by Dennis Conrad
The Concept Of Stalled Revenue Streams
By Dennis Conrad
Casino marketing is typically about growing casino revenue. Sometimes, truth be told, in highly competitive markets, casino marketing may be about slowing the decline in casino revenue. And nowadays, in the modern day casino resort, casino marketing can even be about growing revenues in areas outside of the casino, like hotel, food and beverage, retail or entertainment. Hey, we don’t care what cash register the money goes into!
But normally, casino marketing is about selling more casino gambling to casino customers. And usually that marketing falls under the categories of acquisition, retention, growth and reactivation.
Casinos do a lot of marketing around acquisition, even if sometimes there are few customers in a locale left to acquire. Heavy advertising, buying lists, bus marketing, junket rep development and big clubwide promotions often have acquisition as a goal.
Retention and growth are also common casino marketing strategies and many casinos have become more sophisticated at it in recent years. Usually direct mail campaigns, VIP events, play-extending casino floor promotions and even the players club itself, have retention and growth as goals. Keep what you have and incent them to play a little more.
There is less activity around reactivation, and I’m not sure why that is. Oh sure, most casino marketing efforts include a “Come Back, Where The Heck Ya Been?” mailing to inactives, or sometimes even some telemarketing, but from my experience, reactivation is either neglected or not pursued aggressively enough. Hey, they were customers once!
So acquisition, retention, growth and reactivation are the standard objectives of most casino marketing efforts today, but I have been noodling lately on a concept that I feel has long been ignored, has immediate payback and just might make you a casino marketing star. It’s the concept of Stalled Revenue Streams, and heck, let’s call it SRS and maybe it can take its place among CRM, RFM, ROI and other casino marketing acronyms.
The concept of Stalled Revenue Streams is simple: find an area in your gaming operation where customer spending is reduced, slowed or stopped altogether and FIX IT! And while that may not be as exciting as doing a direct mail campaign with 100 segmentation levels, I assure you that it may have an equally large impact on gaming revenue.
So you don’t know where your SRS’s are? Well not to worry, I’ve been noticing this stuff as well as the progressive casinos that are doing something about them. And here are some of the key dammed-up streams:
1. Players Leaving Their Slot Machines To Go Eat – this may be the biggest SRS of all. Players get hungry and leave their slot machine. Yes, some players want to take a break and dine, but others would gladly munch while they play. And casinos like Barona Valley Ranch, Three Rivers in Oregon, Gold Dust West in Reno, and several others are now offering slotside dining. And so should you – revenue stream unstalled!
2. Lines At ATM’s – most casinos have two or three ATM’s (bigger casinos may have six or eight), and when it’s busy, it becomes a big SRS. Players in lines are not SPENDING. And that applies to restaurant lines (give ‘em a beeper!), cage lines, show lines, any lines at all. But Barona has dozens of ATM’s (no waiting!) and other casinos have also attacked various lines with pagers, more innovative use of staff, process re-design, line passes and a host of “SRS attack devices.”
3. Holding Slot Machines For Players Taking A Break – this is a tricky SRS as (good) players do take breaks from extended slot play and don’t want others hijacking the machine that they have “primed.” Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t reserve a player’s slot machine, but you may think creatively here to unplug this SRS. What about paying the player to allow someone else to play the slot during their break? What about variable incentives to get the breaking player back sooner? What about signs to quickly direct players to a NON-RESERVED slot machine of the same denomination and model?
4. SRS Technology Snags or Inefficiencies – bill validators with less than optimal acceptance rates; kiosks that don’t work half the time; ticket printers that are jamming more than the industry standard – fix these snags and more and you’ll have customers playing more and grappling with technology less.
5. Uncomfortable Playing Experience – this could be painful slot stools or drafty playing areas, or surly dealers that run off players. In fact, you may not even notice these stalled revenue streams, because they have the trappings of “normal business.”
Stalled Revenue Streams are insidious. And while it may not be as sexy to address SRS’s as conduct a $1 million casino promotion, unclogging these revenue streams may just be the most valuable marketing result you can achieve at your casino. So start flushing!
Date Posted: 04-May-2008
Dennis Conrad is the President and Chief Strategist of Raving Consulting Company, a full service marketing company specializing in assisting gaming organizations. He can be reached at 775-329-7864 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Raving’s web site at www.ravingconsulting.com.