Marketing

Private Label your own “Casino” Energy Drink???

Casino innovation is rare these days in the casino industry.  Unfortunately our industry has been labeled as a copy cat industry since we tend to copy more than we create.  There is nothing wrong with that as long as it is legal and everyone benefits.  However, there is still plenty of room for creativity and innovation in casinos.  This month’s kudos for casino innovation goes to Gianfranco Scordato, CEO of Gran Casino Costa Brava in Spain.  Gian and his team at Gran Casino Costa Brava are the first casino management team that I am aware of in Europe to make an innovative decision to private label an energy drink for their casino.

It is an intriguing concept which required further investigation because they focused on their Poker Players.  It is quite interesting when one considers that the beverage industry in the United States alone is now a U.S. $60 billion per year industry.  Energy drinks are the fastest growing segment of this market.  Ten years ago energy drink sales in the United States were only $12 million for the year.  Last year, energy drink sales topped $12.5 billion and are increasing rapidly.  That represents phenomenal growth for any industry and a good opportunity for casinos around the world.  According to the “Energy Drinks and Shots: Market Trends in the U.S.”, sales of energy drinks and shots will grow to a value of $21.5 billion by 2017.

So, why a private label an energy drink in a casino?  According to Gianfranco their casino currently gives away or sells a huge number of cans of energy drink every month to either customers playing Poker or playing on the casino floor as well as in their various restaurants or lounges. His investigation revealed that the energy drinks were being consumed by younger casino customers and also by their Asian casino customers.  Both of these market segments are very high on their list of priority markets in their strategic marketing plan.  They want to increase the percentage of younger players and have started to vary their entertainment as well in an effort to be more appealing to them.  Gianfranco also commented:

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By |January 7th, 2015|Asian Gaming, Asian Marketing, Casino Energy Drinks, Casino Marketing, Casino Profitability, Casino Promotions, Marketing, Miscellaneous|Comments Off on Private Label your own “Casino” Energy Drink???

Casino Marketing for Dummies

I recently took up digital photography and wanted to learn more about how to improve my photos.  I went to the book store to look for an instructional book.  I looked in the photography section and I purchased a book titled “Digital Photography for Dummies” because it was written for an inexperienced new user.  I have used the “Dummies” books before to learn about many new subjects of interest.  Having worked in the casino industry for thirty five years primarily in casino marketing I realize that most of what I know today came from “on-the-job”, hands-on experience.  I am currently self-employed as a casino consultant specializing in all aspects of casino marketing.  I have written and published numerous articles over the years about casino marketing.  Never-the-less, I still feel that I am always learning new things about casino marketing and try to share them openly especially with younger folks new to the casino industry.

I receive numerous requests every month for help from young people who want to break into the casino marketing field, learn about casino junkets, better understand Asian casino marketing or who want to learn more to improve their present skills.  As a result of this I now realize that there is not a great deal of information available for young people who want to learn about casino marketing.  Therefore I have decided to try to offer some helpful recommendations and suggestions.

First, I think it is important for people to realize that it is often very difficult and frustrating to break into casino marketing in one of the better positions unless you have some unusual skill set, past work experience or speak a desired foreign language.  Most of the larger casinos around the world usually try to promote from within in order to develop career paths for their own hard working, dedicated, loyal employees. Marketing seems to be one of the more glamorous desirable positions that many people want.  Consequently, one strategy is to just get hired first by your company of choice; hopefully for a lower ranked position within the marketing division, and watch for any postings or listings of new open positions that the casino wants to fill.  It is a great way to learn from within and to climb the corporate ladder to a higher, more desirable marketing position.  […]

By |October 24th, 2013|Asian Casino Marketing, Asian Marketing, Casino Consulting, Casino Formula for Success, Casino Management, Casino Marketing, Casino Psychology, Marketing|Comments Off on Casino Marketing for Dummies

Value – A Simple Word that all of your Players Understand Well – Do you?

One of my favorite sayings is, “The operation was a success but the patient still died.”  Oftentimes, in today’s highly competitive casino industry, balancing common sense with value or perceived value in a highly regulated environment can make the difference between success or having your patient (the customer) die (or disappear).  This may sound strange but one of my friends named Dennis Conrad who I think is one of the better casino marketing consultants (besides myself) in the casino industry today, also has a favorite expression; “Doing business today is not about making money, it is about creating value”.  I totally agree with Dennis.

