2005 was marked by the acquisition of Caesars Entertainment, for an estimated $9.3 billion. The period from June to December of the same year was employed with the fusing of the two operations, including unifying business systems and processes. Harrah's operations are also closely connected with property acquisitions in the Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Throughout 2005, the company has consolidated its land assets basis in these U.S. regions for further operational development.
Revenues increased at Harrah's to $7.11 billion in 2005, an increase of 56.35% from 2004. On the other hand, net income marked a decline to $236.4 million, 35.7 $ less than the net income in 2004. This marks both an increase in operational costs, but it can also be assimilated to the increased investments for sales.
The total assets have grown in value at an exponential rate from 2004 to 2006, with 139%. This growth in asset value can be assimilated with the new land and property purchases in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, as well as with the opening of new casinos in countries such as Spain and the Bahamas. This practically sustained the idea that the company has had a constant development over 2005.
III. Statement of critical challenges
The challenges for the company are likely to come both from general economic and business factors, as well as from those deriving from the highly competitive entertainment and casino market in which the company is operating.
An important challenge that the company will be facing overtime is to be able to survive in this highly competitive market environment, which means that it will need to increase its level of customer retention and, at the same time, attract new customers at a faster rate than its competitors. This will determine the trend that its revenue and net income will follow.
Another challenge will be related to keeping operating expenses down, since the period from 2004 to 2005 marked an increase with up to 63.2% of the total operating expenses. Obviously, a reduction of operating expenses is likely to increase the profitability of the organization.
Finally, international expansion, successfully begun in 2004, needs to be continued in 2005 in an attempt to diversify the markets and ensure additional customers from overseas, as well as a brand expansion in foreign countries.
The company's alternatives are determined by the challenges and, factually, are not really alternatives, but unique methods by which the company will continue to remain a profitable business for its shareholders. As such, in terms of customer retention, the company needs to continue using the stimulating programs of customer fidelity it is currently using (these have been previously mentioned), but will also need to ensure that its international expansion is correlated with brand expansion and that there is no gap in customer perception between U.S. Harrah's and international Harrah's.
On the other hand, in order to reduce operating expenses, the organization will need to pay attention to accumulating costs on the operational side. A large proportion of these operating costs have been determined by the casino operations, so a reduction of administrative costs, for example, in this segment, could be useful.
The monitoring and control function will need to keep track of the operational expenses, one of the challenges that has been identified in this case study. This ranges from ensuring monthly control on expenses to summing up the effect of the expense - reduction costs that are used. Monitoring and control mechanisms will need to have follow-up loops by which the appropriate regulating mechanisms can be applied.
Figure 1 - Operating income at Hannah's
1. About Us - Company information. On the Internet at http://www.harrahs.com/harrahs-corporate/about-us.html.Last retrieved on September 22, 2007
2. On the Internet at http://www.harrahs.com/harrahs-corporate/about-us-responsible-gaming.html.Last retrieved on September 22, 2007
3. Yahoo Finance. On the Internet at http://finance.yahoo.com/q/co?s=HET.Last retrieved on September 22, 2007
4. 2005 Annual Report. On the Internet at http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/84/84772/images/ha05_ar.pdf.Last retrieved on September 22, 2007
About Us - Company information. On the Internet at http://www.harrahs.com/harrahs-corporate/about-us.html.Last retrieved on September 22, 2007
On the Internet at http://www.harrahs.com/harrahs-corporate/about-us-responsible-gaming.html.Last retrieved on September 22, 2007
Yahoo Finance. On the Internet at http://finance.yahoo.com/q/co?s=HET.Last retrieved on September 22, 2007
2005 Annual Report. On the Internet at http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/84/84772/images/ha05_ar.pdf.Last retrieved on September 22, 2007