Las Vegas-based House Advantage offers decades of experience in loyalty programs for the resort, leisure and entertainment markets. The company provides loyalty marketing technologies, reinforced by strategic expertise and deep industry experience that empower the world’s most successful entertainment brands to seamlessly integrate powerful new marketing strategies and tools. With House Advantage, brands increase customer engagement, generate vital business intelligence and boost per-patron share-of-wallet with seamless integration and total support for their existing systems.
Jon Wolfe, owner and CEO, recently answered some questions from Casino Journal Associate Editor Joan Mantini regarding the ongoing development of HALo, its successful omnichannel loyalty platform and program that benefits casino operators. Below are some excerpts from that exchange.
How is an omnichannel approach beneficial to casino operators looking to accelerate loyalty efforts?
Wolfe: Customers want to interact and engage with brands in a manner they prefer and place a tremendous value to brands that recognize and engage them in the manner they prefer. To achieve, or better, earn this from your customers, it is imperative to create a holistic and integrated approach that results in seamless system integrations across what can be disparate systems, have a data architecture that enables real-time capture of customer behavior across transactional touchpoints and all engagement channels and leveraging that data to build deeper relationships with more customers. We have seen firsthand with our customer partners that this holistic, 360-degree approach can accelerate business performance in a very dynamic and sustainable fashion.
It’s also important to note that these things must occur in real time. Transactional data is most viable when it is fresh, and loyalty and marketing efforts should work in real time to boost customer experiences and spend during their visit. Marketing to the customer after they have left the property is certainly a viable part of any loyalty program, but boosting customer spend while they are mid-trip is the real opportunity and is focus of much of our development and functionality.
What do you consider the necessary building blocks required to create a successful omnichannel loyalty program?
Wolfe: Our work has convinced us that an effective omnichannel customer engagement framework requires a perspective that is both holistic and granular in equal measure. To see the big picture—business objectives, market dynamics and the unique value propositions of a brand and its offerings—while at the same time accounting for the practical realities of architecting and implementing a loyalty solution across all transactional touch points and customer engagement channels, takes a special type of loyalty partner. Specifically, brands need to consider agnostic solutions that extend across all existing technology infrastructure which includes gaming, point of sale, social and payment solutions; aggregation of data across all touchpoint and the real-time availability of that data, enhancing service delivery to achieve greater personalization; and finally, a consistent experience across all touchpoints pre, during and post visit.
To take this even further, understanding and leveraging the extended relationships across family and friends can only bolster the brands ability to engender a much deeper and lasting relationship with their customers. We see many companies that don’t execute on this strategy at all, or have some level of engagement, but these channels are all siloed and not executed as part of a comprehensive strategy. As a result, the customer is left with a mix of communications, rewards and services that are not integrated and consistent in nature, and result in a disjointed experience for the customer. Other times we find programs that are so complicated it actually serves as a deterrent to customer relationships rather than an enhancement.
In a market where competition is on the rise, what makes House Advantage stand out above its competitors?
Wolfe: We fundamentally believe our approach to customer loyalty and engagement is inherently different from our competitors. Our belief is based on our deep understanding of the holistic approach needed to build lasting relationships with customers. We start by taking a 360-degree perspective to customers and the opportunities to engage them in a personalized way. We spent much of our careers overseeing day-to-day operations. We have used this unique experience coupled with a daily focus on pushing the bounds of customer loyalty and engagement. Fortunately, we also happen to have built a robust and extensive loyalty platform to reinforce this value system and to provide a true loyalty framework for our customers and partners, extending the value of current technology investments while providing significant operational opportunities to understand and enhance their relationships with customers.
Why have you been as active as you have been in developing strategic partnerships with third-party providers?
Wolfe: There are a number of innovative and agile technology providers in gaming and beyond. In alignment with our agnostic and open approach to system integrations, we have looked to strategically partner with best-of-breed, third-party providers to expand the ecosystem of capabilities for our collective customers. There are many companies with systems that offer unique capabilities, but we have now seen through the selective partnerships we have forged over the last year or so, that combining their capabilities with the transactional richness of HALo enables them to execute at a much more robust level. We have seen a number of these harmonious relationships, and HALo is not built on a “must buy it here” approach. Third-party integrations make up about 30 percent of our development time and we are proud of our integration capabilities and tool sets, and we use them liberally with a wide variety of specialized solutions.
Can you describe the 360-degree perspective and how it creates personalization in engaging customers?
Wolfe: Simply put, brands, in an absolute sense, want to capture all customer transactional and behavior data across all touchpoints and all engagement and social channels in real time. Capturing this rich customer data means you can learn and proactively engage customers where they are along the customer loyalty journey. It is a powerful notion that you can influence your customer’s experience in real time—at the right time and with the right message—through the right channel.
Loyalty is more than just buckets and points. Loyalty is a sophisticated combination of rewards, experiences, services and communication which provide customers with a seamless and seemingly intuitive relationship with their resorts.