How Creating this Power Team Can Maximize Return and Minimize Over-Investment
Slots are our primary product and how casinos make most of their money. However, we tend to treat our players as one-dimensional. What that means is that in most of our marketing, the slot products are not differentiated.
Think of the amazing opportunities that could be created if we developed a powerful relationship between the marketing and slot departments. I am not talking about a relationship that only involves a nod in the hallway or a glance across a conference table. I am talking about creating a collaborative relationship where each party plays a critical role in creating strategy and evaluation. I am talking about a relationship where each department is held accountable, where there are shared beneficial and measurable results.
The Lay of the Land
Generally, the slot department evaluates game performance based on win per unit, win per section, and win per type, but rarely collaborates with marketing to drill down to which specific players are playing the game. This results in games being moved or taken off the floor that could potentially displace high-worth players. Conversely, marketing sends out offers using stock slot photos, when communication could be customized to a player’s game preferences which, in turn, could be an effective way to improve new game performance.
According to a Raving NEXT pre-conference survey in January 2019, none of the marketing and analytics attendees said that they have a role in developing slot floor layout or hold. Here are the questions we should be asking our organizations:
1. How do we bridge the gap between slots and marketing to ensure we are getting the maximum return for our organization and to resist redundant reinvestment?
2. How could player segmentation change by graphing a player’s loyalty pattern at the game? Hint: ultimately, it would allow us to deliver more timely and relevant incentives. No more generic slot photos, but real game recommendations by player.
Improving the Guest Experience
Casino departments must work closely to improve the guest experience since we can’t control the payouts on a game. When we move games, it impacts the player’s experience. Leaving the player hunting for their favorite game or searching for a similar game, which is typically done by putting money in and hitting spin to see if it “feels” like the one that is no longer there. Casinos should establish steps to prepare for and communicate slot floor changes in order to avoid player frustration. Conversions could become celebrated events to announce new, exciting products.
Kevin Parker, with Interblock Gaming believes the reason behind the disconnect between gaming departments and marketing – as it applies to slot selection – is communications or lack of communication. The removal of a unit from the gaming floor is not only based on the win per unit consistently underperforming, but the availability of the parts, data requirements and necessary expertise required to keep the game operational.
While the marketing department is driving revenue by ensuring players are happy when they arrive on property, the slot operator is ensuring the facility can attract and hold the attention of the players by providing the best product mix designed to sustain the hold percentage on the games. Thus meeting budgetary requirements while managing costs.
Marketers who work with slots to evaluate the impact free play has on the hold of the game can quickly become the hero to the slot team. This conversation could start with a strong case to allow carded play on all of your machines. Many slot operators do not allow free play on revenue share machines on the floor. The reasoning behind this decision is based on the perception that we are already pushing some of our players from owned games to games whose revenue we need to share without providing additional benefit to the property. You have the ability to show them the actual impact or benefit the revenue share products bring to your floor, which in turn gives them a better picture of their player’s behavior and aids in their product selection. Build the trust with the slot team through verifiable data, and the end result will make your job much easier!
This article was originally published in the April 2019 issue of Casino Journal.