Loyalty has consistently been defined by the reflection of repeat user experience and/or the expression of a favorable attitude toward such a behavior. Traditionally, most casinos measure player loyalty in terms of behavioral loyalty which focuses on measuring a player’s frequency of visits, purchase behavior or the worth of the player to the brand, which essentially attributes to players spending behaviors. Attitudinal loyalty has been defined as capturing the effective and cognitive aspects of loyalty and gaining brand loyalty by investing in developing an emotional connection. Due to increased competition in the gaming industry, casinos need to integrate behavioral loyalty and attitudinal loyalty by segmenting players based on attitudinal variables, which include memorable experiences, sense of commitment, trust value, and overall satisfaction. Recent trends show the best way to retain these players is to build attitudinal loyalty by evoking emotion and establishing a sense of community within your player loyalty program.
When players join a specific loyalty program there are three benefits that will allow them to feel a sense of community. The first benefit is membership where players feel a sense of belonging. Casinos can foster this sense of belonging by offering players a unique space to socialize and share experiences through the distribution of rewards at events. Many VIP players, regardless of the programs specifics, tend to have similar experiences in regard to their routine interaction within the casino. They often frequent the same slot machines, table games, restaurants, shows and player-exclusive engagements. By holding a player-only socializing event by tier or for all players, you can foster relationships between players, which will in turn keep the conversation about a casino property prevalent, interesting and engaging. Players will begin to develop personal relationships and have a stronger sense of emotional commitment with the casino and will be less likely to switch to a competitor.
Secondly, membership allows a player to have a sense of influence—in other words, that their opinions matter. Players generally spend a valuable amount of time and money at casino properties, which in turn, establishes a sense of entitlement. They believe they deserve to be heard and should have significant input on future endeavors within the loyalty program. Casinos can engage players’ opinions by routinely reaching out for feedback that includes what type of incentives players would ideally like to receive, popular brands and products, and what type of events they find most rewarding. By showing players you value their opinions it builds a sense of loyalty.
Lastly, but most importantly, the third membership benefit is integration, incentives and creating an elite experience players desire. The more time and effort spent on these players, reinforces attitudinal variables that leave lasting impressions on a player’s perception of a property and in turn keeps them invested in a brand. Casinos must be unique and thought provoking when implementing events for players, as run-of-the-mill events will negatively impact their perception. Choosing the most impactful incentives to accompany an event will increase players worth and strengthen the connection. Standard rewards simply include giving players items with a perceived high-trophy value.
When programs implement an event along with a high-trophy value item, the perception by players is one of true value and worth, as the casino invested not only money but strategically created and implemented an engaging experience to connect with their players. During events, players are able to engage with other players, casino personnel and enjoy time with the loved ones they chose to accompany them to the event, creating an overall experience the modern day player craves.