As Our Guests’ Wallets Have Tightened – How Do Casinos Respond To Players With Less Dispensable Income?

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It costs more each day to fill your vehicle at the pump. It costs more each week to fill your refrigerator with groceries. There is no escaping it, there is no avoiding it, so we must deal with it. Inflation is impacting the dispensable income of casino gamers.

The Cost of Inflation for Casino Operators

As inflation increases the price of goods and services, the buying power of the dollar decreases. This inevitably translates to less coin-in at slot machines, leaving casino operators looking for solutions to address the impact of inflation on their bottom line.

When factors outside of casino operators’ immediate control impact revenue, for example, the current state of the economy and inflation, mitigating these effects can be even more challenging. This environment can force operators to be more creative, work harder and smarter, and explore every option and avenue to continually drive revenue. These opportunities may include revamping marketing and advertising messaging, taking a deep dive into the company’s database, evaluating direct mail campaigns, ensuring Players Club benefits and promotions resonate with guests, and focusing on guest service. Taking this holistic approach to identifying opportunities can increase the chance of success.

Dynamic Messaging is Essential for Marketing and Advertising

When times are tight, consumers look for and migrate toward the best deals they can find. Ensure your messaging is resonating with your target guest during times when deciding where to spend reduced dispensable income becomes more difficult. Stay top-of-mind by continuing to be visible through various media and marketing channels. Do guests see value in your offerings? Is your messaging communicating that your casino is the best choice for their next gaming trip, overnight stay, or night out for dinner?

Dive into Your Database

So much opportunity lies within your casino’s database – and it’s all at the tips of your fingers. When was the last time you ran an in-depth reacquisition campaign? If it has been some time since reaching out to guests who have not been to the casino in the last twelve months, now is the time to reach out and contact them.

Create direct mail, email, telemarketing, or mobile campaigns targeting players whose trips have declined or stopped. Focus your initial efforts on guests who have not made a trip in the last month. The goal is to make sure that one month doesn’t turn into six, twelve, or more months without a trip.

Look for guests who have not returned or who have made fewer trips since COVID-19 began and invite them back. Let’s be honest – inflation impacts some guests more than others. Focus your efforts on guests who are impacted the least by the price of gas, groceries, or travel. Typically, these guests are in the top tiers of your database. Strengthen their monthly offers, add incremental offers, and build promotions exclusive to top tiers.

Check in on Your Players Club

If you’re not sure what the answer to that question is or what the answer used to be, then now is a good time to find out. It’s as easy as asking them. Simple surveys can yield great insights, and insights turned into actionable items will drive revenue. Guests will tell you what they want, and once you know what that is, you’ll be able to deliver it to them.

Reevaluate your promotions, identify the areas with the greatest opportunities, and act. If you are in a market with a lot of casino competitors, explore the option of a competitor coupon campaign. Gaining one more trip by driving a guest from the competition to your casino could yield significant incremental income. Amplify one trip across an entire database and the results would be immense. Geofencing campaigns targeted toward your competition’s properties can also drive incremental trips. The “turn around” offer your shared guest receives as they are pulling into the competition’s parking lot may be just enough to get them to turn around and drive to your casino.

Are Gas Stations Fueling Revenue?

Properties with gas stations have an advantage over those that don’t. With fuel prices at historic highs, leveraging your gas station could be the key difference between you and the competition. When a guest is deciding where to spend their next gaming day, remove the price of gas from the decision-making process and turn record high gas prices into an opportunity for added value.

Promotions designed to drive guests from the pump to the slot machine can serve two purposes: acquisition and loyalty. Set a threshold so that guests who purchase $XX at the pump receive $XX at the slot machine. This rewards guests who may already be members of your Players Club and may drive guests to the slot machines who may not be members of your Players Club. Earn & get gas cards, direct mail gas card offers, and promotional drawings for gas cards are all easy-to-execute promotions.

Remember, Service Always Sells

Lastly, focus on guest service and guest service training for team members. Bad experiences can impact revenue negatively. When times are tight, these impacts are amplified. Ensure steps are taken to mitigate the potential for negative guest service experiences. Refresher guest service training courses, team member morale, and rewards programs, and team member appreciation and acknowledgment programs are all essential tools to keep guests coming back during difficult times.

Exploring every option available to casino operators will ensure that nothing is being left to chance and the impact of factors outside of operators’ control can be mitigated. Continually ask yourself questions and if the answer poses an opportunity – take action.