The reality for casino operators today is that the competitor is not just the casino down the street anymore; it’s all forms of entertainment—from nightclubs and restaurants to computer games and movie streaming services and everything in between—that is competing for piece of the patron’s budget.
With that increased competition, having more tools to differentiate the entire enterprise is critical, which is why more systems providers are letting non-gaming businesses within the casino promote and advertise at touchpoints the customers use like kiosks, slots and even table games through interactive signage. In return, these non-gaming offers can be personalized to the customer to incentivize play in addition to cross-promoting visitation within the property.
“More than any time previous, casinos are expanding the value of player analytics by merging data on gaming worth with non-gaming indicators to generate a complete customer worth profile,” said Michael Ratner, director, product management, systems at Konami Gaming. “By tracking a customer’s spending behavior via loyalty program-enabled devices at all customer touch points—restaurants, spas, golf, retail, entertainment, etc.—that information can be combined with the customer’s gaming activity to provide powerful insights that span all areas of operation.”
Angelo Palmisano, vice president of systems product for Aristocrat Technologies, agrees these data analytic and promotional tools need to encompass the entire casino enterprise, but realizes the cost of such technology can be a factor. “At Aristocrat, we saw it as our mission to create solutions to arm the enterprise with tools so that they can use their limited marketing budgets most effectively—giving them layers of marketing programs so they have options as varied as their patrons,” he said. “That’s the philosophy that created the Oasis 360 Brand Connectivity Suite.”
But with so many options, nothing is integrated on the gaming floor without some sort of difficulty. “Because there is such a broad range of tools that our operator customers can use, the difficulty can be in determining which solution or solutions work best in each individual operator’s particular ecosystem of customers—and that’s a good thing because it means there are a lot of options that can be tailored to the need at hand, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach,” Palmisano said. “The good news is we offer a wealth of solutions so each operator can select exactly what works best for them and their patrons. To help in that decision process, at Aristocrat we have created a professional services group whose job is to help guide our customers and to help them select which product or products will work best for them.”
Operational difficulties aside, creating engaging promotions on technology that will engender guest response is a challenge as well. “The biggest challenge is one of customer awareness and adoption,” Ratner said. “Players often have difficulty understanding which property amenities they can scan their players’ card and which amenities might be external to the property system, such as leased retail spaces. This is something that must be explored uniquely for each property. On a grander scale however, guests at casino resorts are beginning to realize that the loyalty program is not exclusive to gambling facets of the casino and are seeking to use their loyalty cards for non-gaming activities such as dining or entertainment. And as a result, they are enjoying the same type of rewards and incentives traditionally offered to casino players.”
In addition to Konami and Aristocrat, a number of other suppliers are adapting systems to incorporate promotional marketing technology. A recap of their latest efforts is offered below:
Atrient is a company focused on gaming solutions and the understanding of technology and how to apply it to gaming. “We are always developing the next product that will disrupt marketing technology… that is how we became the first to release a fully integrated mobile app and allow kiosk functionality on a slot machine,” said Sam Attisha, managing director at Atrient.
As described on their website, Atrient’s PowerKiosk is an extensible workflow engine designed to provide operators with the ability to reward players in new and exciting ways. In addition to offering promotions, PowerKiosk can also be used as a self-service tool for account management, allowing guests to spend less time at the players’ club line and more time gaming. One of the most powerful and unique features of PowerKiosk is the scalability and flexibility of the system; it is designed to allow new and unique promotional rules to be inherited by the system. PowerKiosk also integrates directly to patron management systems.
PowerKiosk can integrate with patron management systems developed by Aristocrat, Scientific Games, IGT and Konami, and through Atrient’s professional services team, custom interfaces can be designed to integrate PowerKiosk to any system.
Atrient’s PowerKiosk solution has several modules that are managed through its control panel, which allows operators to easily deploy modules that are most important to them. Through the control panel, operators can quickly update content ensuring current and relevant information is displayed in a consistent and branded manner.
The core application of PowerKiosk was created for usage on a traditional kiosk, but it has since been expanded to allow the same functionality on slot machines and mobile devices. Players can participate in promotions, check account information and find the location of their favorite slot machine. “Our platform offers significant line-busting functions including enrolling patrons in the players club and reprinting their club cards,” Attisha said. “Traditional kiosk systems offer limited functionality outside of promotions, but we encourage patrons to explore all amenities of a site from the kiosk. We go beyond advertising… we allow for food and beverage ordering, calendars with event registration, and soon to be released, hotel reservations.”
