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Making Sense Of WynnLasVegas.com

By Chuckmonster on Thursday, 9th February 2012 2:47pm
  » filed under Wynn Resorts  comments: 58

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Wynn website

By now you've probably heard that Wynn Las Vegas has launched a new website.

The reaction on The Board has been overwhelmingly negative. Rightly so.

Remember this?

Wynn website

The issues are numerous. Where do I start? Foolish CSS, inelegant design, no "casino" section, silly Steve on a green screen videos, klunky layout are all great reasons to smear the hate on thick. For me, the most egregious travesty is the decimation of Wynn's brand identity. I'm tempted to think that this website was designed by someone with zero internet savvy or skills thereto. I'm also compelled to think that the very same person might also be visually impaired. I'm also willing to bet the farm that it was designed personally by Steve Wynn.

It is no secret that Steve Wynn's eyesight is deteriorating, thus is the plight of those who live with the degenerative eye disorder Retinitis Pigmentosa. This wouldn't be a problem for the most CEO's as they would happily delegate the chores of branding and signage to their operations and marketing teams. This is what they get paid for. Steve Wynn, isn't most CEO's. He, like dearly departed Apple farmer Steve Jobs, demands approval on any and all branding initiatives. Sure. It is HIS company after all. But...

You have probably noticed how placard signage at Wynn went from creme on brown at opening to white on red when Encore opened and has since devolved to the highest contrast there is - white on black. In each successive iteration, the text has reduced and the fonts get bigger. Perhaps the best examples of this are the Garth Brooks posters which simply say "Garth" and "Wynn" in white on a black background. No details, no filigree, no fine print.

Perhaps the biggest piece of information to be gleaned from the new Wynn website is that Steve's megalomaniacal tendencies are going wholly unchecked. In the wake of Steve's split from the steadying hand of Elaine Wynn, the company splintered like a structurally compromised molar filled to the brim with abscess. The upheaval sparked a mass exodus of major players who created the Wynn dynasty, leaving new recruit Marilyn Winn Spiegel with the responsibility of quelling the pandemonium.

In one of her first acts, Ms. Spiegel charged former Caesars crony Michael Weaver to head their marketing, PR and advertising departments. Shortly thereafter, Wynn's "E Strategies" department was virtually eliminated, months after they launched a post-Flash version of their website. Their outstanding social media efforts, once an industry example of "how it should be done" have been floundering ever since. It was apparent then that all the talented people left in the post-Elaine Exodus. Now, we have the evidence.

What you see before you on WynnLasVegas.com is not only a representation of Steve Wynn's declining eyesight, but the sheer lack of vision (and courage) by the team he has hired to execute orders. We all knew at the outset that Marilyn Winn Spiegel has zero taste, she came from working at Bally's for god sakes. In her defense, she is purportedly an excellent organizer and certainly knows how to squeeze juice from a dried lemon. What she didn't do is guide Steve - in tandem with Weaver - to the conclusion that it is best to let an expert design the website, perhaps with input from Roger Thomas.

Steve Wynn trusts Roger Thomas to turn every drywalled cube into a lustful space filled with fantasy and wonder. Where is Steve Wynn's "Rog Thom" of the internet?

Yes, Mr. Wynn. Anything you say Mr. Wynn. Even if it isn't in the best interests of the company Mr. Wynn. As long as I get to keep this kushy job long enough to bronze my resume Mr. Wynn. And not be on the receiving end of one of your tirades Mr. Wynn.

The failure of the new WynnLasVegas.com isn't the markup, it is in the boardroom.

Wynn Pants



Tagged: wynn   internets   marilyn winn spiegel   steve wynn   



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Comments & Discussion:

Here here. This is the piece I wanted to write last night. Good work.

Masterpiece! Required reading for everyone at WYNN. Will no one tell the emperor he has no clothes?

The site is down.

Server Error
500 - Internal server error.
There is a problem with the resource you are looking for, and it cannot be displayed

NO SHIT!

Excellent observation Chuck!

Bravo Chuck.

500 - Internal server error.
There is a problem with the resource you are looking for, and it cannot be displayed.

