Palms Casino Resort is a reputable and iconic property in Las Vegas that opened its doors in 2001. It was revealed as a luxury experience known for attracting celebrities and hosting reality TV stars on MTV’s The Real World. From the iconic Ghost Bar to the idyllic casino experience, Palms was home to a diverse mix of bars, restaurants, live entertainment venues and immersive lifestyle experiences.
As with all experience-driven businesses, every casino in Las Vegas was forced to close its doors in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, including Palms. Unlike competing casinos on and around the Strip, however, Palms did not reopen to the public once restrictions began to lift.
In 2021, Palms Casino Resort was purchased by the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority (SMGHA), making it the first indigenous-owned and operated casino resort in Las Vegas.
How do you take an iconic property with existing local patronage and give it a new, fresh brand identity? And how do you attract Las Vegas tourists while also catering to your current, local base? And how do you curate an identity that cuts through the hyper-saturated casino market in Las Vegas?
Palms Casino Resort has been many things throughout the years. Following its initial opening, it became a staple of the Las Vegas skyline for the more quiet Vegas visitor or local. It boasted premier gaming, restaurants and resort amenities along with views of the iconic Las Vegas strip, while allowing guests an opportunity to avoid the hustle and bustle of those casino resorts located in the heart of the strip.
From there, it quickly gained a reputation as a party resort, hosting a season of MTV’s The Real World and opening the Kaos nightclub. It remained this way until its closure in early 2020.
So, the biggest question its new owners had to ask was “who is the new Palms Casino Resort, and how do we bring that vision to life?”
To understand who the new Palms Casino Resort should be we first had to understand what SMGHA wanted it to be and identify what was missing in the Las Vegas gaming and hospitality market. We took a multi-pronged approach in laying the foundation upon which Palms Casino Resort could rebuild its brand presence and return to a new version of the iconic three-building property:
Our team first had to start by understanding the new owner’s point of view on what Palms needed to be. We conducted in-depth stakeholder interviews to gather insights on why this acquisition was made, the importance of indigenous-owned and operated casinos, and where they believed Palms fit in with the overall needs of Las Vegas. We distilled their insights down to a single vision statement: Callout: Where premier gaming and neighborly hospitality intersect.
We now knew who Palms Casino Resort was and what it stood for. Next, we had to build a recruitment campaign and build internal buy-in for their employees.
Palms Casino Resort faced the unique challenge of being closed for over two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. They had to build their workforce from the ground up and find people who would be just as excited about the reopening as they were.
To do this we leaned into the ability to be a part of something historic for the city of Las Vegas: working at the only Native American-owned and operated casino in Vegas. Our campaign for recruitment centered around the message Let’s Make History Together--a chance to become a part of something meaningful and impactful.
The next step in reopening the iconic property was creating a campaign that would catch the attention of patrons, media and travelers. And to do that, we had to answer a very important question. Why does someone travel to Las Vegas?
The answer? To play.
No matter your reason for visiting Las Vegas, everyone is looking to play. Sin City is, in some capacity, a playground for adults. From slots and tables to exhilarating shows to one-of-a-kind events like fight nights and festivals, being able to partake in “play” is a quintessential part of the Las Vegas attitude. And it’s the reason Palms is here, too.
The campaign Here to Play touched on everything within the values of Palms Casino Resort. It combines a welcoming, neighborly feel with a premier gaming and entertainment-based experience. Creative was placed around Las Vegas in the form of traditional media, digital media and LED walls on the sides of the property buildings.
In addition to creating a brand campaign, we were also able to bring their new brand to life across select key pages of their website experience. Utilizing the intention that everyone in Vegas is Here to Play, we brought a bold new design that mirrored the prestige and rich history of Palms Casino Resort with their new brand promise to bring unique experiences to all who love to play.
Throughout the website, we were able to demonstrate the ways that Palms Resort Casino facilitates play for their guests in all ways. With striking visuals and compelling copy, we brought to life the energy of Palms in a way that prospective guests and players could feel.
The website couldn’t just look good. It had to function at a level allowing users to get what they needed quickly. The team took a mobile-first approach when designing pages, did a full technical SEO audit to improve Web Core Vitals, and implemented advanced integrations like multi-property booking engines that were custom skinned to allow for a seamless, branded experience.
But what happens after the doors are open and the initial hype begins to dissipate? It’s time to bring in Little Palm.
Keeping aligned with the Here to Play mentality, the Little Palm TV spot was crafted showcasing a palm tree on its journey to fulfill its destiny, because just like Palms Casino Resort, Little Palm was Born to Play.
There were a few key themes kept in mind when crafting the script, concept and overall storyboard for Little Palm. First, Little Palm was always ready to be a part of something bigger. Second, Little Palm would make the journey to a place that aligned with its values, a place where play was prioritized and encouraged. And finally, in keeping with the single-minded idea of where premier gaming and neighborly hospitality intersect, Little Palm was welcomed into Palms Casino Resort with open fronds from its companions by the pool.
The Little Palm TV spot had 30 and 60-second versions created and was placed in the local Las Vegas designated market area (with a soon-to-be-released extended two-minute cut).
From the start, our goal was to help SMGHA break into the Las Vegas market in a big way with the reopening of this iconic landmark. Throughout this process, it was also essential for us to deliver on the values and sentiments of the San Manuel tribe, address the already engaged Yaamava’ consumer, and speak to an audience that frequented Palms in its glory days.
Using creative campaigns that help elevate the brand and promote the many amenities that Palms has to offer, we focused our marketing around the attributes with the highest potential of driving guests to the property. We’re thrilled with the work we were able to create for this iconic casino and grateful for the partnership that helped us get there.
"I've worked with a lot of agencies and find that the best ones root decisions in research, adjust schedules to accommodate the needs of clients, deliver world-class work that stands apart from competitors, employ personalities that understand client needs, and enjoy the work they do. LaneTerralever checks all of these boxes.”