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Follow the Customer

Next-gen technology for the millennial guest experience

Follow the Customer

For millennials like me, the smartphone is not just a device, but an appendage through which we experience and interact with the rest of the world.

Look at your last phone bill. How many minutes did you use talking? I bet not a lot. But you’re on your phone constantly—texting, surfing the web to check sports scores or to see what your friends are up to on Facebook. You are actually communicating on your phone; you’re just not doing much talking. Millennials prefer this mobile connectivity. We prefer to send a text, tweet or snap instead of calling.

For casino hotels and resorts, mobile devices are also key to the millennial guest experience—MGE. Such mobility offers the essential connection we desire, and savvy operators are leveraging it at these five phases during the MGE.

1. Pre-engagement is arguably the most important phase of the MGE. It’s your first point of contact and the prime reason to have an app for mobile devices. Enabling guests to connect to their social media networks improves the likelihood that they will select your property for their stay. It also speeds up the booking process. Leveraging links—for example, “Click here to log in with Facebook”—is more likely to get a click from a millennial than a form, even a web form.

2. Arrivals is where we see a lot of emerging technology, from geolocation enabling you to know when the guest has set foot on property to wireless door locks that allow guests to bypass the front desk and head straight to their room. Being connected provides the opportunity to upsell guests to a suite or a room with a view. Just imagine as the guest, stepping off the plane and getting a welcome message with an enticing offer to upgrade your hotel room, or a special offer on a show—an offer that’s tailored just for you. 

Once on property, guests are alerted about the status of their room, bing—“Mr. Andrews, we see you’re early and we don’t have your room quite ready yet. Please enjoy this promo code for $5 slots, or use it toward drinks at our lounge while you wait. We’ll text you once your room is ready.”

Knowing your guest has arrived also allows you to optimize the housekeeping staff, ensuring the guest waiting on the casino floor gets his or her room in a timely manner.

3. During the guest stay, mobile connectivity provides a number of new opportunities to gain guest wallet share. A match-play offer can increase guest spend. So can pushing notifications about show promotions or spa offerings, or providing a digital coupon for a free pastry with every coffee purchase.

Millennial guests remain connected at a tech-savvy property… Need a cocktail at the cabana? It’s just a text away. Don’t want to leave your slot while it’s hot, but you really need a beverage? It’s just a text away. Is it an unusually slow day at the spa? Why not blast out a promotion? Guests can simply click the link and select their spa treatment and time.

When something goes wrong, a millennial is more likely to post about it on social media, rather than going through the effort of actually talking to someone to make it right. It’s just the way the millennial guest thinks and acts. When you’re connected to your guests, and you show it by pushing alerts and proactively communicating via mobile technology, it provides the guest a chance to send a quick text to your concierge, giving you the opportunity to make it right before it blows up on social media.

4. Upon departure—bing, “We hope you enjoyed your stay. Would you like to have our bellmen hold your bags while you enjoy breakfast at our café?”

As a guest, imagine receiving this text note on your day of departure. Imagine also checking out of your hotel via your mobile device. This is the level of service expected—this is what keeps millennials coming back.

As an operator, imagine your housekeeping team knowing immediately when a guest has departed so they can optimize their workflow. 

5. Post-departure is the ideal time to persuade millennial guests to return. However, what influenced previous generations won’t work the same for millennials. No longer will reward points be enough to keep them coming back, and bombarding them with too many promotions results in a negative impression.

You want to make sure your property is top-of-mind for the future. Following the previously discussed steps 1-4, that is, leveraging mobile communications and better connecting to your guests—even anticipating their needs during their stay—creates a lasting impression. This is a new era. The new way of managing the guest experience.

As a millennial, I believe I speak for other, like-minded guests in my generation when I say these mobile technology-driven scenarios are my dream when it comes to booking my next stay at a casino hotel or resort.

Enabling mobile devices to provide the communication and simplicity we millennials so desperately desire will set your property apart. The good news is that today’s technology leaders are engineering solutions with the MGE in mind. Moving forward, serving this generation of guests who have entirely new expectations, you’ll need a system that can connect all these services, including SMS, online check-in, remote keys/entry and remote check-out.

Mobile, next-gen technology is essential to attracting new business and gaining guest loyalty. This is hospitality reimagined.

Kevin Hibbs is a senior program manager at Agilysys, a leading technology company providing innovative software solutions for property management, analytics, point-of-sale (POS) and mobile solutions and services to the hospitality industry. Hibbs has served in hospitality and the hospitality technology space for 15 years.

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