MGM Mirage elevates the las vegas visitor experience with digital signage

The MGM MIRAGE sees the benefit in digital signage. Even meeting room doors feature displays that describe the meeting in process and what is scheduled next.

Hotel management spends a lot of time thinking about the guest experience and how to maximize enjoyment during conventions and meetings. One of the key elements of success revolves around communication— presenting the right information to guests at the right time in a format that catches their attention. In Las Vegas, there are many things competing for attention, and capturing viewers’ interests can’t be effectively accomplished with static posters or flyers at the front desk. The MGM MIRAGE properties are a great example of “too much good stuff,” where guests rarely learn of all the entertainment choices they have at their disposal. Therefore, improving the guest experience is largely a matter of helping them find just the right activities and hidden gems.

MGM MIRAGE owns and operates the most prestigious and well-known hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, including The Mirage, Bellagio, Monte Carlo, New York – New York, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Circus Circus, and the new and unique CityCenter. MGM MIRAGE employs a staff of 60,000 and serves millions of guests every year. The company has significant holdings in gaming, hospitality and entertainment, owns and operates 16 properties located in Nevada, Mississippi and Michigan, and has investments in other properties in Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois and Macau. CityCenter, an unprecedented urban metropolis on the Las Vegas Strip, is a joint venture between MGM MIRAGE and Infinity World Development Corp.

The Challenge
In years past, MGM MIRAGE relied on static signs, and formats ranged widely from paper posters to etched metal plates. This was less than optimal because of printing costs, lead time, paper waste and personnel required to update static posters. As communication needs increased, adding static signs presented a cluttered look. Furthermore, advertising with static signs wasn’t flexible and didn’t allow for rotating ads or changing content based on time of day. Way-finding was also a challenge due to the size and unique floor plans of the properties.

In addressing these issues, management wanted to provide guests with on-the-spot directions and suggestions for a potentially bewildering array of dining options, entertainment and meeting rooms. All of that information had to be delivered when and where it was needed, on systems that matched the luxurious décor.

Randy Dearborn, VP of multimedia for MGM MIRAGE, has played an instrumental role in the development of multimedia technology for the company. As Dearborn sought to identify the properties’ communications challenges, he studied guest patterns and conducted pilot tests of new communications concepts. He looked at utilization of hotel amenities and clubs and studied guest awareness of promotions and nightly entertainment.

“One of the top challenges we wanted to address was making it easy for guests to view dinner options, peruse menus and even make reservations. As guests stroll through the lobbies, this needs to be a simple process that is both inviting and appealing,” said Dearborn.

Facing many competing entertainment options, MGM MIRAGE and Dearborn also saw the need to promote in-house clubs, bars and shows using live video and custom content, to best portray the choices and convey the fun atmosphere of those destinations.

“Static posters weren’t giving guests the feeling that our clubs were alive and full of action,” said Dearborn. “We wanted to use video clips to set high expectations and show each venue’s unique flavor to help guests pick the club they would enjoy most.”

MGM MIRAGE also does big business with conventions and needed to set itself apart from the city’s increasing number of venues for ballrooms, events and meetings. Even with good convention space design, there are still challenges for conference attendees to find the next speaker or session. Way-finding assistance is critical, and because of the continually changing roster of events, static signs were not a good option because guests needed to go the extra step of correlating static maps with printed schedules.

The Solution
MGM MIRAGE addressed many of its communications challenges by installing a digital signage network, using flat panel LCD displays from NEC Display Solutions. In all, there are more than 400 large-format LCD displays in the MGM MIRAGE properties, primarily in 32-inch, 40-inch, 46-inch, 52-inch, 57-inch, 65-inch and 82-inch screen sizes. The inhouse Multimedia Services team is responsible for planning the digital signage deployments, installing hardware and software, and managing day-to day content creation and scheduling. The team relies on Apple hardware and software, including the Mac Mini for players connected to the displays, and a special Mac version of Four Winds software to schedule content on the network of displays.

Menuboards were one of the high-value applications for the digital signage, and currently MGM MIRAGE has 20 restaurant touchscreens at six properties. NEC products, such as the 40-inch MultiSync LCD4020, are fitted with touch overlays for the hotel by Richardson Electronics. Restaurant staff is also able to change specials and line items on the menu in real-time through a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, which then automatically updates the signs without needing to engage the content management team. The next project in the implementation is to allow reservations to be made right on the screen, which becomes very helpful to guests in the mornings, for example when dinner restaurants are not yet open. This capability allows guests to review the menu, examine pictures of the interior and decide in the moment to dine there.

In the casinos, digital signage was installed at the end-caps of rows of slot machines, visible to guests who are following the curving carpet walkways to their rooms. These screens promote in-house attractions and run advertising, as well as show the increasing jackpot values on progressive slot machines. Enclosures for the displays were carefully considered to give the right appearance, fit, and finish. At the entrances to the hotels’ nightclubs are NEC’s 40-inch MultiSync LCD4020, 46-inch MultiSync LCD4620 and 57-inch MultiSync LCD5710 displays. These show video of the club experience to help guests think about the night ahead and pick the ambiance that best suits their tastes. These screens run 24/7 in many cases, so commercial-grade equipment is a critical consideration.

Another project MGM MIRAGE has undertaken is to dynamically change way-finding information based on time of day so the hotels can highlight activities at the appropriate times, such as the dolphin show during the day and clubs or shows in the evenings.

Within the convention facilities, digital signage also provides way-finding content in several of the properties. Bellagio, Luxor, and other properties have convention way-finding LCD systems with touch-screen access to help attendees find meeting rooms or navigate the facility. Now, attendees simply touch the screen where they see the words, “Map it!” to get custom directions to their events.

Key Elements / / /
for the End User

I love NEC products because they’re rock solid, reliable, and have great image quality. I’ve had trouble with other vendors due to poor video scaling and burn-in issues. With NEC, it’s nice to buy something and not have to worry about it.

We have noticed the comfort level has increased dramatically, and more people of all ages are using the touch-screens and enjoying the convenience of our wayfinding systems.

—Randy Dearborn,
VP of multimedia, MGM MIRAGE


Four Winds Interactive
NEC Display Solutions