Pegasus gives the Croydon new wings

Gaming Quarterly chats with Ian Moore, Venue Manager at the Croydon Hotel, about its exciting and extensive recent overhaul.

Gaming Quarterly: What was the reason for the refurbishment at Croydon Hotel?

Ian Moore: Pegasus Leisure Group (PLG) purchased the Croydon Hotel in 2013 with the vision to reinvent an old iconic yet tired local establishment. We saw a great growth opportunity with the Croydon Hotel and, despite its physical limitations, it was still performing at a very consistent level. With limited capital investment in the venue for almost 20 years, a change was needed and this aligned perfectly with the PLG strategy of continued investment and expansion within our property portfolio.

What changes were made?

What changes were not made would probably be more appropriate! The venue over time had become very tired and worn, and large areas of wasted space were created, so we basically set about utilising every square metre of the venue’s floor

plan in the $6 million investment, resulting in a new gaming room (105 machines), new family bistro (300-plus seats), new alfresco dining area, new sports bar, new beer garden, new walk-in wine store and bottle shop, along with a new bar area called ‘The Social’.

Tell us about ‘The Social’?

The Social represents a key growth area within the local market that we felt was lacking. We have created a very special space where you can come and relax with a nice glass of wine, share a pizza with friends and listen to music, in a safe ‘social’ environment. We have created, through layout and furnishings, areas that can accommodate many different groups, allowing you to have your own private space, while also sharing in the unique atmosphere. A strong focus for The Social is the ability to showcase some of the amazing local products that the Yarra Valley has to offer. We have created a strong association with the Coldstream Hills and St Huberts wineries, and offer their premium and vintage wines on our wine list and by the glass, along with locally produced beers and ciders from the Coldstream Brewery.

When did the work start? How long did it take?

Renovations commenced in May 2015, where we started work on our new sports bar/TAB and beer garden. We then relocated to our new gaming room overnight in mid-August. We reopened our family bistro in mid-December and finally ‘The Social’, which was completed in February 2016.

Did the venue stay open during the renovations?

Yes, through a strategic planning process and relocation of our gaming room, we were able to remain open, via a reduced size room for a temporary period. Our customers remained very loyal and continued to enjoy the facilities throughout the transformation. Through the next phase of the renovations we did, however, close down our family bistro for approximately eight weeks so we could rebuild an entirely new kitchen and new family bistro!

How easy/difficult was that to pull off?

Through a combination of strategic planning and good management, the transition went smoothly, and with the fantastic support of the Tabcorp Gaming Solutions technicians and team, we relocated our entire gaming room overnight. The reopening of our family bistro mid-December provided some challenges, but the team and management made a fantastic effort ensuring the smooth transition at this extremely busy time of year.

What did you do for the relaunch?

We created a month long celebration called ‘Carnivale’, where we celebrated by giving away $50,000 in cash and prizes to our loyal members! From dancing girls, to stilt walkers, to Brazilian drummers, to fire-eaters, to the Carlton Draught Clydesdales, we had it all, finally culminating in four of our lucky members winning $5000 each!

What has the reaction been from customers since the relaunch?

The customers are loving their new venue, they now have access to the latest range of gaming products on the market, including 10 Lightening Links and the new Gold Rush linked jackpot, along with brewery fresh unpasteurised Carlton

Draught. The new Croydon Hotel is like nothing seen before.

And what do your employees think of the refurbishment?

You see a sense of pride and enjoyment in their eyes! They have done an amazing job throughout the entire process and have signed up over 1500 new members since the renovations began.

Is there anything else you’d like to see updated?

Watch this space for the next exciting stage of the Croydon Hotel’s evolution.

 

How did Tabcorp help with the refurbishment, relaunch and ongoing operation of the venue?

Tabcorp Gaming Solutions (TGS) was an amazing support throughout the entire renovation and relaunch project. In a collaborative effort with the TGS team, we created an amazing experience for our members via the Carnivale Relaunch campaign helping establish the new Croydon Hotel as one of the premier gaming and entertainment venues in Victoria.

Quote:

“There’s always more to be done but first we need to ensure we are delivering on our promise of ‘Customer First’. Pegasus Leisure Group’s cultural focus is on putting ourselves into the customers’ point of view; every decision we make is thinking through the eyes of the customer. This is critical if we are to be successful at Croydon. We now have the foundations of a fantastic business that is positioned to grow and develop into the future, capturing the changing local demographic and delivering a benchmark venue for years to come. Feedback from customers and members has been absolutely fantastic with many left speechless at the transformation that the Croydon Hotel has undergone.” – Simon Gardner, CEO, Pegasus Leisure Group

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