In casino marketing, we tend to spend a lot of time and thought on finding the Holy Grail—you know, looking for the perfect database segmentation, finding the best player reinvestment ratio, creating the most emotionally appealing brand advertising that will cut through the clutter… stuff like that.

And while there is nothing wrong with getting the “big things” nailed down, I have found that from my experience, getting all of the “little things” right in the casino experience can have just as much impact, even more sometimes.

What are those small things that can make a big difference? Well it can vary by casino, by time of day and by situation. I know it can certainly vary by customer (I hate a crap game with adversarial dealers, for example).

So here you have my “Small Things That Make a Big Difference.” They may not matter all the time or to every customer, but nail these seemingly trivial things down, and you’ve made a huge, collective, positive impact for your guests:

Good coffee on the casino floor—you think you have it, maybe even your F&B person assures you that you have it, but have you asked your customers how they like your java? The acid test here is to ask yourself if you would drink your own casino coffee every day. Your players have to.

Hooks for ladies’ purses—not my area, but the ladies at Raving (as well as female casino guests I’ve interviewed) tell me they like to see these “security hooks” at slot machines, in restroom stalls, at blackjack tables—anywhere they might get their purse pilfered. You are providing these hooks, right?

Good pillows in the hotel room—I realize people’s tastes in comfortable pillows can vary widely. And that’s why you shouldn’t provide pillows so flat that it’s like sleeping right on the mattress or so spongy they strain your neck. Having four or five pillows of varying fluffiness… now there’s a little thing that makes a big difference.

Easy to open (and identify) shampoo in the shower—it’s a small thing to easily be able to tell the shampoo bottle from the conditioner, as well as to be able to actually squeeze the contents out of the bottles. So why do I often see shampoo and conditioner packaged identically (with labels hard to read) and made torturous to get the contents into my hair?

Employees that know where everything is, what’s going on and will actually escort you to your sought location—simple, right? Well let me tell you, the overwhelmingly favorite response to a casino guest inquiry is the phrase “Over there,” accompanied by a pointing forefinger. Maybe that’s a little thing to you, but to your guest …

Quick-moving guest lines, or better yet, no lines at all—OK, sometimes lines in a casino are unavoidable (though often that’s a manager making excuses for them), but making lines move quick is a simple thing that matters a lot to your guests. 

Direct mail offers that are pertinent and show that you know me—it’s called “personalization,” and while I really don’t care if you call me “Dennis” in the offer copy (although that is pretty cool), I do care that you show you know me and send me offers for craps, video poker, the Steak House and the rock and roll shows. And not for slots, the buffet or the spa (OK, I’ll take a massage offer once in a while).

Health clubs with user-friendly hours of operation—sure, this is a little thing that matters to only a few (but an increasing number) of casino guests, whose only real exercise might be hitting a slot button or throwing the dice. But this small thing makes a big difference for guests who want to work out early.

Clear signage—I know you think you have it, or you don’t think you need it because most of your guests visit you several times a month and surely “must know where everything is by now.” But a seemingly small thing like clear property signs, matters greatly to the first timers, the handicapped and those who just haven’t been paying attention.

If you can address all of the seemingly small things that make a big difference to your guests, you will accomplish something really big— showing your guests, especially the loyal and valuable ones, that you not only pay attention but actually care. And that is a marketing result as meaningful as the most buttoned-down strategic marketing plan at the savviest casino.