“As a technology-based company, we have little to no issues in building applications.” Attisha added. “We have replaced all of our competitors in the space multiple times. Our products are used in some of the most sophisticated operator’s sites in the country including MGM Grand Detroit, San Manuel Bingo & Casino and Rivers Pittsburgh. Our client list will be expanding in 2016 with some large global operators.”
Atrient has also collaborated with Konami Gaming to integrate PowerKiosk technology solutions into Konami’s multi-platform, multi-device SYNKiosk patron loyalty tool, powered by SYNKROS casino management system. This latest addition to Konami’s SYNKROS product portfolio allows casino players to simultaneously access loyalty kiosk functions, such as player account information, special offers, casino promotions and more, right from personal mobile devices, video slot machines and traditional kiosk machines. In addition, SYNKiosk’s exclusive enroll features offer self-serve player account enrollment and retrieval via an automated kiosk, allowing casino guests to independently create and/or reprint their players card in under 60 seconds.
Casinos across the U.S. and abroad use Konami’s SYNKROS casino management system to capture and compile data through all connected areas of the property in order to generate a 360-degree view of patron worth. This allows them to better understand unique patron demographics and reach each individual throughout their visit with relevant communications and offers—ultimately serving to optimize reinvestment.
“If one guest is strong on concert attendance and another is a core slot player, SYNKROS allows different carded player demographics to receive promotions and offers that are customized for their respective areas of spend,” Ratner explained. “The concert goer wouldn’t be likely to visit the casino to redeem a free play promotion, and a core slot player may not be interested in an advance concert ticket sale. But when the system is configured to reach different customer segments with relevant tiered rewards, then customer satisfaction and promotion objectives are both optimized.
“The entire industry is more conscious than ever about combining efforts across gaming and non-gaming activities, with the ultimate benefit of greater efficiency, increased revenue potential, enhanced reporting, improved marketing effectiveness, and most importantly, more meaningful customer relationships and experiences,” Ratner added. “Not all casino management systems are equipped to measure and analyze gaming and non-gaming spend in a single ecosystem, which prevents many operators from observing and implementing a cohesive gaming/non-gaming strategy. But through technology such as SYNKROS, it’s available in real time so that operators have the most accurate and up-to-date information upon which they can rely to identify and capitalize on opportunities.”
Every casino customer is not consuming equally, which is why Aristocrat designed the Oasis 360 Brand Connectivity Suite to create connectivity between an enterprise’s gaming and non-gaming amenities. The Oasis 360 Brand Connectivity Suite allows the operator to reach the patron wherever they are consuming the product, and then to connect that patron back to their brand through loyalty and rewards.
With the Oasis 360 Brand Connectivity Suite, operators can better understand a patron’s preferences and then apply rewards appropriately by looking at each patron as an individual. Floor-wide, operators can now reward these preferences in real time and engage the patron at all levels.
“The suite ‘goes beyond the what to show the how’… meaning that instead of simply relying solely on kiosks, the Oasis 360 Brand Connectivity Suite engages patrons on their mobile device,” Palmisano said. “Why? Because that’s what today’s consumers are doing—they are engaging with their mobile phones constantly, so the suite uses a mobile platform as a tool to engage the patron. Using mobile apps, we can reach the patron at other places beyond the resort’s physical borders, such as a play for fun site, or even a restaurant close to property. We even have a stored value card that allows the patron to earn points for their purchases inside and outside of a property.”
“All of the programs in the Oasis 360 Brand Connectivity Suite are based on both gaming and non-gaming applications,” Palmisano added. “For example, some patrons may not want free play as a reward, they may be more interested in achieving a social badge. So, if the operator desires, they can create a pepperoni pizza badge or a movie badge that could be rewarded to that patron. The gamification piece of brand connectivity is more than just about the casino game; with the technology available to us today, we can look at all of the various actions that can be gamified, from the number of times a patron visits, to various things they do, etc. The options are limitless, and that means each patron’s experience can be tailored specifically to that individual. It’s a big leap forward from the time when operators sent one offer to the masses, and hoped something might stick. Today, we can engage each patron based on where, what, when and how that individual prefers their entertainment experience.”
