Casino Review spoke to Amy Culora, head of marketing at Grosvenor Casinos, about the company’s multi-million-pound relaunch of its Brighton property as Pier Nine and the decision to reposition the venue as a 24/7 entertainment hub, reflecting the continuing evolution of the UK’s land-based casino industry.
Casino Review: Could you tell us a bit more about Grosvenor’s Pier Nine project – what were some of the key ideas or concepts behind the rebranding?
Amy Culora: Pier Nine is a 24/7 entertainment hub which includes several bars and food offers, a wide range of entertainment, competitive socialising, karaoke and of course all your favourite casino and electronic games – this element is very openly and proudly branded Grosvenor Casinos.
The vision was to develop a venue which would give our existing customers more reasons to visit us and encourage trial for a variety of new audiences. The branding was important as it needed to bring the concept to life and help us to re-position the venue Pier Nine references the location of Brighton’s seafront, right between the West Pier and the Palace Pier, and our address is number 9 Grand Junction Road.
The brand positioning was researched amongst both existing and new consumers and was received very positively. However, it was also endorsed by the fact that the Brighton marketplace favours independent businesses rather than large corporates.
CR: What amenities does the relaunched property include and what sort of investment are we looking at overall?
AC: In total, the investment was £5m which is the largest investment we have made as a group in several years. The result is three floors of entertainment, dining and new experiences which we hope our customers will thoroughly enjoy around the clock.
CR: While slot machine numbers in UK casinos are capped, how many tables does the casino offer following the relaunch?
AC: We have nineteen gaming tables across three different areas of the venue. This includes two separate casinos which will appeal to different customer segments, and what we’re calling The Clubhouse which is a more entertainment-focused space which we hope will appeal to new audiences.
CR: Given the growth of online gaming in the UK, how important is it for a land-based casino to differentiate itself, in terms of atmosphere and as an entertainment experience, in order to stand out from the crowd?
AC: I think it’s important for any venue competing for a consumer’s leisure time and money to stand-out from the crowd. As a casino business we’re not just competing within the gaming industry but with what’s going on in the leisure environment as well as what’s online. It’s about giving existing and new audiences the experiences, environment and products they want, when they want them. They may choose to engage with all or some of these and they may even choose to participate in several of the elements at the same time. However, the focus should be on what the customer wants and how they choose to engage with us.
CR: Pier Nine is situated between Brighton’s Palace Pier and the i360, two major tourist attractions, and is also close to the Pool Valley Coach Station and a number of hotels. This must be a big help in terms of footfall?
AC: It’s great to have some clear landmarks and yes there is a lot of footfall in that area of town, but Brighton has several ‘hubs’ throughout the city which offer slightly different experiences. We’ve got a beautiful art-deco building right on the