Server-based technology, business intelligence and predictive analytics bring CRM capabilities to the next level.

Gaming Standard Association’s S2S and G2S protocols give IGT’s sb suite of products the flexibility needed to offer a resort-wide CRM system.

Savvy casino operators are deploying predictive analytics, CRM and business intelligence technology to identify their most profitable customers while they’re on the property and ply them with custom-tailored marketing offers.

In June, Cannery Casino Resorts LLC unveiled plans to implement Aristocrat’s Oasis casino management system at the Eastside Cannery Casino Hotel, scheduled to open later this year, and to upgrade the existing Oasis system at Cannery Resort Casino. Cannery will use the product’s business intelligence tools to perform in-depth analysis of patrons.

“Oasis offers us a broad set of marketing and analytical tools, and now that our two properties will be linked our players will have the benefit of rapid rewards at both Cannery locations, further enhancing our guests’ experience,” said Mike Day, chief information officer of Cannery Casino Resorts.

Aristocrat had earlier boosted Oasis’s CRM capabilities by integrating it with Tech Result’s Wager CRM system. “By using the two products together, operators gain a 360-degree view of casino patrons,” said Lael Berelowitz, product manager at Aristocrat. “In earlier days, a player may have dropped $1,000 at gaming tables, and the marketing system would have showed that player’s value as a $1,000. Today, that same player may also spend $3,000 on meals and entertainment. By using CRM, operators can measure value at different revenue centers exclusive of the casino.”

Predictive modeling analyzes data from different sources to forecast player behaviors, game performance, and campaign success rates. It employs adaptive learning to improve itself with experience. For example, if an operator were to achieve a 12 percent response rate from an offer, the system would use that data combined with other historical results to fine-tune the campaign for future use. By applying predictive modeling, every completed campaign becomes an opportunity to increase the precision and potential for more successful results.

CRM is the process of managing the endpoints of customer relationships through marketing promotions and other relationships; business intelligence refers to applications and technologies used to collect, provide access to, analyze and act on data and information about operations. Together, they enable data to be converted into information, and thereby provide insight into customer behavior on all areas of the property or across properties, enabling operators to measure the total value of the customer.

Predicting success

Gaming manufacturers are partnering with established CRM and business intelligence providers to create powerful analytics. Last Year Bally Technologies acquired gaming-specific business intelligence software from Compudigm, and plans to couple it with CRM applications now under development. Bally has paired the Compudigm software with its own Data Analysis Dashboard business intelligence software; the new BI solution provides advanced visualization, customer profiling and customer segmentation.

“Our business intelligence deliverable will work with either our own CRM app or one of the customer’s choosing,” said Todd Sims, Bally’s vice president of systems operations. “We’re building our own CRM to be part of our business intelligence deliverable, but if an operator prefers somebody else’s CRM, we can interface with that.”

The need to capture, analyze and transform data into actionable information is driving operators to build data warehouses with predictive modeling capabilities. “Companies are using data analytics to predict events and optimize their business,” Sims said. “Organizations today have tons of information to process and capture. The challenge is knowing what to do with all that data.”

While player card tracking systems are a good starting point for building a customer information platform, they don’t begin to capture the wealth of data that accrues from customer interactions both on and off the gaming floor. “Card systems are important but it’s also necessary to incorporate data from retail, dining and guest room systems into one holistic view,” said Rory Fagan, sales manager for the hospitality & gaming industry at SAS. “Operators need to get a single view of casino patrons and make real-time marketing offers while they’re on the property.” 

Server-based marketing

Server-based gaming offers yet another opportunity to connect with players. “Server-based technologies incorporating the Game-to-System protocol will allow operators to design their own brand experience for patrons,” said Joe Moore, product manager for network systems at IGT. “By capturing and learning from marketing initiatives with an ever-present decision support system, operators will be able to engage in continuous innovation in how they communicate and market to customers. The customer experience ultimately is what determines how long a patron will stay, how often they will visit and provides a competitive differentiator from other properties.”

The Gaming Standards Association (GSA) has created two types of protocols, one for games (the Game-to-System or G2S protocol) and one for systems (the System-to-System or S2S protocol). Older protocols such as Best of Breed and Super Slot Accounting System have been abandoned, although concepts from both protocols were integrated to create the industry standard G2S protocol.

In the server-based gaming world, operators can communicate offers to players directly to the game, to a host, through a kiosk, via e-mail or through a mobile device. Players redeem offers on the property, and the transaction is recorded by the system. Operators can evaluate the performance of an offer and then take it one step further by applying predictive modeling to fine-tune it.

IGT’s sb NexGen interactive touch screen display can be used for a wide range of player communications, promotions, interactions and rewards; it features state-of-the-art networking and connectivity capabilities using GSA protocols. The product includes a Service Window feature that can open a player display within a G2S device such as a gaming machine, kiosk or plasma screen, enabling players to receive tailored offers and services. “When Service Window appears on the screen, it asks players to enter a PIN, then from there they can not only check points and balances but also interact with the property and respond to offers while they’re in the casino,” said Moore.

Service Window is a thin client display that can deliver customized content from a central server to various devices on the gaming floor. Because it’s independent of the actual game software, operators are free to create personalized player messages, property advertisements, etc. without having to worry about the regulatory considerations of changing the game software

Using Service Window, offers can be triggered by actual events. “Suppose it’s 11:30 p.m. on a Friday night and the hotel system shows that 20 rooms are available,” said Moore. “Through Service Window, operators can fill up that expiring inventory by making special offers to qualified players.”

The back room central server component that IGT has created for delivering content to the Service Window is called Media Manager, where content can be loaded, approved and delivered to the Service Window.

Harrah’s Entertainment is installing sb NexGen on more than 60,000 slot machines as part of its next generation of CRM capabilities, which combines sb NexGen with Harrah’s Total Rewards marketing program and its Prism (Personalized Real-time Interactive Slot Marketing) interactive CRM system. Harrah’s is also piloting IGT’s Media Manager software to deliver custom Prism and Total Rewards content to customers directly on the game screens of IGT machines as well as non-IGT machines. The setup will enable Harrah’s to deliver the next generation of interactive CRM and a new entertainment experience to Harrah’s customers, according to Tim Stanley, Harrah’s chief information officer.