International Game Technology PLC (IGT) offers customers a variety of systems solutions that enable them to promote their non-gaming amenities and special offers, enterprise wide. Some of their most popular floor-wide promotional systems include IGT Media Manager and Beverage on Demand—both are systems solutions that customers can add to an IGT Advantage CMS installation.
IGT recently announced an enterprise-wide deal with Station Casinos, where they installed IGT Media Manager on more than 19,000 of Station Casinos’ EGMs throughout Las Vegas. “By deploying IGT Media Manager, operators can communicate tailored messaging to slot players via on-screen messaging in service window,” said Sina Miri, vice president of casino systems for IGT. “This functionality allows operators to promote non-gaming amenities such as dining, retail and spa, and to communicate bonus offers and incentives. Additionally, IGT Media Manager can seamlessly reward players for their non-gaming spend and it empowers players to quickly ‘cash in’ rewards points for non-gaming experiences, while also reducing the operators’ point liability.”
IGT Beverage on Demand is an in-screen tool that allows players to order a drink of choice directly from their EGMs, making each EGM a portal to promote food and beverage spend.
Auction Action is a unique IGT systems product that gives operators the ability to deliver superior guest experiences, reduce friction points and increase the velocity of money on their casino floors. Auction Action enables properties to offer flash sale-type offers on non-gaming items, such as spa treatments, that players may purchase with their player rewards points.
“Floor-wide promotional systems tools such as IGT’s Media Manager present an all-in-one solution for communicating with loyalty club members while they enjoy their favorite casino games,” Miri said. “This allows operators to maximize their players’ time on device by eliminating the need to leave an EGM for tasks such as making restaurant reservations. It also helps to increase player loyalty by giving players at-their-fingertips choices when it comes to how, when and where they can earn and redeem reward points.”
In terms of floor-wide gaming promotional systems, Tom Doyle, vice president of product management for Scientific Games, comments, “Our competitors probably have 10,000-20,000 units on the field at best, we are already at the 80,000 mark. We’ve been doing this years longer than our competitors.”
With its award winning technology, iVIEW Display Manager (iVIEW DM) allows gaming operators to present content such as player account information, bonusing offers and directed marketing messages right on the main game screen or top screen. iVIEW DM turns gaming machines that have video displays into delivery systems for customized marketing at the point-of-play. This new technology allows emphasis on branding and easy distribution of impromptu messages. According to the company website, on the iVIEW DM, the iVIEW Messaging module can display content on the game screen, much the same way a television station displays a watermark or airs animated clips of upcoming shows along the bottom or in the corners of the screen. iVIEW can also show players instant marketing messages on windows that can be configured to pop-up or be permanently visible. The positions of these windows are configurable, so content can be displayed on any part of the game screen operators select.
In sync with the iVIEW DM is Bally CoolSign digital media management, an instant communication solution that is revolutionizing how casinos market to and inform players and guests throughout their properties.
These technologies link directly into Bally systems and provide real-time alerts to players about promotions, winners and last-minute specials for items such as show tickets, dining and discounted rooms.
Scientific Games Elite Bonusing Suite lets operators reward players` right at the device with the iVIEW display and iVIEW DM. With this technology, current players can be retained longer, new ones attracted and player value can be increased. Applications on the Elite Bonusing Suite automate existing promotions and player loyalty programs, and enable operators to launch new floor-level interactive promotions that simply weren`t possible before. Elite Bonusing Suite has a dozen promotional modules that go along with it, and at this time Scientific Games may be the only supplier incorporating their licensed games into the promotional aspect.
And with their latest addition, Scientific Games takes it one step further in promotional management offerings. “Not only do we allow the resorts to use all of these bonusing and promotional features, but we interface to their point-of-sales system so people can use their points, comps and their rewards throughout the casino, restaurants and the hotel,” Doyle said. “The newest product we just released is called Power Loyalty. This product operates in the Cloud, and lets patrons redeem points and comps not only at the casino, but at any retailer wherever they are. It is a new and very innovative way of bringing local businesses and retailers into the community of the gaming experience.”
For your viewing pleasure…
Suppliers of the systems technology featured in this article also offer YouTube videos that explain the various benefits of their technology in the casino environment. Here are some links to those videos:
iVIEW manager: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPaMVZAjkHQ
Power Loyalty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4xfJeGcf0Y