Casinos need to better market celebrations
The recent holiday season got me thinking about celebrations. Casinos have numerous reasons to celebrate—players’ jackpot wins, property anniversaries, employee service tenure, etc.—probably more so than just about any other industry.
From my experience, casinos are generally pretty good at most celebrations, and even spectacular with some (New Year’s, Super Bowl and milestone property anniversaries immediately come to mind). But as celebrations can be an excellent casino marketing tool, I wanted to share a few categories of “celebration opportunities” that I continue to see across Casino Land. Leverage them, and I believe you can make a significant impact on casino revenues.
Player Birthdays—Most casinos celebrate their players’ birthdays in a variety of ways—free play, points bonus, free meal, birthday drawing, etc. But a disturbing trend I have seen is for casinos to choose one dayeach month to celebrate allplayers’ birthdays in that month. I realize that this is done for efficiency and cost control, but c’mon! Find a way to celebrate your players’ birthday when it is actually their birthday!
Slot Celebrations—Casinos have come a long way since I executed one of the first slot celebrations in the industry in the mid-1980s. You can now hear celebration announcements on the P.A., see photographs be taken and posted on Facebook, have winners receive jackpot commemorative items and invitations to Winner’s Parties, and a variety of other celebratory tactics. But I still don’t see enough consistency, “celebratory hoo-haw” or genuine personality in these celebrations to believe they are maximizing their marketing potential. You hardly ever see anyone celebrating the slot losers (it is possible).
Property Milestones—Most casinos have a big to-do around their big anniversaries—1st, 5th, 10th, 20th and so on—but there are a whole bunch of potential milestones going ignored that pack a possible marketing punch. Think “100,000th buffet served,” “the 1,000,000th players club member,” “10,000th hand-pay jackpot,” or “Mary’s 5,000th Swedish massage.” These celebrations allow for focusing on individual operating areas, as well as highlighting little appreciated, but interesting milestones that could create a buzz.
VIP Player Special Occasions –We all know that VIP players are important to a casino and many good casino hosts do a good job of leveraging these players’ personal celebrations (birthdays, anniversary, etc.) to drive a visit to the casino. The opportunity here lies in creatively expanding the celebration occasion (retirement, kids’ graduation, 1st hole-in-one, etc.) and allowing the VIP’s to bring friends with them (likely casino players) to commemorate the milestone.
Players Club Anniversaries—Right now, casino players’ club members put no value in commemorating the anniversary of the date when they first joined the club. But they would if you made it really cool and put a lot of (cost-effective) value into that celebration; sort of like making it a second birthday.
Employee Service Milestones—At present, most casino companies do something pretty nice for their long term employees’ 5th, 10th and 25th work anniversaries. But what very few casino companies do is make that service celebration truly special and personal. What if a supervisor surprised their employee one day in celebration of their anniversary and told them to take a day off with pay, while the supervisor then worked that employee’s shift that day?
TV Series Finales and Movie Premieres—While much more mundane (except to their diehard fans), series-ending finales (think M.A.S.H.) or movie premieres (a la Rockyor Star Warssequels) have true drawing power as a revenue-generating celebration.
Celebrations rock! Find out which ones rock your customers and go for it. Simple as that.