Many entities are competing for the player’s time and gaming budget, both on and off of the casino floor.
Because of this, operators continue to explore new and exciting ways to differentiate their properties, connect with their existing players and attract new customers. Property promotions often provide this marketing edge; and having a promotions solution that helps a facility strategically use marketing dollars can result in increased visitation, driving revenue throughout the enterprise as a whole.
In today’s competitive environment, floor-wide promotional systems are gaining in popularity throughout the gaming industry. One reason for this spike in popularity is the inclusion of analytics into promotion systems, technology that can better determine the true value of a player by merging data on gaming spend and non-gaming activities to generate a total patron worth profile.
“By tracking a customer’s spending behavior at restaurants, spas, golf, retail, entertainment, etc., information from those touchpoints can be combined with the customer’s gaming activity to provide insights that span all areas of operation,” said Steve Walther, senior director, marketing and product management at Konami Gaming.
“Enterprises are very cognizant of the need to combine synergies across gaming and non-gaming activities, with the goal of increased efficiencies, revenue and enhanced customer relationships,” added Jon Whipple, CEO of Gaming Technology Group.
However properties seeking a system-based solution to implement or improve enterprise-wide patron reach and promotions need to be certain this technology is employed as part of an overall customer retention or acquisition strategy.
“What we have observed is companies that have a clear and well-executed strategy around their floor-wide promotional systems that appeal to their guests do quite well,” said Lance Hutchinson, vice president of Alpha Video & Audio. “The approach has to be simple and integrated into redemption systems in an automated fashion. Many operators think they can take a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to how they use the system and that typically is not effective.”
Customer personalization is another factor to consider with floor-wide promotion solutions. Truth be told, the ability to reach thousands of people on whatever device they are using is changing the marketing game throughout the casino enterprise; creating a more personal connection utilizing digital platforms has been the focus of many floor-wide promotional systems providers.
“The perception [of promotional systems] is definitely changing because [marketing] is becoming more technical and digital, which allows for more audience retention and conversions,” said Dan Sagle, president at Wilkin Marketing.
When selecting promotional applications, gaming properties are constantly on the lookout for ways to better market gaming and non-gaming activities and services throughout the entire resort enterprise. Listed below are some of the key suppliers in the on-premises, floor-wide promotional space and the recent products and solutions they have developed to meet operator needs.
ALPHA VIDEO & AUDIO
Alpha Video is a national integrator of audio, video and broadcast technologies that empower organizations to better communicate with their target audience. The company helps clients succeed by designing, installing and supporting solutions that improve communications, collaboration and content creation.
“With our extensive expertise in a variety of industries, we are able to partner with our clients to overcome complex visual communication challenges,” Hutchinson said.
For example, Alpha Video offers a digital signage solution designed to instantly promote events and services on the casino floor or throughout a gaming resort. “Our digital signage solution provides a live contest and drawing application that enables operators to take over the signage in real-time,” Hutchinson said. “Operators can select what screens, projectors, AV systems and sound systems are triggered in real-time to display the list of winners.”
The company also integrates with other promotional systems from all the major slot manufacturers and many third party promotions vendors to broaden the reach of any promotional system from almost any vendor used at the property.
“The ability to influence the behavior of your guests in real-time as well as to influence behavior during future visits is key to the success of the systems,” Hutchinson said. “Our ability to extend the reach of our own live contest and drawing manual as well as interface with any other system greatly extends the reach to the system you have.”
Atrient is a top provider of gaming software products and custom professional IT services with nearly 20 years of experience in the software development field.
Atrient is primarily known as the developer of PowerKiosk, “a marketing platform that fills the gap between operator driven promotions and the lack of functionality offered by legacy kiosk providers,” said Sam Attisha, the company’s CEO. “Furthermore, it addresses the limited marketing functionality created by patron systems. As a marketing platform, PowerKiosk has been able to fully achieve the promotional demands requested by operators globally.” PowerKiosk can interface and capture data from any data source made available by operators and then apply its rules engine to allow operators an unlimited level of promotional capability including the ability to include and exclude slot devices and table games and allow F&B based or hotel incentives.
“This gives PowerKiosk a sustainable competitive advantage over legacy kiosk systems and patron management marketing modules,” Attisha said. “PowerKiosk is the only device agnostic product in the market. While other vendors allow limited functionality on devices outside kiosks, Atrient has fully migrated its platform to be available on mobile devices and slot.”
Functional requirements that PowerKiosk provides and operators often demand include: promotional games; virtual drawings; account lookup; comp redemption; interactive property information; calendar services; and idle screen digital signage. PowerKiosk allows content of non-gaming services to be identified, promoted and rewarded on a kiosk device. It assists in ROI because the operator does not have to buy multiple applications from different vendors.
“Atrient is the leading innovator in the marketplace,” Attisha said. “We were the first to extend kiosk activity to mobile devices and slot machines. We are currently innovating RFID interfaces to digital signage, wide area progressive and touchtone driven promotions along with branded promotions based on slot machine titles.”