Are you serious?

Maybe this is a play taken from Major League and he's just trying to get the team moved to Macau.

Well put, I don't regularly go to the Wynn site, but the forum post peaked my interest, the more I explored, the worse I felt it was.

You're absolutely right. I had lunch w/ a friend who works at Wynn & he confirmed your main points. After the mass exodus of staff, Wynn has been left without any sort of a checks-and-balances system in place.

Where was this article when the Bellagio first redesigned their website?

http://web.archive.org/web/20080229060844/http://www.bellagio.com/

Perceptive and accurate. Rails. Off.

Not a Wynn guest ever, but still the guy's a Vegas icon so it's sad to see his ego + failing eyesight lead to this embarrassment.

Brand identity? Hell, the whole tone of it reminds me of the cheesy Perillo Tours of Italy commercials they used to run on TV all the time.

And jeez, the "Make Your Selection on the Left" prompt -- was this website focus-grouped with a bunch of seniors who have never used the internet?

Hi, I'm Steve Wynn and I'm assuming you are a fricking idiot, so allow me to show you how to use a website. Add to that Steve looks like a talking wax figure.

I really do not have a word to describe that website Chuck. I really didn't think they could create something worse than the previous one, but they did.

Memo to Steve. Your website is your billboard. It needs to deliver the same experience you are attempting to at your resort. You couldn't have missed any worse.

This is part of why I've written the Wynn off and switched to Mandarin. Wynn has lost their way sadly and I'm fine staying at Mandarin and doing my gaming elsewhere.

Somewhere in the distance I think I hear the sound of MikeE crying

Speaking of the E Strategies Dept, where's Jen Dunne when you need her? It's pretty unbelievable where they seem to be taking the brand they worked so hard to build.

We're all slowly learning just how much influence Elaine Wynn had, and how much Marilyn Spiegel has..... both facts leave me sad. Marilyn's background at Bally's/Paris clearly does not leave her a capable body to run a resort like Wynn/Encore. On my last trip there (press Marilyn) service was beyond excellent throughout the resort - I have yet to return to the redone Wynn under the command of Ms. Spiegel. While I would happily return I'd be apprehensive.

As someone who works in Advertising we often tell our clients that their website is the gateway to the experience they want their clients to have. What does this gateway say about the Wynn experience?? To say I'm beyond disappointed is an understatement. The Borgata in Atlantic City has a better website (and that's saying something!)

Beyond all of this - what does this say for the Vegas experience? With the best hotels being (arguably) at Mandarin Oriental is the casino/hotel experience on the downturn? Wynn bragged that most of their revenue this past quarter (about 60%) came from the casino, while the Vegas average is less than 50% from the casino) Being forced to consistently focus on the casino is a token of CET/HET - (Spiegel again).

Overall I'm at a loss for words.

$WYNN stock drop much?

@Wrinklebottom

That's not the sound of MikeE crying, that's the sound of him converting his play over to MLife.

When is he going to take his name off the building?

My God, he paid someone to come up with this?

Looks like a site you'd find on AOL or Prodigy.

WynnLasVegas.com is the Jitterbug of casino websites.

Steve Wynn's ageing visitors (not the Encore Beach Club people, but the ones with real money to spend) probably don't have very good eyesight as well. He's designed something that they can also see.

They also have plenty of time to enjoy his 10 minute videos. 15 year olds on YouTube tune out after 43 seconds. Wynn Las Vegas customers with money want the pleasure of the "look around the place". Just as if Wynn invited them over for dinner and showed them around.

Like Wynn Las Vegas has to worry about SEO? Or how tight his CSS is? Are you kidding me?

Honestly, you all sound like a people who are pissed off he didn't hire you for the job. Whether the new site will be a little better or worse to his bottom line, that is negligable.

Look, I'm not a Wynn "fanboy". They don't advertise with us. Never have. No special considerations. But.. Wynn is someone who one can dislike (his politics, policies, whatever) but at the end of the day... and at the end, whatever he does keps working.

Let me know when that changes.

