as Atlantic City is constantly evolving. We hope to see an increase in visitation for both new and loyal customers returning to the city.
NCC: Revel is far down the Boardwalk and, like Borgata, not in the center of traditional Atlantic City. Is there now not just the Marina and the Boardwalk strip but an entirely new area to be developed around the hotel?
GC: The initiatives by the Atlantic City Alliance to market all that Atlantic City has to offer (beginning in late April) combined with citywide efforts, such as bringing concerts to Bader Field and the new capital investment by others like the Golden Nugget, are all encouraging signs for Atlantic City. I am optimistic — make that extremely confident — that a group of friends looking to get out of the city for a fun weekend or a couple looking for a romantic getaway will love coming to Atlantic City now more than ever.