An Underutilized Tool for a Competitive Advantage


Casinos that have a competitive advantage are those that can see the possibilities of using research in ways that their competitors may not be doing yet – which group do you fall into?

Let’s start with a short quiz …

1. Does your casino use research to answer these questions?

  • How satisfied are our customers with the various components of our casino resort?” This is an easy one. Raving’s 1st Annual Tribal Gaming National Marketing Survey showed that 79% of casinos are using satisfaction surveys that can be really helpfuls in identifying what you’re doing right and what needs to be improved.
  • “How do players in our market area compare us to our competitors?” This is another easy one. Competitive research is a tool being used by 61% of casinos. This can be as sophisticated or as simple as you want to make it.
  • “How is our brand perceived by people in our market area?” Brand assessment research is being conducted by 45% of casinos. This can tell you how well your advertising and marketing is working.

If you answered “yes,” your property is utilizing research like several other casinos. Hopefully, your casino is using satisfaction surveys, competitive analysis, brand assessments and other types of research to provide you with valuable business intelligence.

Casinos that have a competitive advantage are those that can see the possibilities of using research in ways that their competitors may not be doing yet.

The next questions may make you think a little harder. Online survey software has made highly reliable research affordable, fast and flexible. Here are some scenarios that are common in casinos and are ways that your property can benefit from conducting research.

2. Have you thought about utilizing research for these types of situations?

  • Your new food and beverage director wants to make some changes in your buffet menu. He said his menu ideas were a big hit but that was in another part of the country and you’re just not sure how receptive your customers would be.
  • You’re going to launch a new customer service training program. You know that you’ve got service issues now but how do you measure the success of your new program?
  • You’re planning to add an amenity. What will it be? Parking garage, nightclub, RV park or a new restaurant? You know what the construction numbers will be for each option but which one will bring more customers to your property?
  • The promotion you did last summer was a huge success for slot revenue but the players club manager reported that customers complained and said they wouldn’t do it again. What was it that they didn’t like and how can you make sure the promotion will be a financial success if you do it again?
  • Your HR director said that you have to do something to improve employee morale. Is it really that bad? And why!? You thought everything was going pretty well. How can you find out how your employees really feel about their jobs and what needs to change?

Your casino has probably encountered at least one of the five scenarios above. As you considered how you would solve the problem, conducting research should have been the first tool you brought out. There are countless ways that research can make your property more successful.

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.