@AccessVegas:

Steve Wynn is obviously willing to maximize profits from divergent market segments -- club kids willing to max plastic for bottles and brand-name djs, big spenders who expect immaculate service and a quiet ride from the airport in a British car, the people in between who are willing to drop a grand on a special night out to see Garth. And he wraps it in a package that undeniably transports his customers to other worlds for moments or days.

He is also willing to make adjustments where needed. We scratched our heads at the closing of Alex. But, let's face it, maybe that space is better utilized for receptions than for $600 per plate dining. Yeah, we can buy that. What about moving the lines for the nightclubs off of the casino floor into a more appropriate space? Or changing the way dealers are compensated? Or refusing to drop room rates below a certain price point on principle? We get it.

Again and again, Wynn has proven adept at making small changes to maximize profits. He's built an empire on small changes, quality, image and possibilities.

That's why things like websites matter. That's why SEO matters. That's why slick, pretty and informative matter.

Every interaction with that website is an opportunity to unlock the imagination of a potential customer or excite the senses of one who yearns to return. Every interaction with the website, the Twitter feed, the facebook page is an opportunity for Steve Wynn's company to start a conversation that ends in someone coming to his resort to spend some time and some money.

What's confusing about this web design is the seeming lack of recognition and acknowledgement of those points.

What strikes me about the whole thing is that Wynn is a CEO who usually wants the best of everything. I recall a conversation with Roger Thomas about how they designed the janitorial carts you see on the floor of Wynncore. At the time, I couldn't believe that Wynn and Thomas were that detail-oriented, and it impressed me as something that set them apart from the rest of the pack. I can't imagine Gary Loveman or even most of the property presidents I know taking time to consider the aesthetic impact of a janitor's cart.

The Internet is more than just a digital brochure--its a commercial platform. Is there a cost to moving the "book now" button off of the main page? I'd guess that there is. There's a reason that it's easy to find slot machines in every casino, because people are only going to try so hard to give you their money.

So it's puzzling to me that the company has rolled out a website that is, by both objective and subjective measures, less effective than the one they had. C makes some good conjectures here, and I agree that it provides a window into how the broader approach at the properties has shifted.

Wow, Ted - there's just so much wrong with your comment.

First off, to fall back on the idea that people that criticize this are 'jealous' or that since Wynn Resorts has been successful, whatever they do is then automatically a good idea is ridiculous. Very very weak argument there. Let's not question anyone, ever that has had success. Good plan.

If you look at the site they put up and think it's a good effort and that it positions them well to serve their customers, then you just don't get it. The Web site they've created is totally inconsistent with the branding, messaging and general vibe they have been cultivating since the doors opened in 2005.

Wynn *loves* the fact that people consider him a design master - an artist. This undercuts that perception, I would argue significantly.

This is a classic case of a guy that doesn't understand a new medium, blazing a new trail but instead of finding the pot of gold, he runs off a cliff.

What's more likely - that this is the result of careful research, planning and a superior understanding of their customers or that Steve Wynn just said 'bigger... no, bigger. and some videos. people like videos - crank that shit up!'

Yeah. Not the first one.

No one there was brave enough to make him understand that he didn't understand.

Aging visitors with time to browse around and watch the videos?

What's he selling, Century Village?

After years of complaining about the flash site (remember wynncore.com) they change to something different, and yet everyone still complains.

That being said, I think the idea they were going for with was good. (High resolution pictures and an explaination of the amenities), but the execution was poor. It does look like a website from 20 years ago.

The Flash site did garner a lot of complaints... but the HTML version of that site went live less than a year ago and was vastly superior to both the Flash version and the current update.

I think they could do incredible things with the photos they have... but this is not it. They have the raw materials but they're putting them together wrong.

What am I supposed to make of the fact that the casino is entirely absent from the website? Wynn doesn't like his casino? He considers it a grubby necessity - something you have to have, but not something to showcase or spotlight? What if I'm a player thinking of trying out Wynn and I want to set up a credit line?

You can't just write this off as stupidity. It's deliberate. It's a mindset that is determined to ignore the central role the casino plays in a) getting people here, and b) creating the excitement and energy level at the center of the resort that feeds everything else.

