Gifts

Five surefire ways to win over your guests with unconventional perks

“Our property is too small. We don’t have a showroom, hotel, fine dining, spa, pool…”

The list could go on and on. Trust me; you don’t have to be a mega destination casino resort (or even a mid-sized one!) to offer your guests a memorable experience. All those bells and whistles are great, but often, those types of amenities aren’t even what your guests are looking for!

There are many people who prefer frequenting smaller casinos. Why? The big boys are fine every now and then, but they like the homey feeling of their local place. It’s the “Cheers” effect … they wanna’ go where everyone knows their name (and the names of their pets, family members, how they like their coffee, etc.)!

So, what kind of things can you do for your guests to maintain loyalty when your property doesn’t have the amenities of the “other guys?” Let me share some successful ideas I have seen throughout the years:

1. Create a memory

I know an Executive Host who created a wonderful memory for a guest. It was the guest’s 40th birthday, and weeks ahead, the husband reached out to the host asking for ideas. Together, they were able to orchestrate a fun “treasure hunt” that began at their home. A car was sent to pick them up, with the first letter sitting on the back seat, explaining that she was now going on an adventure.

Each letter came with a present, as well as instructions for the next adventure, including a timeline/ itinerary for the weekend. The weekend was coordinated with all of the promos going on at the casino (reminding her to swipe at the kiosk, detailing when the drawings were, etc). When she got to her room, there were little presents hidden throughout the room (logo items that were on hand, nothing big – a key chain, pen, koozie and the like – but she had to find all 15 to go to the next step). Another letter had coupons for ice cream because her kids were with her (how much fun did they have?!). The host also involved other employees (people she always dealt with) … and they all loved it! The host asked the guest to take selfies along the way so that she would have the memories. They are still talking about it to this day!

2. Special souvenirs

Does your guest have a favorite slot machine? What about getting the belly glass and having it framed? We surprised a guest with this and she loved it. We even had some of her favorite employees sign the frame.

3. Community gift cards

This is really a great way to expand your players club benefits! Do a survey and find out what other places in the community your guests like to go. Then, go out and talk with them about purchasing gift cards. Guests can use their points at the players club to get the gift cards. It is truly a win-win for both businesses.

4. It’s the little things

There are really so many things that smaller properties can do that will leave a lasting impression and mean so much for your guests:

  • A special coffee cup (or any beverage cup)
  • A favorite candy delivered when they arrive
  • A good luck charm
  • A special handwritten card (birthday, congratulations, get well, etc.)

5. Hidden resources

  • Work with your vendors! Does your beverage vendor have a new product that they want to promote? They may help you create an event with the new product as a gift.
  • No hotel? Visit those in your area to see about discounts or reserving a small block. If you reserve a block, can you then participate in their points program? If so, you could then use those points to reward your guests.
  • No golf course? Talk with the local pros and see about a bill-back program (they bill the casino, you use guest points).

Here’s the deal: you don’t have to have all of the amenities that the big casinos have and you don’t have to “buy” your guests’ loyalty. Get to know them and learn what makes them tick! Then, find out how to meet their needs. And always remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them.

Janet Hawk

Janet Hawk