Loyalty [loi-uh l-tee] noun, plural loyalties.

  1. The state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations.
  2. Faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.
  3. An example or instance of faithfulness, adherence, or the like.

The definition is fairly straight forward and somewhat sterile, but why is loyalty such an important part of the human character? Further, why is it so important to be a part of something and to be recognized for it, and why does it become paramount in the casino business?

With the great expansion of casinos across the country, competition has become fierce and the need to invest in player acquisition and create a distinct identity is critical for success. Player loyalty has long been a key component of the marketing strategy but whereas the tchotchke giveaway was enough to form a line well past the buffet, today the program must be strategic. Segmentation and concentration are key strategies. In other words, know your players and appeal to their distinct needs. And never make an assumption on what will or will not work without understanding the complexity of your player demographics.

Research and insight into your players has never been easier. Indeed, social media lays it right out there for all to see. Look at the posts, the “likes” and the activities on your sites as well as theirs. [How many times have you been out to dinner and someone takes a picture of their food to post on line?] People are consumed with documenting their experiences and sharing them. So use this to your advantage.

In 2018 the primary focus for casinos in their player loyalty program needs to be using the right social media tools and the right rewards. According to recent studies, 18 percent of all U.S. social media users use Snapchat. Snapchat has approximately 161 million daily active users. Over 80 percent of Snapchat’s daily users are between the ages of 18 and 34. Over 80 percent of Millennials check Twitter at least once per day. And Facebook, although trending older now, still has 73 percent of male internet users and 85 percent of females.

In addition, since more than 60 percent of online adults use more than one social media platform, it is important to use multiple platforms. Posting videos, photos and events creates a connectivity with the player, so long as it is real and informative. Use video as often as possible. 100 million hours of video content are watched on Facebook alone every day. Over 72 percent of all content is in video. It doesn’t have to be slick, just interesting to the viewer. George Lucas, arguably one of the greatest film makers who revolutionized the big screen with big effects said, “I would never guess people would watch cats do stupid things all day long.” Your posts can be irreverent and fun. Give your property and your program a distinct identity. And create loyalty along the way by being inclusive with your players.

People like having access and a sense of importance, and your loyalty program can deliver on both fronts. I created a program called R-SITE which stands for Rymax Strategic Interactive Themed Events. Essentially, I took the big shopping sprees and reduced them down into specific categories or brands. When we run these events, we encourage the senior management to attend and interact with the players. The player leaves with a great branded gift that has years of residual value and feels that their voice is heard by executives of their favorite casino. The casinos walk away with insightful commentary from their key clients and can execute the segmentation and concentration strategies mentioned before.

In a competitive arena that we are in today, the kiss of death for any organization are words like “we tried that before” or “we know what works and doesn’t work.” Be open to revisiting promotions and reevaluating your players’ interests. Do your homework with a partner that can give you additional insight into consumer behavior and use social media.

The expansion of casinos will continue so make sure that you are getting your share of the available players with a well thought out player loyalty program that resonates with each individual.