Articles

Personalizing Guest Experiences the Casino Way

Article Author
Bob Dunfee
Publish Date
February 3, 2014
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Author: 
Bob Dunfee

Thanks to the rapid increase in social data over recent years, casinos have an unprecedented opportunity to personalize experiences for their guests. But, in order to make sense of all this data and use it to their advantage, they need contextual analytics.

Historically, as casinos began rolling out customer relationship management (CRM) solutions in the 1990s, they faced challenges with disparate data, guest interaction channel consistency, merging player loyalty programs and driving casino traffic. Casino companies with multiple properties also faced the challenge of trying to keep guests and players within their property ecosystem. Over time, many of these challenges were solved by technology, and the guest experience was greatly improved, as was the bottom line. However, over the last nine plus years, social media use exploded, resulting in a a new set of opportunities for which casinos needed to be prepared.

•    The immediacy of guest communications (e.g. positive and negative viral social media conversations that were not in control of the casinos)
•    A fire hose of data flooding
•    How best to leverage these communications and new data coming in

The first step for casinos was to monitor social conversations. This was solved by using social media listening tools that enabled them to better understand all the things that were happening in a much more connected way. The next step was to put a plan in place to take action on these conversations, allowing casinos to engage their guests in a more direct, one-to-one manner. The end result was an increase in personalized data that needed to be leveraged. Thus began the infancy stage of leveraging this data explosion and contextual analytics to deliver a better customer experience and improve guest profitability.

Now, casinos must begin assembling solutions that put them in the best position to take advantage of big data as it relates to their guests and prospects. As 2014 kicks off, it is not the norm for casinos to combine social media and big data in a way that can provide in-context analytical capabilities. While combining these is a challenge, it is a powerful way to wow guests and prospects, improve revenues and increase loyalty. Casinos will also benefit from understanding the impact that this ever-changing, media-driven environment can have on their brand and reputation.

These next phases must address managing all guest interactions in a way that will create an omni-channel guest experience. Casinos that take advantage of big data and social analytics to provide a consistent experience to guests across channels—from slot machines and tables to retail stores, restaurants and hotel rooms—will establish themselves as innovators and leaders. This will enable guests to easily and freely move around the casino and always have their preferences and likes at the forefront of their experience.

Offline batch analytics and real-time analytics will drive how casinos treat and fulfill their guests’ every need. Analytics will drive a continuous guest dialogue that leverages batch and real-time omni-channel marketing to support intelligent guest interaction management. Guests will be delighted by their experience as it will be relevant, timely and in the manner they expect. This new analytical approach is important as the next-generation guest experience will need to support several interaction channels that address the guests’ constantly changing interaction habits. Casinos must also take into account that their guests are actually telling them how they want to be treated, what they like and dislike, and what expectations they have through social media. Maybe just as important, their social networks of friends are also making this information available. Casinos must learn to leverage this mass of incoming data to make more intelligent marketing decisions in realtime.

The casino guest experience will continue to evolve, but it will be within a new model that uses more detailed social data and big data analysis to drives an even closer one-to-one relationship. This evolving relationship will be powered by a more sophisticated guest profile that enhances the methods casinos use to treat each guest in a more personal way. The approach to how casinos can promote and leverage player’s club and loyalty programs will be vastly enhanced by using more real-time data. The guest profile will be able to drive a new level of communication and interaction across all channels in play within a casino property.

Imagine a guest that is playing his or her favorite slot machine and a personalized offer is displayed on the gaming screen or on the voucher used to cash out. These personal offers can vary from food and beverage specials to free plays on targeted slots. Casinos using heat-mapping technology will be able to leverage this real-time, contextual data to help promote other exciting games that fit the guest’s profile. Information for guest profiles will be gathered from many different back-end systems, and real-time analytical processes will determine the key elements of profile data and guest attributes. These processes are able to combine historical data and social profile data with contextual data, such as things happening with the guest at a specific gaming device or location. By using analytics to sift through the vast amounts of social profile data, casinos will begin establishing new methods to act upon guest behavioral trends.

For this personalized experience, in addition to the analytic tools, casinos will also need to continue to deploy technology that can manage the complexities of real-time offer arbitration and delivery simultaneously across multiple guest touch points, including social media. With instant access to guest sentiments, casinos will be able to stay ahead of the curve and get real-time responses through the many guest interaction channels.