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Posts Tagged ‘casino

Or maybe that was an apple a day. Either way, the marketing world has been taken by storm recently with daily deal websites. From Groupon to Living Social to Deal Chicken, people are becoming obsessed with the newest daily deal. Google is at this time pondering purchasing Groupon for upwards of $6 billion. But this begs the question, should casinos get in on the “daily deal” action? I have occasionally seen casinos such as the Nugget in Reno and the Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Las Vegas on these daily deal sites offering things like room deals, or room and show ticket offers for 50% or more off retail. But does it make good business sense for casinos to be offering such deals?

The first question is will this drive incremental revenue to the property or will it simply encourage existing customers to get a discount on their next trip, which likely was already planned? The answer is that it probably depends first on what kind of offer you’re putting out there. A simple dining offer will probably get you a few extra customers, however it will also probably take away from space available for your regular gaming guests. So, that’s a bust. A room offer could be a good idea, if you make sure good controls are in place. The idea behind a room offer would be to drive cash revenue on rooms that otherwise would be empty. This can be done with certain restrictions or availability periods, however, be careful of making too many rules and regulations or you could turn off potential repeat customers. If your casino has entertainment, offers on show tickets is another option for a daily deal. These offers should be released when you know that you have extra tickets that would not normally sell at full retail. Then, at least you recover a portion of ticket sales that you would not have normally collected. Finally, and obviously, are gaming deals. These deals should only be directed and redeemable by “new” customers. The whole idea of offering 50% or more off of gaming is to encourage brand new customers to come in and try out your gaming product. It does your casino absolutely no good at all to offer deep discounts to your already loyal customers through daily deal websites. This is what you use direct marketing for.

So all in all, using daily deal websites can work for your casino if used properly. These deals should be evaluated heavily prior to entering any agreements with the deal companies. Take into consideration all possible problems that could arise from executing a daily deal. What happens if you sell more than you think you can handle? What if customers find a loophole in the fine print that allows them to take advantage of you? Think and rethink the deal before issuing it. And keep in mind, you do not want to drive your regular customers in with daily deals. Use your direct marketing for this. Daily deals should be used solely to drive new business.

Have you ever used a daily deal, or launched one through your company? How did it work? Do you think they are a good idea for casinos?

It’s definitely important to be knowledgeable of what your competitors are up to, but how much time, energy and cash should your company devote to chasing them? With the recent declining economy and especially the hard hit the casino industry has taken, it is very important to stay on top of your game and fight for customers. In markets like Reno, and to a lesser extent, Las Vegas, it’s a fight with the guy down the street for business. But, I’m left wondering how much attention a company should focus on what the competitor is doing, and how much time a company should spend actually coming up with their own ideas or perfecting on ideas that are currently working?

For example, if a certain event or promotion is doing well down the street, should you spend tons of time and effort trying to copy that idea? Or just create your own idea and blow the guy down the street out of the water? I tend to lean towards the latter. Being innovative and creative is SO important when your industry is suffering as the casino industry is. I mean, to draw a parallel, if McDonald’s launches a new salad line, should Burger King IMMEDIATELY scramble to launch a competing salad line? Or should they try something new, like a new smoothie line (assuming that McDonalds has not already taken that approach). You get what I’m saying. I strongly feel that creativity is the key to success. Being innovative. Trying something new and different, not just copying someone else.

In the technology industry, the newest thing is tablets. Well, who created tablets? Apple of course. They came out with the iPad. Then, HP had a tablet. Then, Sony had a tablet. And so on and so on. Apple is the only one who did it right! They came up with the idea, did it right, and everyone else is left catching up. When Apple came out with the iPhone, it was super innovative, and the other companies I mentioned above followed suit and came up with new touch screen smart phones to imitate the iPhone. Then, Apple spent the next few years creating the iPad. If even ONE of these companies had skipped the step of the smart phone and basically INVENTED the tablet concept, they’d have a huge head start. But instead, technology companies are just waiting for Apple to come out with the newest, greatest thing and then they follow suit. Of course, I’m leaving out the fact that Apple is very trendy, and very good at what they do. They have incredible brand loyalty as well which is also very important. But the concept remains. When should a company forge their own course and stop following their competitors so closely?

The answer I’m sure is very complicated, and involves needing very smart, dedicated people on staff. What do you think about this situation? When is it prudent to be a follower and when is it more valuable to be an industry leader?

Man, you’d think now that school is out I’d have more time on my hands to blog! But between moving, and work, and unpacking my life is more hectic than ever! So, I return to the blog-o-sphere with more news about Internet Poker.

Yep, that’s right. The Department of Justice handed down more indictments for operators of online poker and ten more domain names were seized, including most notably doylesroom.com which is run by poker great Doyle Brunson. Now, the newest word from online poker players in the US is that many of them are considering a move to Canada in order to continue their online poker careers. According to an article on casinocitytimes.com, Daniel Negraneu, who is a dual citizen of the US and Canada is considering splitting his time between his homes in Las Vegas and Toronto in order to continue his online poker career. Currently, all online poker players in the US who earned their living by playing poker online have been unemployed since April and roughly $400 million is tied up in the poker sites that have been seized. Initially, it was thought that American online poker players would start to bring their business to live games, however, it seems here that with no legislation in sight they are more interested in fleeing the country to continue their careers.