One time, I received a telephone call from a small player that I knew quite well on a personal basis.  He called me to tell me that he was sorry but that he was going to have to cancel his reservation at Foxwoods.  I asked him why, and he informed me that he was offered a better deal from another casino.  He told me that he received a discount coupon in the mail and that he could use that extra savings for play in the casino.  The $20 difference in room rates represented value to him.  I was also intrigued because this customer was own brother.  So much for loyalty in the casino industry today; value won.  This made me think for a moment about what else do we take for granted that we often see day in and day out that may be perceived as “value” by our customers.  Every casino in the world has either direct or indirect competitors depending upon their location.

Foxwoods was rapidly approaching its annual strategic planning sessions. Therefore, I decided to issue a challenge to all Foxwoods management throughout the organization to first take a good hard look at our own operation within each of their own operating divisions and then to make at least three personal visits to our direct competitors or any other competitors on either a local or a regional basis.  I discussed this with our CEO, who immediately recognized the thought process, and issued a personal memo to all management to support our new Value Project and to accept the challenge. […]

By |October 14th, 2013|Casino Formula for Success, Casino Marketing, Casino Marketing Strategy, Casino Profitability, Marketing, Miscellaneous|Comments Off on Value – A Simple Word that all of your Players Understand Well – Do you?

Asian Casino Marketing: I’m not Chinese, I am Vietnamese

Asian Casino Marketing is not as easy as it sounds.  In fact, it is a fairly complicated process and if not performed properly it can actually be perceived as offensive to the intended recipients. There is an old expression in Asia that when translated goes something like this, “Asia is not Asia”.  When you think about it you begin to better understand its subtle message; one size does not fit all and Asia is neither one country nor one culture.  Asia is a vast melting pot of numerous different countries, languages and cultures.  Some of them have marked differences based upon thousands of years of history and cultural evolution.  Asians are extremely nationalistic and proud of their own cultures and customs.  Therefore, it is extremely offensive to generalize all Asians as one in the same.  They are not.  Successful casino marketers will understand this up front and make every effort to research their target markets before jumping into any new Asian marketing campaign.

Chinese is normally the largest Asian culture in the United States but this may vary when segmented by geographic locations or from city to city.  In some instances, Vietnamese or another Asian culture may dominate on a local basis close a particular casino.  Never-the-less, many uninformed casino marketing managers still insist upon copying and implementing marketing strategies specifically developed to target and satisfy Chinese gamblers.  However, this approach may backfire on you and actually be offensive if your Asian players are not Chinese.  The cultural mix of Asian players residing near your casino may vary dramatically.  Do your homework first to determine if you want to attract Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, Malaysian, or other Asian players. […]

By |October 10th, 2013|Asian Casino Marketing, Asian Marketing, Casino Profitability, High-roller, Junket Reps, Marketing|Comments Off on Asian Casino Marketing: I’m not Chinese, I am Vietnamese

When is a High-Roller actually High Risk?

 

INTRODUCTION 
There are almost 600 casinos in the United States and several thousand around the world.  Every one of them probably has a different interpretation of what a high roller is.  It is an interesting and controversial subject that is all relative to each casinos VCL.  VCL is one of the many variable factors that can affect the way a casino would view their interpretation of a high roller.  In other words, one size doesn’t fit all when evaluating high rollers.  Therefore, I think is important to review VCL first and hopefully clear up some of the many misconceptions that are out there about high rollers and casinos. 
Do you know your casino’s VCL?  VCL stands for “Volatility Comfort Level”.  For that matter, do you know what your own personal Volatility Comfort Level is?  For example, if you went to a Roulette Table with a $1,000 bankroll, would you be comfortable betting $1000 or 1000 Pounds Sterling straight up on a number that pays 35 to 1 odds?  This represents high risk but high potential reward as well as a high VCL.   Or, on the other hand, would you be more comfortable betting only $10 on Black or Red which is an even money bet with minimal risk but also minimal potential reward or low VCL.   
Simply stated, the player’s need for risk-oriented betting parameters and the casino’s tolerance for risk in relation to potential reward is what VCL is all about for both the player and the casino.  It is one of the subtle influencing factors that can have a dramatic effect upon a player’s real or perceived value in a casino.  It can also be a competitive factor as casinos use betting limits as a means to attract and compete for players.  In terms of bottom line it can dramatically influence the casino’s profitability as well over the short and mid-term thereby potentially affecting cash flow, and stock prices.  From purely a selfish point of view issues directly or indirectly related to volatility can affect the job security for the casino executives having to make these day-to-day decisions.    […]

By |March 29th, 2013|Casino Junkets, Casino Marketing, Casino Profitability, High-roller, Marketing, Table Games, VIP Player|Comments Off on When is a High-Roller actually High Risk?