Wynn is tired and annoyed with his casino, because there's nothing further he can do with it to make it more beautiful and interesting. He can't put up a pardon-our-dust sign to replace a slot bank with something better. To him, a blackjack table at Wynn is the same as a blackjack table anywhere else, so why highlight it?

This had to have come up in the website design meeting. Particularly the problem of not giving people a link to a credit application. I'm guessing the Steve's veto went something along the lines of "People know there's a casino here. That's a given. We waste their time talking to them about it when we should be pushing our real strengths: clubbing and haute couture."

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

The old web site sucked- it dripped with arrogance (did you really want to hear Steve Wynn's voice talk to you about the restaurant scheme?). Remember that after Wynn overextended himself building the beautiful high class Beau Rivage for a Redneck Riviera this business genius lost it all- and got bought out cheap by a sly octogenarian. He rose from the ashes to build his current resort- with lots of Mr. Okada's money (who is no longer a happy partner). While suffering from RP with vision so poor that he stuck his elbow thru a multi-million dollar painting he declares himself a master of design. COME ON- acknowledge the guy makes mistakes!
The original nightclub at Wynn failed. Many of the hand selected chefs he brought in for restaurants upon first opening have departed. While he can still attract the international super wealthy many of the American rich have been turned off by the emphasis on the Club crowd and have shifted to a more sophisticated hotel experience. Many gamblers now don't find the Wynn to be a fun place to play and the Encore casino is absolutely dead.
Whether he is missing input from Elaine, is lost without capable lieutenants, or is just an over-sized ego run amok the fact is that Wynncore is no longer all that special. one can find better value for the dollar spent and several places in town- and have a much more pleasant web experience exploring and reserving those places.

This whole subject has got my head spinning. I don't go to many casino sites, to be honest, but I thought I should check out the Wynn site before I say anything. As a middle-age, dumb Okie; the site looks pretty damned cool to me. I actually clicked on most of the pages on the Encore side, and found it to be quite informative, entertaining and thought the visuals were nice.
I went to the Aria site, as a small comparison, and thought it was the same old, small pictures and too much info on the splash page, typical site. I didn't like it and looked around for just a couple clicks before I exited. I liked the Wynn site much better. I don't know what other casino sites look better than the Wynn site, the few I've been to aren't. Will you guys please point me to the sites that are better than the Wynn site?
I am more bothered by the supposition that things at the Wynn are worse since Steve and Elaine Wynn were divorced, and employees have fled in order to avoid the Wrath of Steve. My opinion is that the people who went to work for Wynn were some degree of opportunists or risk takers, else they wouldn't have left the more secure jobs they had to join the Wynn start-up. Those people are, by nature, more nomadic and tend to move on easily, based on perceived offense or opportunity IMO. I think they are more inclined to move on after a few years, regardless of the circumstances. The maturing of the efforts of Wynn in Las Vegas seem like the right time for employees and management to decide that change is in order. I just get the feeling from reading this post that Chuck feels like Steve is as mercurial as a third world dictator, Elaine is a saint, and Marilyn is a spineless middle manager who lucked into a job she is completely unqualified for.
Please set me right here. Thank you.

Jeff,

Design is subjective so, even though I think this one is terrible, let's table that. Let's talk features.

What if you want to see a restaurant menu? What if you want to know what the entrees cost? What if you want to reserve a table at the club? What if you want to see a property map? What if you want a casino credit application? What if you're wondering how to reach the hotel on Facebook or Twitter?

All of those questions, and a lot more, were easily answered on the old Web site. No longer... Not to mention that on average, there's at least a few extra clicks to get to any of the detail sub-pages on this new site.

Hell, if I'm even looking at a restaurant page, how the hell do I even call them? There's no fucking phone number listed? In an age of convenience, it's five steps backwards when they should be moving *forward* and instead be setting trends in their industry on the Web like they do on the casino floor.

Even if you love this design, it does less. It has eliminated conveniences and replaced them with some pretty banal copy, in PowerPoint-esque bullet style no less.