In more local news, the Nevada Senate committee has approved an internet poker bill. According to an article published in the Las Vegas Review Journal, the bill “authorizes the Nevada Gaming Commission to adopt regulations and to grant licenses to casinos to be ready to offer online poker if Congress passes an Internet gambling bill or if the U.S. Department of Justice says online gaming is allowed under federal law.”

What remains to be seen is when and if the government is going to take some action on this issue! Some say that the indictments are the stepping stone on the way to legislation, others say the issue will get so locked up in the political system that we may never see legislation. I am tending to lean towards the latter. Of course, we are approaching an election year, and lord knows people don’t want to rock the boat when they’re up for re-election. Which is just stupid in my decision, as are most things in politics, but I guess that’s a topic for another day.

So, I pose the question to you, my readers…how do you feel about this issue now that it’s had some time to sink in? Do you think the government will move forward with legislation or do you think the issue will never get through the legal system and made into law? Do you think the US will see a “mass” exodus of poker players to countries where this is legal? Or do you think the creative minds will find some way to still play online for money despite the domain seizures and lawsuits?

You know that old saying, opposites attract? Is that really true? Well, in terms of Poker players we’ll soon find out. Now that the dust has settled from the Internet Poker indictments, we will begin to see whether or not Internet Poker players will trek into brick and mortar poker rooms to feed their need for poker.

One of the main reasons that people play online is because they are able to play multiple games and tournaments at once. In a regular poker room, you are only able to play one game or tournament at a time, and a tournament can last hours on end without any payoff when its over. Imagine being able to play 10 or more tournaments at once. You’ve just increased your odds ten-fold. Also, the people who are attracted to online games generally come from a generation of very computer savvy, video game playing folks. They are able to work very quickly and efficiently to play as many games as possible at once and they can be very effective at this tactic. That is part of the rush for them. Imagine playing all those games online, then having to sit at a table in a poker room somewhere not in the comfort of your own home and be locked up in one tournament for 8 solid hours. BOOOORING. (See this blog post and the comments that follow for a good feel on what went down immediately following “Black Friday”) However, some big name players were requesting games in Vegas immediately following the events of “Black Friday.” So, it might be helping some rooms a little bit.

Online poker is an industry that has grown exponentially in the past ten years. It is estimated that since 2007 the number of online poker players between the ages of 18-34 grew by 27%. The draw of online poker is that players of any skill level can enter a low stakes game and learn to play without the intimidation of having to go into a live poker room and potentially be judged or laughed at by so-called “poker pros.” Poker is a very intimidating game for those who do not know how to play or who are not confident in their skills. One of the main drivers of online poker popularity was the rise to fame of Chris Moneymaker, who, after honing his craft online went on to win $2.5 million in the World Series of Poker in 2003.

However, it still remains to be seen whether or not these hard core internet poker players will end up in a brick and mortar facility, because it’s just such a different environment and is not comparable on many levels.

Do you think that brick and mortar facilities will see a spike in revenues now that the dust has settled from “Black Friday” and it doesn’t look like Internet Poker will be legalized anytime soon?

This post is officially the last one that I am posting as a requirement of my Personal Branding class with Dr. Bret Simmons. But fear not fellow readers! I fully intend on continuing on this blogging journey! So, here it goes…

Get ready for yet another great example of rewards done right! I stumbled upon a social media promotion run by the Palms Resort in Las Vegas that I think is a great direction to go in terms of casino marketing. I have talked a bit about Caesars Entertainment and how they are rewarding guests for spending money outside of gambling. This Palms promotion is very similar. Guests who sign up on their website earn rewards for retweeting deals that are posted on the Palms twitter account. You earn 10 points for each offer you tweet and 250 points for each offer that one of your friends/followers purchase. You can use your points towards the following:

This is a fantastic way to drive new traffic without having to directly attract gamblers. There are so many people on Facebook and Twitter these days, and by offering them rewards to tweet your offers and encourage their friends to purchase your offers, you are in the process of creating brand evangelists…almost for FREE! We love free!

So, I decided I better sign up for this promotion since I’m raving so much about it. Then I can report back to you and let you know if it’s all it cracks up to be! The first step is to tweet the offer of the day. Today there are two opportunities to tweet. The first is:

PalmsLasVegas

Come join our Social Rewards Loyalty Program! Earn points towards free rooms, drinks, dinners, more while in #Vegas http://bit.ly/fukEv9

What are some other ways you can attract new business without attracting gamblers? Do you think this is a good way to increase business?

There is a “tweet” button that makes it easy to use. You get 10 points just for tweeting. Check!

The next opportunity is:

Be a playboy! Rates @ Palms Las Vegas starting @ $99, access to club, $25 match play & Comedy tickets! #vegas

Once again, an easy to use “tweet” button and 10 more points. Check!

