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Macau’s Tree of Prosperity – A glimpse of what it is to be
by Desmond Lam

Macau’s Tree of Prosperity – A glimpse of what it is to be
Desmond Lam

The Tree of Prosperity at Wynn Macau is indeed a spectacular show. It features an atrium with ceiling completes with Chinese horoscope symbols, a large crystal chandelier, and a tree (of prosperity) that sprouts out from the floor.
Every guest that I brought to watch this short but rewarding show was impressed by its visual and audio effects. First time guests to Macau would be thrilled by the awesome display of visual/audio technology and walked away feeling how great Macau has now become. The Tree of Prosperity is now a ‘must-see’ for all visitors to Macau.
By many accounts, the Tree of Prosperity exemplifies what Macau seeks to be and what many hope it will become. It is innovative and original. It is spectacular yet Chinese. This is Macau’s version of a ‘must-see’ and is unique only to Macau. Finally, something that is not literally taken from Las Vegas and transplanted here. Something that is special to the world. Something that is uniquely Macau.
All other casino operators can learn from The Tree of Prosperity. It has been specially manufactured to the taste of the Chinese people – a title that represents auspiciousness, a display of Chinese astrological characters (i.e. the 12 celestial animals) that all Chinese are familiar, and a popular Chinese song as the tree rotates that all can enjoy.
This is a show that Chinese parents can and, more importantly, are willing to bring their kids to see. The kind of entertainment city that Macau is supposed to be; not gaming entertainment but multi-facet entertainment city. There are few places in Macau’s 29 casinos where families can get together to have fun – the Chinese style. The Tree of Prosperity is what I envisioned Macau to be - a spectacular non-gaming attraction (aside gaming) that targets the mass market and their families.
What’s more, the Tree of Prosperity gives back to the gamblers and families what they seek – some luck, enjoyment, and involvement in the Macau evolution. As the tree rotates, many people get involved and start to toss coins into the wishing tree for good luck. Luck is for free here! None of the casinos in Macau have done that. I think few expected such reactions (i.e. tossing of coins into the tree) from the crowd, certainly not the security guard or even the designers. Tossing a coin into Venetian Macau’s canals cannot replicate this kind of ‘luck’ effects – the sensation is very different.
I think the beauty of the Tree of Prosperity lies in that it integrates Western technology with local Chinese values – East meets West here. Macau as it has always been. Unlike any VIP game play, the Tree of Prosperity has a clean image and fits the concept of an entertainment city with a focus on the masses (be it tourism, MICE, or gaming entertainment) rather than a privileged (and almost unwelcomed) few. The selected few casino operators remaining in Macau must understand and realize the dream of the Chinese/Macau government and its local community. As we temporarily shift away from this concept, with a recent over-focus on junket-commission driven VIP gaming, management must ask themselves again why they have been chosen to tap on this spectacular gaming market of the world.
The Tree of Prosperity features key elements that are essential for a sustainable casino business model in Macau. It stresses on corporate sensitivity to Chinese values, and the political and social objectives of Macau’s gaming liberalization. The business of gaming must recognize and accept the wishes of all in order to move forward. This is a time for reflection.

Date Posted: 04-May-2008

Desmond Lam was a former assistant professor of marketing at the University of Macau. He is now a visiting senior research fellow at the School of Marketing/Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, University of South Australia. He can be contacted at DesmondL@hotmail.com.

 
 
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