El Cajon, Calif.-based Sycuan Casino is the latest gaming property to feature Atrient PowerKiosks to better serve its casino guests. The interactive self-service kiosks are located throughout the casino and have access to a library of hundreds of new games and promotions. The user-friendly design allows guests to navigate the system with ease and stay informed about club benefits, entertainment, restaurants and more. Club Sycuan Members also have the benefit of reprinting club cards, accessing account and comp information and personalized games and promotions.
“We are always looking for ways to improve our casino to better serve our guests,” said John Dinius, general manager at Sycuan Casino in a press release. “Currently, we are the only casino in San Diego County to offer PowerKiosks and the feedback has been incredibly positive.”
GAMING TECHNOLOGY GROUP
Gaming Technology Group (GTG) is an affordable slot, cash management and player loyalty systems supplier that was formed in 2010 as a spin off from its predecessor, Western Money Systems.
GTG is making a name as an industry leader in gaming systems for smaller gaming operations. With its flagship GAMELINX and PLAYERLINXS systems, GTG currently has installations in nearly 200 gaming locations within Nevada. The company recently received formal written approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board for its ULTRALINX system, which further broadens its systems product portfolio in both restricted and unrestricted gaming operations.
GTG’s ULTRALINX is a flexible and robust promotions engine allowing operators to create exciting promotions, but it is easy-to-use which keeps operational costs down. “ULTRALINX promotions provides operators with new and exciting ways to connect with their players, while streamlining processes,” Whipple said. “It is offered with both a promotional and cash-dispensing kiosk solution, as well as an interactive touchscreen display. These provide operators with the opportunity to communicate directly to the player while cross promoting all areas of the property. ULTRALINX’s promotional kiosk allows players to choose for themselves what specifically appeals to them, rather than vice versa.”
ULTRALINX also provides numerous ways operators can market directly to players to create unique promotions that drive return play and extend time on device:
• Players can earn points which can be downloaded as free play or redeemed for other comps;
• Operators can schedule point multipliers that provide extra incentives at off-peak hours;
• Players can be rewarded when they insert their card with point bonuses on special days such as their birthdays or anniversaries or they can be rewarded upon the completion of game specific events;
• Operators can create scheduled promotions at specified days or times, providing the players with the highest handle the greatest probability of winning; and
• Operators can target promotions on specific days or times to help with strategic gaming objectives.
ULTRALINX does what most small to mid-sized properties have not yet been able to, it arms the marketing department with meaningful and relevant methods to target each player. ULTRALINX’s promotional and cash-dispensing kiosks, as well as an interactive player touchscreen display allows for the promotion and advertisement of both gaming and non-gaming services. This allows venues to effectively communicate to the player and cross promote all areas of the property.
“It is important that operators are able to reward players according to their consumption level, and drive increased play when possible,” Whipple said. “This is why GTG designed ULTRALINX to translate player activity into actionable information, which can then be used to create promotions that drive play and build brand loyalty.”
International Game Technology PLC (IGT) has been in the systems bonusing business for more than 15 years. IGT Advantage is the company’s leading casino management system and because of its flexible and modular design, the system solution is very accommodating to robust bonus programs.
“Bonusing continues to be a cornerstone of our larger systems strategy and an area that differentiates IGT from other systems technology providers,” said Sina Miri, vice president casino systems for IGT. “IGT has placed a global focus on its bonusing innovation, resulting in a strong mixture of solutions that appeal to different markets. “
The modular design of IGT Advantage provides casino operators with a comprehensive suite of customizable and scalable bonusing applications. “Currently, IGT’s most popular floor-wide bonus is Carded Lucky Coin, a pool-based, mystery bonus that operators set to hit with a defined level of coin-in,” Miri said. “Carded Lucky Coin messaging appears in a slot machine’s Service Window, creating floor-wide excitement and driving return play as the must-hit payout ‘target’ becomes within a player’s perceived reach.”
The bonus interface can also be easily customized; giving the operators the opportunity to even further personalize the gaming experience. “If an operator prefers to personalize the look and feel of bonuses, IGT will help develop a customized graphics package to match the property’s desired look,” said Miri.
“We have recognized that many of our customers underutilize bonuses in their operations and, for this reason, IGT has dedicated resources to help our customers get the most out of their system and bonusing application investments,” Miri added. “We also leverage HTML5 to create many of our bonuses, enabling IGT to be agile in content creation and work closely with our customers to create new, customer bonus content in a relatively short amount of time.”
Konami has been in the casino systems business since 2001 and today its core technology supports nearly 400 venues of various sizes. As one of the industry’s leading casino management systems, SYNKROS is best known for its reliability, marketing tools and robust data. Casino properties of all varieties select SYNKROS to power their business because it has the agility and core strength to power leading-edge solutions across diverse competitive markets.
