Folks in Southeastern Oklahoma looking for the best local casino games, delicious dining or the perfect place for a business meeting often gravitate toward Choctaw Casino Resort – Durant.
For good reason—the AAA Four-Diamond entertainment destination features some of the best slots, table games and top entertainment acts in the region, in addition to a plethora of non-gaming amenities that includes the newly built Spa Tower with 286 luxurious rooms; and The District, featuring fun for the whole family with a 3,600-square-foot arcade, 20 lane bowling center, four auditorium cinema, two-story laser tag arena, sports bar and food court.
When it comes to marketing Choctaw Casino Resort – Durant and its family-friendly non-gaming attractions, a number of key people have played a valuable role throughout the years. The latest is Erica Kosemund who, at the start of the year, was appointed to senior director of corporate marketing by the Choctaw Nation. In this position, Kosemund oversees all marketing strategies for the tribe including all Choctaw Casino Resorts (of which there are eight) and the Nation’s Division of Commerce. With more than a decade of experience serving in various marketing roles for the Chickasaw Nation, Kosemund brings a strong background in management, operations, marketing and gaming to her new post at the Choctaw Nation.
Kosemund recently took some time to talk with Casino Journal Associate Editor Joan Mantini about the marketing efforts at Choctaw Casino Resort – Durant that help it to thrive in the crowded Oklahoma marketplace. Below are some excerpts from this conversation:
How big of a role does marketing play in the overall success of Choctaw Casino Resort – Durant?
Kosemund: Marketing plays a big role in the overall success of any company, and that is the same with Choctaw Casino Resort– Durant. We not only have the creative minds, but also the customer research that supports our marketing decisions. Marketing supports every department within the organization, whether it be a new food and beverage launch, a million-dollar promotion, hotel specials or a concert announcement. Marketing is the gateway to our customers.
What would you say catapulted the brand into a known name in Southeastern Oklahoma and North Texas?
Kosemund: In 2015, the property expanded adding an additional tower, Grand Theater and The District. That expansion brought the resort to a whole new level creating buzz in the area. This is one of the only places people in North Texas can go to gamble, see A-list acts and enjoy state-of-the-art amenities all in one place. We are known for our unique guest experience and service.
What would you consider to be the resort’s most successful marketing effort to brand and promote Choctaw Casino Resort – Durant in the crowded Oklahoma marketplace?
Kosemund: Our most successful approach has been aligning our entertainment offerings with target market segments and offering multiple amenities to our guests. Providing A-level entertainment as well as the amenities make us a very attractive option for resort and gaming enthusiasts. We like to approach our efforts from a global view, ensuring we are giving proper attention to the entertainment enthusiast, our VIPs, someone looking for a relaxing getaway and the couple visiting for the first time.
What are some of the latest marketing technologies you’ve incorporated into Choctaw Casino Resort – Durant?
Kosemund: As with all casinos, we utilize many business intelligence tools to analyze our data. We have a strong presence and have recently added Sprout Social as a monitoring platform for our social channels. We will be launching InMoment this year which is an additional tool to collect customer feedback to be able to continually approve on the guest experience.
As the Oklahoma casino market expands, how do you plan to stay current with your marketing efforts?
Kosemund: We plan to stay up-to-date in our efforts to grow by consistently monitoring the industry while working to distinguish our brand and utilizing very non-traditional tactics for casinos. We’ll continue to push the limits by deploying advertising and promotional tactics that unify our eight casinos by promoting the Choctaw Rewards Club, thus providing Four-Diamond benefits to all our casino guests regardless of what Choctaw Casino they most often frequent.
In addition, the way people find and share information is ever-changing; and it’s important to Choctaw as a brand to ask ourselves if we are making our marketing efforts accessible to the guests’ favorite channels of communications.
Choctaw’s Dillard tapped for Casino Marketing & Technology Lifetime Achievement Award
Janie Dillard, executive officer of operations, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Division of Commerce, will be presented with the prestigious Casino Marketing & Technology Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14th annual Casino Marketing & Technology Conference, which is taking place this month at Bally’s Las Vegas.
Dillard is a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and has served it since 1982, when she began her career as a secretary for Community Health. In 1987, she transferred to the newly opened Choctaw Bingo Palace as a floor manager, marking the start of an illustrious gaming career. Throughout the late 1990s and the early 2000s, the Choctaw Nation expanded gaming operations throughout its boundaries in southeastern Oklahoma, with Dillard heading expansion efforts as director of gaming. In 2001, Dillard was named executive director of gaming, a position she held for 14 years, before assuming her current role.
Dillard has also served as an officer for the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association for the last 18 years, and received the 2010 OIGA Warriors Award for her lifetime achievement as a champion in the cause of Oklahoma Indian Gaming.
“We are thrilled to present this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Janie Dillard, whose ground-up, hands-on management style and motivational leadership has been central to the quality and growth of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s gaming operations,” said Randy Green, group publisher, BNP Media Gaming Group, the owners of Casino Journal and the sponsor of the event. “She has had an enormous impact on the critical marketing areas of employee buy-in, customer care and service, and her sense of the greater mission involved with making tribal gaming a success serves an example for our entire industry.”
Dillard, who will receive the award at a luncheon on Wednesday, July 19, joins a distinguished list of casino executive recipients who include Jim Allen, Staci Columbo Alonso, Virginia McDowell, Lyle Berman, Ginny Shanks, Bill Harrah and Phil Satre.
The award presentation is just one of the highlights of Casino Marketing & Technology Conference. Full conference details and registration information are available at www.casinomarketingconf.com.