Engaging players all of the time – Creating a sustainable cycle
Key to redefining the relationship with players is generating a cycle of engagement that keeps them immersed in the casino brand on a regular basis and for as long as possible. This cycle relies on integration with all forms of casino marketing/advertising, social media initiatives, offline marketing and direct mail. Five clear objectives help casinos develop this loyalty relationship:
1. Treat prospects as players who just haven’t spent yet
Create a prospect strategy that leverages most of the same tools that would be used to keep your players engaged, and offer the prospects real value for their loyalty. By getting to know them, converting them becomes much easier.
2. Provide a feature-rich, online/mobile loyalty portal at the same caliber of quality as the rest of the casino experiences
Although most casinos now offer the ability to verify points/tier/offers online or on mobile devices, consumers expect more. Casinos are entertainment providers, not transportation companies. As such, the online offering should be a natural extension of that entertainment brand, rather than simply a place to check point balances. As well, the experience should be aligned with the level of quality that players expect when they walk through the casino door. A sub-par online/mobile experience will detract from the brand as would dated décor, old slot machines or worn card tables.
3. Offer beneficial, brand-specific content within the portal
Contests, sweepstakes, surveys and valuable casino-specific tools can all play a significant role in engaging players and making them feel that the value they derive from their loyalty relationship is second to none. Creating a coordinated schedule of content and activities is mandatory in order to keep the player engagement at an all-time high. The more engaging activities that are offered, the more opportunities for active communication will be generated with players who aren’t playing. This is the single most important objective to transforming a loyalty program from causal to active.
4. Provide offers to encourage players to ‘visit’ before they leave the casino
Although casinos are extremely adept at offering players benefits that encourage them to walk through the casino doors, equally valuable are offers that encourage players to continue their casino experience after they have left. These can take the form of coupons to redeem online, mobile offers that ensure players keep the casino top of mind, or enticements that are redeemable from the comfort of their home. This comprises an integral part of a casino’s communication strategy in addition to current direct mail or electronic communication tactics. Although paradoxical, this point is crucial since players only spend a tiny fraction of their time within the casino environment. A successful loyalty relationship makes the most of the rest of a player’s time to ensure that the casino brand remains top of mind.
5. Personalize each experience
Once requiring massive manual analysis, personalization is now as simple as amassing player practices, preferences and metadata and using these to make every experience relevant to players. Casinos are very effective at using play data to tailor offers and experiences, but an effectively designed online/mobile experience results in significant amounts of further data regarding players’ preferences within and outside of the casino ecosystem. Using this data to hone in on what is important to a player helps make every interaction a personal one, resulting in quicker action and continuous engagement.
An engaging loyalty program encourages players to interact with the casino brand more frequently, resulting in them relying on more of the casino’ offerings for broader experiences – winning, partying, dining, entertainment, etc. Of course, if online gambling is in a casino’s future, having an online membership ready and willing to play is also invaluable to building a loyal, long term online following.