Washington, DC National Harbor MGM Resorts Casino Opens in July 2016

MGM National Harbor casino and resort construction is well under way in Prince George County, Maryland. Located on the banks of the Potomac River, near Washington D.C. and Alexandria, VA, the $1 billion project is expected to boost the economy by brining in roughly 4,000 permanent hospitality positions after opening in July 2016, and 2,000 construction jobs in the meantime.

 beltway perspective rendering
MGM National Harbor Casino and Resort Rendering
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MGM Resorts International is partnering with general contracting company Whiting-Turner to oversee construction on the project, which plans to boast a 300 suite, 4.5-star quality hotel and luxury spa, 1,200-seat theatre venue, 35,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and 5,000 space parking structure, among other large-scale features. Included in Whiting-Turner’s most recent project portfolio is the M&T (Raven’s) Stadium and the Horseshoe Casino, both of which are located in Baltimore, MD.

terrace perspective rendering

MGM National Harbor Terrace Rendering
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This Vegas-style casino draws inspiration from the history and geography of the nation’s capital and the surrounding areas. Unique in design, the building will feature an equatorial skylight that runs the entire length of the oblong building. With an outdoor terrace at one end and an 18-story hotel tower at the other, it will be hard to miss the building from either the harbor or the beltway.

The casino will offer 3600 slot machines and 140 live table games, including poker.

In addition to its unique design, luxury hotel/spa and casino, the MGM National Harbor hopes to bring high end branded retail and fine dining restaurants featuring celebrity chefs to the area, channeling other impressive MGM resorts such as the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, ARIA, and The Mirage.

The MGM National Harbor is currently holding career fairs in an effort to bring in talent to the casino, the last of which was hosted in association with Bowie State University in June. For more information on joining MGM National Harbor’s “Talent Network,” click here.

aerial perspective renderingMGM National Harbor Aerial Rendering
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The MGM National Harbor will be the sixth casino to open in Maryland after receiving licensing for construction in December 2013. Other casinos in Maryland include Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Flintstone, Allegany County; Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Baltimore City; Hollywood Casino in Berryville, Cecil County; Maryland Live! Casino in Hanover, Anne Arundel County; and Casino at Ocean Downs in Berlin, Worcester County.

National Harbor is a growing community in the Washington DC metropolitan area. A waterfront destination, the National Harbor is a $2.1 billion “mixed-use community” that boasts an array of new business—hotels, restaurants, retail stores, condominiums, commercial office space, a convention center and marina—which have been attracting visitors and boosting the economy since 2008.The Gaylord National Resort and Convention center, located in National Harbor, is the largest non-gaming hotel and convention center on the East Coast.

 

SEO/SEM/Digital Marketing Report Card for MGM National Harbor

MGM National Harbor has a great website, especially in such early stages of construction. This is no doubt due to the association with MGM Resorts (which operates under a $1.1 billion budget) and affords the casino the luxury of hiring of website engineers and an entire digital marketing team.

A quick Google search of “mgm national harbor” means that the site developers have done their job—www.mgmnationalharbor.com holds down the top four spots on the SERP, and hotel/casino renderings dominate the Google Images SERP.

Landing pages on the site are fairly well done, though some could use a more content. I’m most impressed with the Articles landing page, which leads users to an extensive link-based portfolio of articles about the casino. This resource is not only useful for the user, but offers high SEO value. By linking to articles about MGM National Harbor on their own website, this increasing the strength of their own site (more keywords, more links = more SEO power) in addition to the strength of the sites they are linking to. The page is also updated frequently, which helps boost this link-building power even more.

Facebook and Twitter widgets are found on the homepage—no surprise here—but what is surprising is the level of engagement on the platforms. The MGM National Harbor Facebook page has about 8,000 likes, which is a fair amount considering the casino is still under construction. Though there is no way to tell how many of these likes are purchased/bot likes, semi-frequent posts garner about 50 likes and five or so comments. This level of interaction is good for a web presence in that an active and engaged public is best for the brand. Additionally, shared links are likely to be clicked on and read, and (gasp!) hopefully written about, increasing the value of the link and MGM National Harbor’s website (as long as the posts are shared on crawlable websites like blogs, and social media platforms like Pinterest, or Scoop.it…cross your fingers here…).

@MGMNtlHarbor has about 750 followers. Again, this is a good number of followers for something that is literally a pile of dirt at this point in the game. Tweets are published in bursts, a few a day here, once every couple of weeks there—most receive a couple of retweets and favorites. It’s a good thing that MGM is taking advantage of Twitter since it’s a great way to spread news and updates regarding construction, events like career fairs, and the company’s involvement in the community, but the account could be a little more active to keep the company on the top of everyone’s mind.

Overall, the MGM National Harbor’s website gets an A-. The professional look of the site and user experience are both excellent. I didn’t found any 404 errors, but content could be beefed up on landing pages, as mentioned previously, which is why the site receives an A- rather than an A.

The company’s social media presence receives a B. Engagement between brand and its following on both Facebook and Twitter is impressive, but more frequent posting, especially more link sharing of articles written by or about the casino, is very necessary in order to increase the website’s strength by get more people to read and write about MGM National Harbor.