You can also post on Facebook and encourage your friends to buy the deals you share. That would be 250 points! Double check! Then I can take all my points, just for being a brand evangelist for Palms, and get free stuff. And I never even have to spend a dollar at the Palms, but you can bet when I redeem for my free hotel room, I will be spending those dollars at the Palms.

So, what do you think about this promotion?

I think I’ll take a short break from talking about all this Internet Poker mumbo jumbo and go off topic for a minute. Social Media strategies are becoming very important for casinos. The population is becoming more and more technologically savvy and they are going to the Internet to find information and deals. Based on an article that cites a study from retrevo.com, 56% of social media users check Facebook once a day, and 12% check Facebook once every couple of hours. That is a huge pool of traffic that the casino companies should definitely be dipping into. Below are 5 tips for a successful social media strategy by Frank Marquardt:

1. Know Your Voice: Your brand needs to be consistent. The readers should have a sense that they are reading your post even before noticing your name or logo. For example, the kind of Twitter posts you’d see from Hard Rock Las Vegas versus The Mirage Las Vegas to be very different. The audiences are different and therefore the voice should be different. Hard Rock’s tweets are mostly in response to people who post a question or comment about them, while the Mirage does much more marketing through their Twitter account. Posting offers is a great way to attract customers!

2. Time Your Content: People respond to content that is timed well. Your organization should have a calendar and a schedule for when your posts are going out. You do not want to overwhelm your audience with too much content. The content you do put out there should be well thought out and timed appropriately. In the example of Hard Rock and The Mirage above, if Hard Rock did release an offer, it would probably get swallowed up by all the “We miss you too” type comments. It’s nice to let your audience know you’re listening when they talk to you, but knowing the limits is also important.

3. Know Your Audience: This is a very important point, as not all customers are created equally. In the case of a casino, there are probably multiple business units within the property: gaming, restaurants, nightclubs, etc… You can bet your customers are coming for one or all of these outlets, and therefore it is important to talk to all of your customers. Take Wynn Las Vegas for example:

These are two separate posts directed at two obviously separate audiences, but Wynn knows how to target both customers by posting information that they know their audience would be interested in.

4. Solve Problems:Social media is a great place to solve problems for your customers. Many times, social media would be the first place a customer would go to either complain or rave about a previous experience. Check out the tweets from Caesars LV which I think are a great example of how to solve problems using social media:

They do such a good job of responding and directing their customers on how to proceed with their question or problem. One of them even goes so far as to confirm a reservation through Twitter! I think Caesars does a great job in this aspect.

5. Be True: Finally, be true. False information is so transparent. Your customers know when you’re lying or posting false information and they don’t appreciate it. Being true to your customers and your brand will only make your customers want to recommend you in the future, and hey, they may even become a brand evangelist!

What social media strategies do you think work best?

I read a great post about ‘haters’ and how you should treat them in your business world. A ‘hater‘ as defined by the Urban Dictionary as:

“A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. Instead of giving acknowledgment in courtesy, a hater often pursues his/her point by exposing a flaw in the target subject. Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealousy. The hater doesn’t really want to be the person he or she hates, rather the hater wants to knock someone else down a notch.”

As related to the casino world, haters can be found everywhere. Haters are disgruntled players, usually the ones who are not worth the money you spend marketing to them. Nothing is ever good enough, and they thrive on ruining an employee or fellow human’s day. So, how do you spot a hater and deal with them?

Haters are incoherent.

Haters by design generally resort to petty name calling and put-downs to get their point across. Most of the time a hater is not dissatisfied with your company or product, they are just interested in putting someone down to lift themselves up. For example, a player might come into your Players Club with all kinds of ridiculous complaints about how the people “running this joint are a bunch of idiots” because “I play here all the time and I just lost $2,000 and I never get any free offers.” Bingo, there it is. In reality, they probably just lost about $10, in about one minute, and they need to take it out on someone.

Haters don’t listen to reason.

Often, employees are ready to reason with a disgruntled customer. If the complaints come in on the message boards via Twitter or Facebook, someone is usually there to try and resolve the complaint. It is easy to spot the haters in this arena, as they are usually the ones name calling and bantering on about the facts of life, aka, if you don’t play, you don’t get free stuff. Haters are the ones that you can never appease. They are never happy when you go out of your way to try and make the situation right, they just want to yell at someone.

Haters don’t sign their name.

Finally, haters don’t usually like to claim their behavior. This applies mostly to the arena of social media and message boards. They are usually the ones who don’t sign their name or include their email address with the complaint. They don’t actually want to be linked to this kind of behavior, and that is why these usually come in anonymously. Responses should only be given if you can trace the complaint back to a real person with real contact information and the comment doesn’t have “hater” characteristics. Be careful though, there is a fine line between a true complaint and a hater, and if you don’t respond to a genuine complaint that can be resolved, you might end up losing a valuable customer and potentially a future brand evangelist.


About Me

This blog is devoted to the gaming industry news and information - keeping you up to date on the happenings in the gaming world. My personal expertise lies in event planning and entertainment in casinos.

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