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Arnold M. Knightly

Fiesta brand sent to forefront in new promotional push

11 February 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- It took seven years, but Station Casinos thinks it has finally figured out how to best promote and operate its two Fiesta properties.

When the locals gambling giant first acquired the Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson in 2001, its first inclination was, as one executive said, to "Stationize" the properties.

But tactics have shifted.

"We've come to the conclusion that the best way to integrate it is to give it its own true identity, to reintroduce it to the customer the way it originally existed," Station Casinos Chief Operating Officer Kevin Kelley said recently.

This month, the Fiesta brand was relaunched as a neighborhood gambling joint with its own new slot club.

The Amigo slot club card, which was first introduced after the Fiestas were acquired by Station Casinos, has also been relaunched and the cards will be connected to Fiesta-only progressive Amigo Jackpot slots. The jackpots are between $15,000 and $25,000.

Before this relaunch, the Amigo card was tied to Boarding Pass club card and its Jumbo Jackpot at other Station Casinos properties.

Table-game minimums at the Fiesta properties have been lowered to 50 cents for roulette, $3 for blackjack and craps, and $5 for double-deck blackjack.

Fiesta Rancho General Manager Brian Skagen said this will be the first time the Fiesta brand has been promoted on its own since the purchase. Previously, the casinos were promoted as part of the Station Casinos family.

"It's given us the creativity and the ammunition to go out there and get the word back out," Skagen said.

Part of the ad campaign will involve reintroducing the Fiesta Rancho's tagline, which touted the property as the "Royal Flush Capital of the World," which was discontinued after the acquisitions.

Paulette Watson has played the slots at the Mexican-themed Fiesta Rancho nearly every day for four years because she believes the smaller North Las Vegas hotel-casino is quieter and has a friendlier staff than other casinos.

"I don't like Texas (Station)," she said, referring to the much larger gaming property across the street. "The simple reason is because they have the movie house and kids are running rampant. You generally don't see kids in here. You look around, it's nice older people having fun."

Station Casinos tried to impose its amenity-driven-entertainment business model onto the two properties. Although the business model works well at properties like Palace Station, Boulder Station and Sunset Station, the company realized it wasn't working at the Fiesta casinos.

"It took us a little bit of a while to learn that we needed to respect that (Fiesta) model and promote that model instead of trying to make a Stations model fit," Kelley said.

The Fiesta Rancho was acquired from George Maloof, the majority owner of the Palms, for $185 million in January 2001. The Fiesta Henderson, which was called The Reserve, was acquired for $70 million that same month from Ameristar Casinos.

Station Casinos is discussing the possibility of building its first Fiesta property in the future. The company wouldn't say where a new Fiesta might be built, although officials said that type of property would work on some of the smaller sites it has. The company owns or has contracts to buy nearly 340 acres of undeveloped land in Clark County and 202 acres in Reno.

Fiesta brand sent to forefront in new promotional push is republished from