What Marketers Told Us at Raving NEXT

Raving NEXT 2019 think tank challenge

January 28 – 30, we held our 21st (yes TWENTY-FIRST!!!) Raving NEXT: Indian Gaming Analytics & Marketing Conference at Pechanga Resort Casino (see photos from the event here).

There’s a vast amount of information exchange and collaboration that happens at this event each year. It’s great stuff. We collect this data from our diverse group of attendees, from U.S. and First Nation Casinos covering over 50 unique gaming properties, prior to and during the event. Delegates represent senior positions with titles such as general manager, CMO and director of marketing, as well as positions across the board from market research analyst to players club manager and data analyst. This valuable information is released in a series of industry reports like the one you’re reading today.

A little background

For most conference programs – by necessity – the content is decided upon months in advance. Keynote speakers are secured; sessions and topics are built. However, focus can change in the industry during these months. By sending a pre-conference survey to our attendees immediately before the event, we can integrate their most current pain points and concerns into our sessions. By using live polling during sessions, we can access real-time information.

Secondly, everyone learns differently. What we’ve been told by our attendees is that the learning that really gives them the “ah-ha!” moments are one’s that come from group interactions, round tables, hands-on projects – not always traditional presentations and panels. Through these interactive sessions, we provide a learning and sharing environment where attendees benefit from the wealth of experience from their counterparts.

Finally, we take those top issues and have small groups work on solutions based on their experience and knowledge. You’ll be amazed what they come up with. The solutions to the issues below will be shared in future articles.

So, let’s get down to it. What did our attendees tell us this year? Here are three areas you’ll find interesting:

1. According to the pre-conference survey, the biggest issues facing our industry are:

  • Finding Qualified Staffing (42%)
  • Competition (32%)
  • Changing Technology and Lack of Amenities (tied) 25%

2. We also asked attendees to identify the three areas of most concern at their operations:

  • Analytics & Analysis and Strategic Planning both topped the list at 47%
  • Concerns around Marketing and Database Management (36%) was second
  • Social and Online Gaming came in third at 26%

3. Furthermore, we asked “What are the top technology additions implemented in the past 12 months? Select up to three that you’re seeing the best results.”

As you can see from the diagram to the right, Kiosks and Analytics Software were the top two answers.

What to make of this data?

How do these responses compare to what you are hearing from your team members at your casino? This information serves as an industry benchmark … is there something that surprises you? How are you allocating your resources to tackle staffing and changing amenities? Look for future articles on these issues based on solutions our attendees came up with.

More from the conference

We had quite a few inspiring moments at the conference; we had over 35 submissions to our Tribal Spirit of Giving Celebration (view all the entries in our January Solution Magazine) and we had five folks that were chosen for our Tribal Scholarship program. We’ve got a lot of stories to tell … look for them in the upcoming weeks.

We could not create such an impactful conference without the support of our exhibitors and sponsors, our presenters and facilitators, our amazing host property Pechanga Resort Casino and the support of Tribal gaming organizations from the U.S. and Canada. WE THANK YOU for helping us make our 21st Raving NEXT Conference one of the best.

Christine Faria