Caesars Entertainment is hoping to win over some incoming Chinese travelers to Las Vegas by accepting payments via WeChat Pay, a popular social media platform with mobile transaction capabilities.
Unlike Las Vegas Sands, MGM and Wynn Resorts, which all have a substantial presence in China’s gambling hub of Macau, Caesars is far less known in the Asian country. Allowing citizens to pay for food, concert tickets, and retail items in person with the mobile app is ideally a way to get more Chinese patrons inside the company’s resorts.
Customers scan merchant QR codes from their mobile devices to compete their purchases in US dollars, with WeChat charging a transaction fee. WeChat Pay is debuting at Caesars Palace, the LINQ Promenade, and Paris Las Vegas.
“We want to do this for our Chinese customers to make them feel at home,” Caesars Entertainment VP of International Marketing Bruce Bommarito told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We have been working hard on the Chinese market.”
Last September, Caesars began allowing Chinese tourists to book rooms through the WeChat social media platform. Nine Caesars properties in Las Vegas were included in that rollout.
WeChat claims to have over 900 million monthly active users, 90 percent of whom are Chinese. Caesars says it will expand its WeChat Pay capabilities to more locations by the end of 2017.
As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, Caesars is looking to grow its non-gaming revenue. One way of doing that is by looking to license its brand and accompanying rewards program to regional and national hotel chains.
Gaming currently accounts for 58 percent of Caesars’ bottom line. Sixteen percent comes from food and beverage, 11 percent from entertainment, and hotel income accounts for 15 percent.
Allowing Chinese visitors to book their rooms on WeChat, and pay in person for food and other items, adheres to the corporation’s strategic mission.
Caesars recently completed a $200 million makeover of 450 guestrooms at Harrah’s Atlantic City. The resort also added several new restaurants, and renovated its pool and nightclub.
The Chinese economy has been blossoming in 2017, and that’s putting more money in more people’s pockets.
Foreign travel is on the rise, and though Beijing to Las Vegas is a 12-and-a-half-hour flight, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) estimates that 206,753 trips to Sin City originated from China in 2015, the last reported year. That represents a 10 percent gain on 2014 numbers, the highest increase of the top eight countries visiting Las Vegas.
Only Canada, Mexico, the UK, Australia, Japan, Brazil, and Germany sent more people to Las Vegas.
Hainan Airlines began nonstop service three times a week from Beijing and Las Vegas last December. Due to demand, the Chinese carrier upgraded its plane from a Boeing 787-8 to 787-9, which adds almost 40 more seats per trip.