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Breaking It Down

Breaking It Down

Database marketing is a monster. With a myriad of intricacies, the strategies within can be overwhelming to those outside of the gaming world. They can even be overwhelming to those inside the gaming world who don’t have experience in that department. It’s an ever-evolving science that provides a tremendous value to any casino. It’s a practice that generates millions in annual revenue. It rewards loyalty and drives trip frequency. It’s brilliant.

Why then, do we not apply the experience we’ve gleaned from our successes in database marketing to player development and hyper-segment each host book?

It’s imperative that the host team and the database teams work in tandem, as each player book is essentially a micro-casino. If an ADT threshold is set at $500 to be eligible for coding, we acknowledge that there are many players who are at that minimum; however, there are also a number of players who have a substantially higher daily worth, and a bulk of the hosted group is somewhere in the middle. Hyper-segmentation is the key to adequately serving these segments.

Database incorporates battle-zone marketing to aggressively increase market share from competitors on a grand scale. From the player development perspective, the same practices can be directly applied to a highly targeted player segment. Hosts can continue to segment this player group to identify opportunities within a coded group of players.

Think of a unique game that your property has for which your VIP players have a preference. In some markets, this could even be as simple as having table games as an option. How far away is the next property that offers that same game? Which players are equidistant between your property and them? The host team has a need to pay special attention to this band of players and entice them to the property.

At this point, from the player’s perspective, it comes down to the guest experience they have at your property. Same travel time. Same game experience. Different host relationship.

Segmenting by geography is nothing new. Sadly, not many hosts are using it as leverage to maximize performance each quarter. The player development team can easily strategize by focusing on business that needs more lead time for a visit or invitation and zero in on those with easier access near the end of a quarter where guests may need as short as a day’s notice to respond with a visit. This geographic low-hanging fruit can be the difference between a made goal and a missed goal at quarter’s end.

Comp redemption is a delicate dance between host and player. Hosts want to reward VIPs for their loyalty. Players want to get as much as they can, to the point of a negative reinvestment if they can take it that far. They’re not to be blamed. Essentially, hosts must find that sweet spot where the casino can make a profit and its VIPs can have a great time and feel appreciated.

Hosts can analyze comp redemption to identify behaviors commonly associated with a player’s life cycle. By segmenting a group of players who have a recent spike in redemption, they may be able to identify someone who has started to feel like they need more for their play.

Maybe there has been a correlating spike in actual win on his or her recent trips. Theoretical win helps the casino internally, but the player doesn’t have a theoretical wallet. Players feel actual loss and want to be rewarded when they leave money in a machine or on a table. We can speculate that someone who is redeeming comps at a higher rate with no associated increase in play is someone who may be near the busting point.

As an industry, there has to be an ethical awareness on all levels, including redemption of comps and incentives.

Another major benefit of database marketing is the ability to identify incliners and decliners—both critical segments to a host team. Even more attention should be directed toward a decliner or inactive, because fewer visits by these high-worth players have a greater impact.

The inactive players also happen to be the segment your competitors are most eager to entice away from your property. To prevent this, hosts must be deeply familiar with their players’ regular patterns and behaviors. Not knowing about a change in visit frequency until 90 days or even 18 months has passed is a huge missed opportunity. Redirecting negative growth as it arises will always be a more viable option than trying to reactivate an account.

Common wisdom says it takes approximately 21 days for something to become a habit. If a player who typically visits five times per week is gone for 21 days, it’s highly likely that they have created a new habit elsewhere. There’s an opportunity to break that new habit if it’s caught early, but virtually no chance if the guest is classified as inactive (and the host only notified) at the 90-day mark. Most players taper off slowly; good hosts who notice the pattern before it becomes a habit have the best chance to implement a recovery effort to regain that player’s loyalty.

There are countless ways to segment groups of players and target them with personalized offers, but it requires host teams to be empowered with the right tools and technology. You wouldn’t go to a surgeon whose hospital didn’t provide a scalpel. Don’t send your hosts out without the tools needed to own their business and increase your market share. Give them the data and the knowledge to create an unparalleled guest experience.