San Diego Business Journal

Valley View Rolls Out the Red Carpet

GAMING: Casino Raises Its Stakes With Additional Slot Machines, Newer Hotel By Brad Graves Monday, February 6, 2012
Bruce Howard, general manager of Valley View’s casino and hotel, left, and Joe Navarro, CEO of the San Pasqual Casino Development Group, are aiming to make Valley View the cleanest, safest and friendliest casino in San Diego County.

Bruce Howard, general manager of Valley View’s casino and hotel, left, and Joe Navarro, CEO of the San Pasqual Casino Development Group, are aiming to make Valley View the cleanest, safest and friendliest casino in San Diego County.

Bruce Howard, general manager of the casino and hotel, said the business’ core competency is offering value to its customers. Valley View advertising is not complete without mentioning that its slot machines are “certified loose” by an industry magazine.

The venue also touts its food service, particularly its lobster buffet. Valley View buys 600,000 pounds of lobster and 200,000 pounds of crab per year, a spokeswoman said.

The lobster buffet is a “calling card” for Valley View, said Dennis Conrad, president of Raving Consulting Co. of Reno, Nev. “Not many places do what I would call a signature promotion,” Conrad said. The Golden Gate Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has its shrimp cocktail, he said, while the Ellis Island Casino & Brewery in Las Vegas has its inexpensive steak dinner.

“I’m going to assume they lose money on the lobster buffet,” Conrad said regarding Valley View. “It’s a loss leader.”

Valley View also encourages people to join its Players Club, which allows for joint marketing opportunities and discounts on certain merchants’ products. A colored light system on each slot machine lets floor staff know whether a visitor is playing with a loyalty card. If the light is green, the visitor is a member. If it’s red, the floor staff can talk up the benefits of joining.

Satisfying Repeat Customers

Customers tend to come back. Howard said the average customer makes the trip to Valley View 27 times a year. Valley View gets them back by being clean, safe and friendly, Howard said.

It also gets them back by fighting for attention in a crowded field. San Diego County’s casinos are not shy about publicizing themselves. And north of the county line there are casinos that exceed the once-standard limit of 2,000 slot machines.

To spread its name further, Valley View struck a naming rights deal on the 13,500-seat indoor arena in San Diego’s Midway district in the fall of 2010. The deal runs five years with an option to renew. Terms were not disclosed; in 2010, the deal was estimated to be worth at least $1.5 million.

Getting the naming rights “has been fantastic for us,” said Navarro, adding that Valley View Casino Center has “established us with name recognition in the heart of San Diego.” Not only did the deal create a partnership with venue operator AEG, Navarro said it helped the gaming company establish relationships with other sports arena stakeholders, including the City of San Diego and the Hahn family.

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