There was an interesting segment called "Las Vegas Loves Asians" on the radio show Marketplace this morning. I knew that gambling was a popular pastime with wealthy Asians, but was surprised to learn that, 4 out of 5 of the high-rollers in Vegas are Asian.
In the casino industry, it's well-known that of every five high rollers who come to Vegas, four are from Asia. They're known as "whales" -- players willing to bet 50 grand on a single hand, or risk a couple million over a single weekend.
Not surprisingly, the casinos are following the money. The casino company Las Vegas Sands has recently opened the largest casino in the world ($24 Billion, 10.5 million square feet) in Macau with another on the way.
Greg Shulman, the VP of international marketing for MGM Mirage, which owns Bellagio and MGM Grand notes,
Currently, the Asian segment of our international gaming revenue stream comprises a very healthy 75 percent. That's where all the money is right now.
When thinking about the demographics of the affluent, this is worth remembering. Many traditionally Western-focused luxury companies are re-orienting themselves and getting better acquainted with the emerging wealthy in China, India, Russia, and other countries and their different cultural habits and buying preferences.
Here's the comment Shulman made that really caught my attention (emphasis mine):
These people live lifestyles that most of us can only fathom. They have butlers at their beck and call. They have chefs that travel with them. So really, what it comes down to is when they travel to Las Vegas, we're really attempting simply to replicate the level of service that they're accustomed to having at home. And it's a very, very difficult task.
Regardless of culture, delivering an exceptional level of service is often one of the core challenges of dealing with the affluent. Level of service is more than just nuances or value adds that enhance customer experience--at the core of service is competency. The uber-rich surround themselves with the best. Whether it's attorneys, business consultants, financial advisors, or Realtors, they seek the most competent and professional folks they can find. The challenge for the real estate professional who wishes to work this niche is creating the perception that you are the best at what you do and then delivering on that promise.