Using Research to Guide Decisions in the New Normal

Key areas that you should measure and sample questions to include in your guest surveys

Casinos nationwide began reopening in May, but business practices are far different than before COVID-19. Guest demographics are also changing, since older guests are more likely to be staying away from public places unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Now more than ever, casino management needs to understand what’s going on in players’ minds so that they can predict player behavior, adapt their changing business practices and messaging to best accommodate players, and use this information to develop new business models that maximize profitability in these challenging times.

For the foreseeable future, guest satisfaction surveys need to have new content and objectives. You also need to be sure that you’re segmenting respondents by age, frequency and geographic location, and comparing these profiles to pre-closing patterns to identify how your guest base has changed.

Here are some key areas that you should be measuring and sample questions to include in your guest surveys.

Note: Sample questions often use a standard five-point Likert scale with two negatives, a neutral and two positive answer choices.

1. Visitation patterns

Will your guests come back at all while COVID-19 is still a health threat? If they do come back, will it be as often as they did before or will there be new patterns?

Q. How likely are you to visit a casino in the next 30 days?

A. Definitely will not visit, Probably will not visit, Not sure if I will visit, Probably will visit, Definitely will visit

Q. How will COVID-19 impact your frequency of visits to a casino compared to how often you visited before this began?

A. Will not visit at all, Will visit less than I used to, Not sure how often I’ll visit, Will visit the same as I used to, Will visit more than I used to


2. Financial impact of Covid-19 on guests

What percent of your guests are in about the same financial situation as they were before COVID-19, what percent have lost income and what percent have gained income? Although not shown below, another question could ask how uncertainty about the economy may be impacting how guests feel about spending money on casino visits.

Q. What is your financial status now compared to before COVID-19 started?

A. I’m in much worse shape financially, I’m a little worse off, I’m not really sure how this has impacted me financially, I’m a little better off, I’m much better off now

3. Guest satisfaction with your new safety processes

For this type of question, the best format would be to list each line item then ask respondents to rate each item based on importance, then in the next question use the same format, but ask the guest to rate the item based on satisfaction. This is a technique often used in satisfaction surveys because it gives management a snapshot of what items are most important to guests. Management can then prioritize the items that guests rank as most important to ensure that the satisfaction rankings for those items are as high as possible.

Q. Please rank how important each of the following is to you when visiting ABC Casino:

Answer sample format:

Not at all important Not very important Neutral Somewhat important Very important
Hand sanitizer stations throughout casino
Team members wearing face masks
Team members wearing latex gloves

For the satisfaction question, the same table would be used. The question would be, “How satisfied are you with each of the following at ABC Casino?” The answer choices would be Very unsatisfied, Somewhat unsatisfied, Neutral, Somewhat satisfied, Very satisfied.

Additional areas to examine

Other areas you’ll need to examine are your gaming floor, promotions, entertainment, dining venues, hotel, retail and virtually every area of your operations that COVID-19 has impacted. Considering that some of the changes that casinos have been making could be in place long-term, it’s critical that casinos set up measurements to identify how their guest base is changing, what guests expect when they visit and how satisfied they are with your efforts.

It will also be more important than ever to cross tab the data from your survey so that you can look at responses by age and geographic groups to identify new patterns.

This is uncharted territory for all casinos, so there is no reference to use. You have to create your own measurements – through consumer surveys – so that you have reliable data to make the best decisions moving forward.

Deb Hilgeman
Deb Hilgeman 14 Articles