Guest Experience – The Last Differentiator: Part 2

This is the second of a three part series exploring the guest experience in casino resorts. The first installment focused on creating and delivering an exceptional guest experience – click here http://whitesandgaming.com/2017/06/guest-experience-vs-customer-service-2/ to view. This installment will discuss creating memorable experiences for guests; and, the final installment will cover guest experience technology.

As we develop the “Ultimate Guest Experience”, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. As discussed in the first part of this series, the guest experience encompasses all of the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and even touch. A great guest experience can be ruined by the sight of garbage overflowing from a trashcan or an audio system that is too loud. But there are other factors to consider as well.

Personalizing the guest experience should not be confused with personalized marketing. For over ten years, we have talked about things like laser-targeted marketing and one-to-one marketing, where an offer is customized to an individual guest’s preferences. While those marketing efforts can often be successful, that isn’t necessarily personalizing the experience.
Most everyone today will tell you that you have to create detailed profiles of your customers, learn their habits, and create a “personalized” experience for your guest. This typically results in a waiter writing “Happy Birthday Bob” on their dessert plate or a host calling or worse texting a guest “Happy Anniversary!”

This is where I will depart dramatically from this approach and offer a new concept for personalization: let the guest craft and personalize the experience themselves. The complete infiltration of technology into every aspect of our lives now offers the tools we need to allow for this customization and personalization. And who can know better than the guest themselves what will make a great experience? Of course, we will help by suggesting ideas and providing choices, but now the guest can create a truly unique experience.

Imagine a scenario where a guest is using your casino app to customize their experience at your casino resort and starts by purchasing tickets to see their favorite entertainer. As part of that purchase, they can also buy some memorabilia. Then, they are offered a chance for a private dinner with the band the night before the performance. They can also select to have one or more band members sign the memorabilia. They are also offered a chance to spend time with the band in the green room prior to the show, have VIP seating with bottle service, and even party with the band after the show. Not only does this create a robust revenue stream for the casino resort (and the band) but it creates a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the guest. It creates immediate and long-lasting brand equity for you casino.
By creating these kinds of options throughout the property, you can allow guests to personalize their entire visit, creating a truly unique experience for each guest. It is only limited by your imagination, and your investment in technology (which we’ll address in the final part of this series).

Many casinos have contracted an ailment called millennial fever. They are obsessed with trying to understand how to attract and retain this group, nearly the same size as baby-boomers. Unlike preceding generations that added technology to their daily routines and anticipated the introduction of gadgetry, millennials have had computers and mobile devices since birth. Allowing a personalized experience is one of the best ways to target millennials. From apps for buying tickets for entertainment to quick pay at restaurants and easy hotel check-in, you need to deploy apps and mobile technology throughout the property to immerse, innovate, and individualize the experience for millennials.
This approach is a differentiator, but it doesn’t come cheap. It requires a significant investment of time and money in technology, training, and marketing. But it is one of the last things you can offer to create a competitive advantage that builds and retains market share.

WhiteSand works with clients to create guest experience strategies that provide measurable results of increased revenues and greater market share. For more information, contact Jim Nickerson at 609-501-3374 or jnickerson@whitesandgaming.com.