I saw that old client the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has re-design their web site. When I worked on their account I spent a lot of time look at all the sites for the casinos and properties in Vegas and they range from shockingly dated (Harrah’s) to average design and quality. MGM Grand has made the most progress in recent months with the Maximum Vegas video as the show piece of their site. I think it has great production value but it is a passive experience that leaves you feeling like there should have been more content or interaction to draw you in. It also only makes a splash because almost all hotel sites focus on booking rooms so something like this stands out from the crowd. If MGM was in another consumer category and had to compete with a brands like Nike, Apple or Target this type of thing would get lost in the noise and quickly forgotten.
So all of this sets the stage for the new Venetian.com re-design which launched recently. This new site is a vast improvement over their old site which was a dated Frankenstein of a site. The new site is probably the best overall site for any casino in Vegas with a large amount of content that is well organized. All of this written content also becomes a weak point for the site because it isn’t balanced out by any experiential elements like the one found on the MGM site. This use of animation or video would give you a sense of being at this large and lavish property which can not be captured by the small photos and long copy. The site is also still plagued by a horrible hosting environment that often leads to excessive load time, failed page loads and errors. So in the end the site does take a good step forward but still doesn’t embrace content and technology that could really set the site apart from the competition.