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 provides a broader understanding of unique patron demographics, to reach each individual throughout his or her visit with relevant communications and offers—to ultimately optimize reinvestment. When casinos have the tools and technology to reach different customer segments with relevant tiered rewards, it allows them to advance both customer satisfaction and promotional objectives.
Further expanding the power of the SYNKROS marketing suite, Konami’s SYNKROS Offers Management can send multiple loyalty offers to specific player groups through a wide range of touchpoints. Offers Management allows operators to setup, schedule and deploy a strategic mix of awards to targeted player demographics, with real-time tracking across the SYNKROS ecosystem. Casinos can package a variety of awards—including comp vouchers, drawing tickets, bonus points, free play and more—for players to enjoy with optimal convenience, accessibility, personalization and targeting. This helps ensure that patrons feel connected, and casinos, in turn, are able target specific player behaviors rewarding and engaging players accordingly.
“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 floor-wide strategy,” Walther said. “But through technology such as SYNKROS, comprehensive data is available in real-time so operators have the most accurate and up-to-date information to identify and capitalize on opportunities.”
Wilkin Marketing offers a complete array of marketing products and services—from full-service agency services to in-house, variable data print direct mail production; fully integrated kiosks for the casino floor; creation of exciting promotions, prize insurance and promotional products (from branded gift shop items to high-end VIP gifts). Wilkin Marketing can also assist in database marketing activities, from segmentation to re-investment optimization as well as assist with digital marketing efforts, from website creation to targeted e-mail and social media marketing.
The most recent product introduction for Wilkin Marketing was Zero Rings. With Zero Rings, operators can drop a message directly into the player’s voicemail without ever ringing the phone. It’s cost effective, non-intrusive and personal solution, according to company literature.
This platform can be utilized by the gaming community in multiple ways, for the casino as well as for hotels and resorts. Properties all over the country are using Zero Rings to more efficiently and effectively communicate to their player database as well as resort guests. The impact this tool is having for partnering properties is immediate and is delivering very strong ROI.
Zero Rings features a very easy user interface and can be launched within a 24 hour period. The software allows for the option of a personal dashboard to launch campaigns and monitor results in real-time with reporting capabilities. Additionally, when combined with various marketing initiatives such as direct mail, e-mail and digital advertising, Wilkin’s Zero Rings tool significantly increases response rates for targeted audiences such as VIPs.
“A current customer has utilized Zero Rings for several events and has been able to invite guests to reply and book seats at a slot tournament in April, as well as reserve spots for a special Mother’s Day event, and also offer their guests to receive free and/or discount tickets to their Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Fight Night in May,” Sagle said. “All of the events were big successes due to their use of the Zero Rings tool.”
Zero Rings allows casinos to have their VIP host staff, PR staff, executive leadership team or a celebrity record custom and personal voicemail messages to be dropped directly to their player’s cell phones. Casinos can drop hundreds, even thousands, of voicemails in an instant, inviting players to call for more information or to book upcoming events. The system sends a signal in lieu of a phone call to the players’ mobile phones, it is non-intrusive and the players enjoy getting a personal message with an exciting offer from their favorite casino or celebrity.
“Specifically, a Fight Night event, which was televised live on ESPN, included a unique twist,” said Sagle. “Oscar De La Hoya was asked to personally record a voicemail to be sent to their targeted players. The players received a really cool voicemail direct from Oscar within 48 hours leading up to the big night, inviting them to call in to receive their tickets. The casino was able to book 104 additional guests to the event specifically from the utilization of the tool and realized an ROI close to 100 percent. Further leveraging tier pricing yield a cost savings of 28 percent.”
At Scientific Games, floor-wide promotions are driven by its Elite Bonusing Suite (EBS) on the backend. EBS enables thousands of players to all participate in playing the same game at the same time. After all players participate and the game ends, EBS can instantly and automatically award prizes to all winning players.
Scientific Games also provides its customers with iVIEW options where games are shown to players on iVIEW small displays, iVIEW Display Manager (DM) and also on CoolSign overhead displays.
“iVIEW DM enhances the player experience and is critical component to the success of floor-wide promotional events,” said Ted Keenan, senior director, product management for systems at Scientific Games. “We are also launching a web content management system that can be used to customize content on the iVIEW and iVIEW DM. Customizing content and having access to analytics about the content opens up the opportunity for advertising and sponsorships. For instance, floor-wide bonus games could be funded by a sponsor. The floor-wide promotions can be themed around a sponsor’s brand or products. The web content management system will enable operators to explore new relationships with non-gaming service providers.”
Scientific Games’ floor-wide promotions are set apart by iVIEW DM compatibility and proven content, according to company literature. With over 200 cabinets from over 40 different manufactures, properties with iVIEW DM can offer a superior player experience across a great majority of the machines on their floor. “Scientific Games floor-wide promotional content has proven to drive player engagement and ultimately deliver a strong ROI for the operator,” Keenan said. “Proven game concepts combined with strong licensed brands such as NASCAR, Hasbro, Powerball and others set Scientific Games products apart from the competition.”