Skift Take

MGM Resorts is riding high after a record-breaking first quarter. CEO Bill Hornbuckle's bold bet on a Marriott partnership and on expansion in China and Japan appear to be paying off in spades.

 MGM Resorts executives enthused Wednesday about the likely impact of their newly minted licensing deal with the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

"The Marriott deal is off to a great start," said William Hornbuckle, president and CEO, on an earnings call. "We booked approximately 75% above expectations. One of the biggest surprises has been the gain in group business. They do know a lot of people we don't know."

Starting in mid-March, guests at MGM Resorts’ properties — which include brands like Bellagio, MGM Grand, ARIA, Mandalay Bay