Casinos are rocking it with billions of dollars flowing in every year. In 2021, US gambling revenue hit a record $53 billion dollars according to a report by the American Gaming Association. The same research shows that an estimated 4.2 billion people gamble per year. That’s a lot of continuous influx of business adding to the bottom line. But how do they keep business coming in year after year?
How They Do It
Casinos depend on a steady flow of business in order to keep the doors open and employees busy. That is why the gambling industry is continually searching for ways to improve their marketing strategies. They’ve had years of practice and they understand what works and what doesn’t work.
The following six strategies are among the latest that businesses in the gambling industry use. These are keys they’ve adopted to bring in more patrons through their casino doors. Other hospitality businesses can learn from casinos what strategies work best and how to implement them.
1. Make it Easy to be Found
The first step in marketing any business is to make it easy for people to find you. Casinos are no different except that they are competing with other casinos within the same location. The key is to be in front of the eyes of prospects as much and as long as possible. Obviously, the internet is the clear choice for marketing, but casinos also use a lot of direct mail campaigning.
Every hospitality business wants to be at the top of the list when a potential customer searches online. To do this, casinos focus on perfecting their online SEO strategies. They strive to optimize their online content for keywords related to their location, amenities, events and unique offerings.
To reach the top of the search list, casinos have to be sure to adhere to Google’s policies. This includes, “Gambling ads must target approved countries, have a landing page displaying information about responsible gambling. And of course, never target minors.
2. Understand the Why
Casino operators studied the reasons why people come to their establishments. They then use this information to target-market to those customers so they come back again and again. This is why if you’ve frequented a casino for longer than a day, you usually receive mail inviting you back. Often there is a tantalizing incentive like a free meal or a night’s stay in the hotel. Sometimes patrons even receive tokens for slot machines or chips for playing poker, based on the customer’s history.
If the casino, (or your hospitality business), understands why a customer visits, it is easier to communicate with them. You now know what makes them happy or satisfied and can customize a marketing piece accordingly. Casinos understand that after Merle and Betty get back home to Florida, they are basking in the fun they had. They might not consider another trip to the casinos for quite a while. That’s why it’s important to keep that feeling fresh in their minds. Direct mailing along with comp items works great for the casino.
3. Consider Your Amenities
Casinos are notorious for comping rooms, food, poker chips and other things for many of their high-rollers. But what about the $25 one-arm bandits? What do they get after they get home? A top-tier customer may be able to eat in the buffet or steakhouse without opening their wallets. But what about the other customers? Is there anything they get?
The fact is that there are plenty of things that can be comped for those customers as well. Look at all your amenities. Is there anything that is underutilized that the $25 or $50 customer might be interested in? Consider comping those things for the not-so-deep pocket patrons. The point is that you want to create a great, well-balanced experience to benefit your operation and the customers.
4. Get Emotional
Like most other hospitality businesses, casinos provide a “feel good” experience. There is gaming, eating and drinking, and entertainment. The key is to replicate those feelings. By doing so, you can improve your casino’s marketing results and keep customers coming back for more. The same is true for restaurants, bars, hotels, golf resorts and more. Striving to duplicate those good emotions sparks creativity in finding more feel good experiences. Here is just a sample of what casinos use:
- Reward loyal customers with exclusive offers and special perks
- Respond to positive feedback in social media posts with offers for more experiences in the future
- If a customer redeems an offer, offer another deal right away
- Offer apologies where appropriate and go above and beyond to make it right for the customer.
- Respond to customer complaints and negative reviews with compassionate care. Encourage referrals and reviews right after a positive experience, such as winning a game or enjoying a great meal.
5. Stay In-Tune with Technology
The competition in the world of casinos is fierce. For offline gambling, games come at a standard number with a particular number of tables, slots and roulettes. There are only so many types of games being developed. The casino with the most technologically advanced games typically attract the most visitors. That’s because these technologies ensure that casinos stay enjoyable, secure, and offer a good user experience.
Caesars Entertainment, MGM Grand, and The Venetian have their hands in online gambling. That’s because they know the value of utilizing the latest technology. But they apply the same value to their on the ground casinos as well. They have to in order to keep up with their competition. Hospitality customers today expect the latest in technology whether it is keyless rooms, contactless payments or do-it-yourself check-ins.
6. Create Partnerships
Casinos know the value of partnerships. They partner with airlines, hotels, trade associations, restaurants and many more. They host events at discounted rates and use their online presence—both social and gambling—to attract new business. Casinos have learned to leverage partnerships to continually bring in new and repeat business.
Other hospitality businesses can do the same. For example, a restaurant can set aside meeting space for the Rotary Club or other organization and offer discounts. Golf resorts can lure in the National Electrical Contractors Association for their annual outing. Airlines, travel organizations and tourist destinations do this all the time. Developing partnerships with others ensures a steady flow of business over time.
Casinos use proven marketing strategies that can help them expand their business in every direction. But they also rely on their brand to speak for them. Currently there are 466 casinos operating in the US. Names like Wynn Resorts, Bellagio, Atlantis, and MGM are all respected names. But they didn’t get to that level overnight. It was through creative consistent marketing using the six steps above that helped build their brand. And it’s the brand that brings in new and repeat customers year after year.