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Wynn Resorts Sees No Reason to Abandon Current Strategy

- By PJ Pahygiannis

As Wynn Resorts' (WYNN) business thrives, CEO Steve Wynn is throwing in all his chips - entering the Everett Boston metropolitan area, a new spring project in Las Vegas, undeveloped assets in Nevada, as well as staking a piece of his fortune on increasing his stock holdings of Wynn stock.

Wynn and his team have been busy -- selling their Ferrari dealership, opening a new new retail mall and starting construction on their Boston property. Inside Wynn Resorts, culture is everything to Steve Wynn, including teaching employees what luxury is, teaching them how to create a special guest experience and how to equate their own self-esteem to the job.

Wynn is fully aware that competitors are watching him and will eventually copy them. He is also aware of what his competitors are doing and the experience that they provide, but is still able to hone in on what is next. For him it's all about not underestimating your competition and take a long-term view of the market he is playing in.

"We're sort of a Chanel, Louis Vuitton to use the comparison the metaphor of the retail business," Wynn said. "But unlike Chanel and Louis Vuitton, we are able in our business to cater to all of the market by making our standard so high that everybody wants to in the building."

But there's another side of Steve Wynn - and that's Steve Wynn the CEO with a personality larger than life. Wynn singles out his ideal customer and does everything he can to impress them and keep them coming back for more when it comes to experiences. Since founding the company in 2002, Wynn has taken the company outside Las Vegas and internationally. Wynn has instilled his own personal way of thinking into the company. The philosophy that the company has adopted is "first an idea, then a building, first an idea then a program whether it's construction, human resources or marketing, what are we thinking and why have we come to those -- what are the conclusions we've come to based upon that kind of thinking?"

The concept and design of Wynn Palace was challenging and required both Wynn and his teams' knowledge and experience to make it happen, with the company on budget to spend $4.1 billion building the property. In 2015 Wynn introduced Wynn Plaza, which will have 70,000 square feet of retail space that will be rented out at $300 per square foot. Wynn is also spending $2.1 billion to construct its Wynn Boston Harbor.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) today considers Wynn its top competitor. But so does MGM, Caesar's, Boyd Gaming and a long list of smaller resorts in Las Vegas and China.

"If you set out to take a resort hotel to another level, and when you say another level, superior level," Wynn said. "And you sort by so doing you would give yourself a competitive advantage almost as if you had a trick up your sleeve. Then I will tell you what you would have to do to get to that point. And if we have got a trick up our sleeve here it is and I'm going to confess. The way you make a hotel go to another level is you start with every single minute element of it. And as you construct the plan for the building and the design and the human resource engineering you revisit every single assumption once again from day one using all of your experience and asking how could we make each individual component better."

Wynn continues to chase success, trying to make itself better in every way. It has seen a 4.7% increase in traffic during the first week of the Chinese New Year, with revenue exceeding $4 billion in 2015. Wynn's cash is growing, too. The company is now sitting on $2 billion in cash, allowing Wynn to continuously expand and improve their properties.

"Like any devaluation, if you are buying domestic products, you don't feel it. If you are buying and you are trading internationally, you do feel it," Wynn said. "If you are an exporter and a businessman in China and you are one of our customers, and they are, then devaluing the currency increases your ability to sell your products outside China."

Wynn and his team have figured how to retain customers. Having a large base of wealthy customers has proved to be a huge benefit. The company has also been able to capitalize off of its international visitors. But now Wynn and his team are willing to go to extreme lengths for their good customers. The company has made sure it has better room rates than everyone else with an aim to serve high paid convention guests. Management knows it has a loyal customer base that is growing. Wynn sees no reason to abandon its current strategy if it is not broken. It has designed its strategy to accommodate and attract premium mass players.

"I am not sure that our marketing strategy should change one spec," Wynn said. "We may not have 12 junket operators in 14, we may have four or five, but there are no shortage of wealthy gamblers in China. And there are no shortage of premium mass players in China."

This article first appeared on GuruFocus.