Leprosy, Ebola Virus, Bubonic Plague and Problem Gaming

 

What do they all have in common?  Probably not too much but how else do you focus ones attention on such horrible diseases.  One could possibly argue that Leprosy, Ebola Virus and Bubonic Plague are not common illnesses but never-the-less their effects can be both devastating and catastrophic.  Problem gaming is also an illness that can also have catastrophic consequences not only for the victim but also for the innocent families of the victims.  Nobody likes to talk about negative topics and therefore it is often easier to avoid talking about them or even worse, pretending that they do not exist.So, who really cares about problem gaming?  I do for one and fortunately most responsible casino executives and managers also care about it.  In recent years the casino industry overall has begun to take a much more proactive rather than reactive approach to the way they handle problem gaming.  Senior management does seem to understand all of the various issues.  However, as an industry we still have a way to go to properly educate as many employees as possible in the gaming industry.   

I used the term educate rather than train for how we deal with our employees.  We train horses and we train dogs but we educate people.  Therefore, an on-going progressive educational program about problem gaming is one of the keys to success.  The gaming industry in general needs to be commended on their efforts in recent years to properly train their staff to recognize the early signs of problem gaming to allow management an opportunity for intervention before it is too late.  […]

By |February 24th, 2013|Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Casino Psychology, Marketing, Miscellaneous, Problem Gaming|Comments Off on Leprosy, Ebola Virus, Bubonic Plague and Problem Gaming

Physics, Psychology and the Casino Industry

The other day my wife called me and asked me what I was doing.  I gave her the standard one word answer – “working”.  She then asked me what I was thinking.  I gave her the standard one word answer – “nothing”.  We often joke back and forth like this but basically she was curious as to what I was doing and what I was thinking that day.  I then told her that I had a meeting with one of our Table Game Shift Managers. She questioned me about what a Vice President of Casino Marketing and a Casino Shift Manager would talk about on a rainy day?  I told her that at xxxxx Casino we discuss normal casino business matters as well as some very unusual and different things such as physics and psychology.  She couldn’t tell if I was joking or serious.  We are very fortunate to have a lot of very bright and creative people on our team here at xxxxx.  Ken is one of them.  He always challenges me with unusual questions which I enjoy.  At our meeting, we had an interesting discussion about behavioral habits and the way certain players develop some very unusual gaming habits.  This caused us both to wonder why? […]

By |February 20th, 2013|Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Casino Psychology, Marketing, Miscellaneous|Comments Off on Physics, Psychology and the Casino Industry

Optimize Room Occupancy to Maximize Casino Revenues

Managing a casino resort today is much more complicated than in the past.  Before, the primary emphasis was always on game security and preventing internal theft. Today, the emphasis is more on maximizing bottom line profitability.  Many casino operators have had to review their operating philosophies in many different areas in order to achieve this new objective.  With the help of various technological improvements in surveillance equipment, casinos have been able to reduce man power and payroll for the area of game security.  This reduction in payroll has obviously helped improve bottom line profits.

