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Does Your Players Club Need an Annual Checkup?

Check-up

Measure how healthy your club is, and diagnose how to make it better

A casino players club is one of the biggest line items in your marketing budget every year. Point redemption, comps, mail offers, member events and promotions, and staffing our club – we’re talking major dollars to keep a loyalty program running. As Dr. Phil might say, “How’s that working for you?” Is your club a competitive advantage in your market, or are you just like everyone else? Are you leveraging the club benefits that are most valued by your customers and focusing your communications on your strengths?

The problem is that many casinos don’t have the information they need to keep their club at optimum health. They’re running their club on autopilot – keep the monthly mailer out, monitor redemption and costs, track carded play and new member sign-ups, and send out those “we haven’t seen you in a while” letters on a regular schedule.

While this is all important, we’re relying on the type of data that simply quantifies and doesn’t explain “why.” Here are some other questions that data can answer:

1. How do your customers rank their key drivers for visiting a casino?

Would you be surprised to know that “Players Club Membership” is almost always in the top three drivers when people are asked what motivates them to visit a casino, and it is often ranked Number One? That’s good news for casino marketers, because it justifies the importance of what we’re spending on our club, and confirms that our loyalty program is a key tool to leverage visits from both existing and potential members.

2. How important is your club in driving visits to your casino?

Let’s say that a survey of your customers shows that Players Club Membership is the second most important reason for choosing to visit a casino in your market. Now let’s say that your customers rank membership at your players club as number five in reasons why they choose to visit your casino. This could be a serious red flag about your casino’s club.

If club membership ranks at number two as a driver in your market, but your casino’s club ranks fifth as a driver, then you have to investigate whether your club is below par in your market. While there is a possibility that you have other casino attributes, such as outstanding food, an exceptional entertainment venue or other strong competitive advantages, that’s probably not the case. The strongest likelihood is that your competitors have better clubs than you do, at least as perceived by your customers. So, how do you know what your competitors are doing better, and what you need to do to improve?

3. Ask your customers to rank attributes of your club and of your top competitors’ clubs.

This question can be asked in a matrix format so that it’s easy for your customers to provide a lot of information quickly. Here’s an example format that would be customized for every casino.

It’s important to know how your club is ranked in your market, and the only way to find this out is by asking your customers. Getting this information is inexpensive and fast with online survey software, such as QuestionPro and Survey Monkey. This type of survey software only costs about $100 a month for unlimited use, and is becoming a key tool in marketing departments. Other common uses of this software include customer satisfaction surveys, post-promotion customer evaluations, new member surveys, attitude and awareness surveys, and employee engagement/satisfaction surveys for the HR department.

BEWARE OF THIS COMMON MISTAKE

When you conduct a players club survey, there is key information that you should look for, but is often forgotten. Your players club point system is a critical component, so you need to hone in on how this is perceived by your players. In most of the surveys I’ve conducted on players clubs, a result that shows up time and again is that many players know how many points it takes to redeem $1. What hardly any players know is how many dollars of coin-in it takes to earn one point.

Here’s an example of how this can hurt you if you’re not aware of it and don’t know how to counter it:

  • Casino A has a point formula of $3 coin-in equals one point, and it takes 100 points to earn 1 redemption dollar.
  • Casino B is a key competitor and has a point formula of $6 coin-in equals one point and it takes 50 points to earn one redemption dollar.

Both casinos have exactly the same reinvestment percentage, but players in that market ranked Casino B as the best because they perceive that it is twice as easy to earn redemption dollars at Casino B (50 points = 1 redemption dollar at Casino B vs. 100 points = 1 redemption dollar at Casino A). I’ve worked at casinos where they had a competitive points system, but decided to change it to make it seem more generous without changing the reinvestment ratio. The other alternative is to educate players about the entire points formula, not just how many points it takes for every redemption dollar.

KNOW WHERE YOU STAND

The final component of your annual players club checkup is a competitive analysis. In addition to point formulas, make a chart of what your casino and each of your key competitors is offering:

  • How many tiers in their club, and how do you achieve tier status?
  • Are they offering military discounts and, if so, what are the discounts?
  • Do they have a seniors program and, if so, what are the benefits?
  • Do you have a choice of using points for cash back or free play?
  • Anything else that is offered by you and your competitors.

Once you’ve gotten survey data from your customers and collected competitor information, you can then make informed decisions about what your club needs. You know your strengths, so you can promote those, and you can fix your weaknesses to become more competitive and profitable. If you’d like more information about how Raving can conduct this type of survey for your casino, or teach your staff how to run these annual surveys, just contact Amy Hergenrother at [email protected], or call 775-329-7864.

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.