As far as employees leaving, we don't have to speculate - we know for a fact that they have - and in some cases, we know these people directly. The reasons are varied but let's be honest, Wynn Resorts is not even close to a startup and hasn't been since Wynn Macau opened and started printing money. The employees I talked to didn't leave because they were bored, they left because conditions at the top changed and, since they are smart and can work anywhere, they moved on from a job that was no longer fun. The massive exodus of young, often extremely well educated talent (i.e. these people could be working literally anywhere) seemed like a red flag when it happened - and now we're seeing the result.

To me, Steve Wynn is looking more and more like Wayne Newton.

Hunter took the right approach, setting aside the subjective design aspects and focusing on what the site does. The videography is quite beautiful, but the site doesn't do much that I want any hotel, casino, restaurant or, for that matter, any retail site, to do. I want to look at specifics, meaning offerings, prices, menus, contact information, etc in an easy to navigate way. It is mind boggling that the casino which generates what, 40% of the revenue, is totally missing from the site. It makes no sense.

Now, to be small and petty, there is something wrong with Steve Wynn's introduction to the video. Is it photoshopped? The proportions of Steve's head and body don't match previous photos and videos I've seen of him. Very strange.

The only mention of the casino is the Red Card..I just spent about 30 minutes on the new site, and am glad I printed out menus for Sinatra and SW from the old site..cause you can't do that here..

The room reservation portion of it is ok..and the pics of the rooms are done with detail in mind..But this looks more and more like a website for somebody who never used the internet before..its clunky..why the big huge buttons? Are people who purchase the no frills phone featured in "Parade" Magazine going to stay at Wynn?

The only phone numbers listed are on the reservation page..that's it..are the club kids, who Wynn now covets with a vengence, going to look at this website and laugh? I don't get it..I just don't..why?

Hunter's definitely correct.

Umm, has anyone tried this using an iPhone? Aside from viewing the home page, none of the other links works. I even rebooted the phone to see if it was specific to my phone, but it still won't work. If others are having this issue, I would say this is a major fail.

Wow, I joined this lovefest a bit late. Just logged in to check it out myself.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

I think this is the best thread I've seen in quite a while. Very thought provoking for me.

I am sincere when I ask what casino has a better site? Any why you think so?

I wonder if some of this controversy isn't age related? I'm 53, this site looks great to me and some of things that Hunter mentions that are missing don't seem important to me, and I'm not sure why. Because the more I think about them, the more useful they seem! I seem to be changing my mind while I have thought about this the last few hours. Damn

A friend who was part of the media team for the opening of Bellagio and worked media for Wynn looked at the site and she's sure he insisted he be able to see the buttons.

Generally, I find most casino-hotel sites to be less sophisticated than I'd hope. When compared to sites from Internet startups, social media sites, news media and some of the more coherent Fortune 500, most hotel sites are not all that great - unfortunately, they're more similar to restaurant sites, which are generally terrible.

The CET Web sites all follow the same templates: sometimes inscrutible left side navigation but always including phone numbers, restaurant menus and a pretty versatile booking engine.

MGM has done something similar, though the designs vary a bit more. I am still annoyed when MGM and Mirage properties make me click *twice* to get a rate, for no reason whatsoever. Still, they also include menus, lots of phone numbers and in some cases, interactive property maps.

Overall, one of my favorite recent Web projects is the Boston Globe. Using what's called 'responsive design', the site senses the screen size of the device you are on and presents one, two or three columns. If you're on a desktop, launch the site in a big window and resize it down to a single column and you'll see what I mean. A smart way to handle the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, along with laptops and desktops.

Ideally these Web sites should be featured filled and easy to use. Double points for stylish, though it's incredibly common to see people that don't understand Web technology impose their 'art', ruining the site (i.e. splash screens, Flash widgets, etc...)

Part of my disappointment is that Wynn, a leader in many ways, went ten steps back with this Web design. Instead of blowing minds with the digital equivalent of Tower Suites, they gave us ASS.