Along these same lines, an often overlooked area for helping to tweak bottom line profitability is an area that I refer to as optimization of room occupancy levels as well as the occupants themselves.  Here at xxxxxx Casino we find that it is important for us to balance the ratio of comp to cash room revenue.  Many people will argue that is better to fill the hotel with all casino customers and comp all of their room nights.  However, the problem is that many of these customers play in the casino using casino credit.  That means that their markers may not come due for 45 to 90 days or longer depending upon the gaming jurisdiction and regulations.  In the meantime, the casino still has to pay out huge cash disbursements each week to cover payroll, taxes, utilities, vendors, etc.  I don’t think your employees or your vendors would want to accept a partial cash payment and a partial comp dollar certificate or I.O.U. note if the casino did not have sufficient cash flow that week to cover all obligations.  Therefore, managing cash to comp ratios is an important function today in any large casino hotel operation. […]

By |February 20th, 2013|Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Marketing|Comments Off on Optimize Room Occupancy to Maximize Casino Revenues

When, Why and How to “Fire” a Customer

For those of you that continue to follow my series of articles on Casino Marketing, you have heard me over and over say that the casino business today is not about making money, it is about creating value.  I sincerely believe that because people are not stupid.  Human beings all are motivated by basically the same things.  Value is one of the top motivators when it comes to selection or shopping.  However, from the casino operator’s perspective, we do have to pay attention to bottom line profitability.  Creating “Value” will help to bring customers to your casino.  Managing that business properly to make a profit oftentimes involves a completely different set of criteria.

Nobody ever wants to lose business or lose customers.  However, not all business and not all customers are good for your casino’s overall well being.  For example, I don’t think anyone would ever dispute firing a customer or excluding a customer that is abusive to your staff.  We value our employees and want them to be treated fairly and appropriately by both fellow employees and by our customers.  We operate with a zero tolerance for any type of sexual, racial or physical abuse of our staff by customers as well as by fellow team members.  We also look very carefully at verbal abuse and warn customers that we do not appreciate nor tolerate inappropriate behavior directed at our staff.  We place customers on our exclusion list every week for such behavior.  They are given a formal warning that if they return to the property that we will consider it criminal trespass and that they will be arrested.  Once again, we view this seriously and we do arrest individuals who try to test our warnings and exclusion process.

There are also other times when a casino may want to end a relationship with a customer.  Ending a relationship sounds so much better than “firing” a customer but basically they are the same.  So, when does a casino want or need to fire a customer?  The answer is only after every method has been used to try to salvage the customer and the problem still exists.  Most of these problems are related to cheating or questionable behavior but some of them are also related to profitability.  Cheating is not always clear cut and conclusive.  Sometimes the player may make mistakes.  In those situations it is up to the Pit Boss to speak to the customer and explain what is considered to be appropriate and correct.  In other words, issue a warning.  We document all such warnings in our computer in the Comments Section of our Rating System.  This way we can track the patron to see if there is a pattern to their behavior. […]

By |February 7th, 2013|Casino Marketing, Marketing, Slot Marketing, Table Games|Comments Off on When, Why and How to “Fire” a Customer

Understanding or Confusion with Online Poker and Gaming

Casino operators rush to online poker, but confusion is everywhere.  After attending the 2012 G2E Conference in Las Vegas and speaking with many casino operators and casino executives about the future of online Poker and online Gaming, it was very obvious that many were thinking very seriously about how to get involved. It was also very obvious that most of them were confused and unsure as how to proceed. Many felt that if they did not get involved quickly in some capacity or other that they may miss out on perhaps one of the most important Internet business opportunities of a lifetime as well as the future growth and survival of their own casino companies. They were all acutely aware that the casino industry as well as their own operations were going to change in the future and that they needed to prepare now for that coming change or get left out in the cold.

Once again the most obvious characteristic from all of this was confusion. There was confusion from both the casino operators and also confusion from the online casino providers. It seemed that many of the new online providers did not take the time to understand the fact that they needed to be conscious of and aware of what the land-based casino operators and casino properties were really looking for.  This was even more obvious by the fact that many casino operators did not actually know themselves other than that they knew that they needed to be considering online gaming in one form or another.

Why is there such urgency among casino operators to carve out market share in either the online social gaming or online gambling spaces? According to a recent H2 Gambling Capital report, if US legalization of Internet gambling were to pass, it is projected to generate more than $14 billion in gross gaming revenue within a year, rising to $27 billion within five years.  That’s a real motivator for any casino operator to want to get involved in online real-money gambling, even if their state, or states in which they have properties, has not yet passed or isn’t even presently considering online gambling legislation. […]

By |February 1st, 2013|Casino Marketing, Casino Web Marketing, Marketing, Online Casino Marketing, Online Gaming, Online Poker, Play for Fun Poker, Uncategorised|Comments Off on Understanding or Confusion with Online Poker and Gaming