CASINO

Travellers: We need to gain back the public’s trust

TAGs: Kingson Sian, Philippines, Resorts World Manila, travellers international

Travellers International Hotel Group Inc., which operates Resorts World Manila (RWM), has vowed to regain the trust of the public while warning that the company’s earnings will drop this year.

Travellers: We need to gain back the public’s trust To win the hearts of the people, Travellers faces a daunting task of erasing the memory that a former patron left when he burned down the gaming facility of RWM, resulting in the deaths of 37 people, before he committed suicide.

Bloomberg reported that Travellers plans to complete a new gaming zone this year as it rebuilds its tarnished brand.

“We’re spending a lot of time enhancing the overall security of the place and learning about what had happened,” Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. chief executive officer, Kingson Sian said, according to the news report. “We obviously have to gain back the trust of our guests and the public.”

The makeover, however, will come with a hefty price as Travellers conceded that they will see earnings drop this year.

Sian estimated that the closure of RWM’s casino facility cost the company about 60 million pesos ($1.2 million) a day in lost gaming revenue. The number of customers going to the integrated resort, which has a shopping mall, cinemas and restaurants, dropped by 10,000 per day to 20,000.

Hotel occupancy plunged to 40 percent from 90 percent but is now at about 60 percent. When the casino reopened on June 29, traffic was half of that before the attack.

Travellers plans to offer patrons cheaper movie tickets, food discounts and free parking. The casino operator beefed up its security following last month’s tragedy by hiring an overseas group as consultant. It also plans to unveil an enhanced “containment style” defense system, Sian said.

Many analysts, however, believe that Travellers won’t be able to easily brush off the shadow that the incident cast. Kim Eng, an analyst from Maybank ATR, believe that the effects of the tragedy will be felt by the casino operator for the next two to three years.

“It’s one of the sad events in our history but, nevertheless, we believe in the long term potential of the industry,” Sian said. “We believe in the future of both tourism and gaming. We have a long view and we are committed to this.”

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