Here's a perfect example of why the new website is flawed, leaving design & aesthetics aside for a moment and just looking at content:

When I decided to make my first trip back to Vegas in over 15 years back in 2008, I narrowed down my choices to Bellagio, Palazzo & Wynn. Since my wife is a notoriously picky eater, the final decision was determined by a careful review of the posted restaurant menus on all three hotel sites to determine which hotel would have the most restaurants with a good selection of things my wife would want to eat.

If the present website had been up & running back in 2008, or if I was someone who was not a regular Vegas visitor making a similar decision today, Wynn, which back then wound up being my eventual choice, would've wound up not even being in consideration, thereby losing them the over $20K of my money that I lost in their casino by that trip's end.

So yeah, not having detailed information like full restaurant menus is a big design flaw. So is not having any information on the casino, or even a link to the credit application, since again, back in 2008, I applied for my casino credit line by downloading a copy of their credit app off of the website.

Bottom line, this website puts them at a competitive disadvantage due to its lack of content, regardless of whether or not you think it looks good.

My first impression was that it was temporary.
Maybe it's the Vgan diet.Thats when all this crap started.

^You know, it's funny you should say that (about the Vegan diet), since even though I think you're only kidding, the thought had actually occurred to me on more than one occasion that the Wynn restaurant lineup started its sad decline right around the time Wynn himself went Vegan...

Interesting to note, there is an Okada page, it's just not linked up anywhere:

http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/restaurants/Okada.aspx

On Dr Dave\'s point about Housekeeping carts, other properties definitely care about them. At Mandarin for example they don\'t have them at all, the maids carry everything to and from the room as needed.

And to JeffinOKc's point, if it was an age thing, are any of the people the design appeals to actually checking out the site online in the first place?

Oh I guess this is what Steve's spending his time doing then:

http://lockerz.com/s/181164403

Wow...what a terrible website. Frankly, I expected more from an organization like Wynn. Wynn, the company that basically worries about every detail and element in its resorts, somehow seem to fail to notice the ugly design of its website. Like so many others on this post commented, "a website is a gateway to an organization"...Wynn's current website design is definately a terrible gateway to a great resort. Unfortunitely, that is probably enough for some people to not go through the gateway, and experience the grandeour of the resort at all. Sad indeed......

Well...here's the positive note on this whole thing: wynnlasvegas.com is the first and only Vegas casino/hotel website that is fully Blackberry compatible!!

Chuck will the Wynncore website be getting a radical redesign? Or will it stick with the classic look?

Still not working on the iPhone...

As a side note, you can look at restaurant menus on the site. If you click on the red "book a table" box in the bottom left corner (after you are in the restaurants section) there and only there can you find a phone number for dining reservations. Once you select a date/time and then restaurant, you can click on the restaurant name and one of the options is "menu." This will download a PDF menu. That's the only way I've found to pull up the restaurant menus. At a minimum, it is 7 clicks and 5 page loads to access the menu.

We all like to think that Las Vegas is still the center of Steve's universe but keep in mind that Wynn Resorts is much more than Wynncore these days. It's worth noting that for whatever reasons, Steve has refrained (so far) from making any changes to Wynnmacau.com.

Since Macau is Steve's primary focus, why would he be spending his time micro-managing the website design for the Las Vegas operations but NOT doing the same for Macau?

The more I look at the Stevepuppet, the more disturbing it seems. I keep expecting its little arms to flail around when it talks.

Why all the hate? I think that's one hell of a good site for FrontPage98. I was never able to build anything near that nice with that damn program.

If Marilyn Spiegel has no taste, how did the Wynn show the most profits since opening in the one year she joined the team? Interesting to say the least- and if you think that the taste level has gone down since her joining the team- maybe you should resort to the fact that the Wynn (once again) received their 5 star, 5 diamond award during her reign- the only casino in the world to have this honor. Lots of talk, not a lot of facts on here.... Furthermore, who's idea do you think it was to have their face directing the entire website, probably the person who put their name on the building.

1) Profit does not equal taste.
2) We all know those awards are hogwash.
3) You prove my point - it is Steve's website BUT management should've told him NO. Therein is the failure.

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