I was talking to someone on the tradeshow floor last week and asked them if they remembered the year there were two major gaming shows back to back in Las Vegas. I started in the gaming industry that year in 2001, when the G2E show emerged alongside the World Gaming Congress. Vendors weren’t sure which one to go to, and most chose both! The AGA settled that issue by buying out WGC in 2002.
Both shows directly followed 9/11.
Each year seems to have its own flavor and believe me, I don’t take it for granted that the icebreaker this year was, “How’s the show going for you?” Too many conversations during the last two decades have been started around tragedy or crisis; I remember the tradeshow floor post-Katrina in 2005, the sketchy years following the recession, and of course, the Las Vegas shooting last year.
These are the years we are reminded life doesn’t truly revolve around business; it’s about people and relationships. I thought about this as I walked the show with my colleague and marketing manager Gency, who is also 20 years my junior; she’s just starting her career in gaming. While she’s building her own network with other young exhibitors, so many people I learned from and started my career with have retired or are now planning for it. Weird.
CONVERSATIONS FROM THE FLOOR:
There’s always at least one exchange, one new person you’ll meet, or some buzz on the floor that stands out from the previous year. Here’s just a few thoughts from our Raving partners:
Janet Hawk, Raving Partner, Player Development and Marketing
Janet shared conversations from the attendees of her panel, Player Development Strategies to Increase Repeat Business From Customers Who Win or Lose: “It seems folks aren’t focusing on the EXPERIENCE. They focus on rewards, bonuses, free play, etc., not on relationships and the experience the guests have, win or lose. Also, there’s plenty of technology out there, but usage is low (i.e. mobile devices, CMS systems). Until that changes, there is no need to buy bigger or better; use what you have!
Justin Shank, Raving Partner, Social Gaming and Marketing
Justin noticed a heightened demand for improving overall digital presence. “In past years, there was a lot of talk but not much motivation to jump out and ask for digital marketing audits and assessments. As technologies continue to rapidly advance, it is apparent that without specific strategies and goals for reaching guests through digital marketing, we are being left behind. Casinos are hungrier than ever for digital marketing content, improved social media strategies, and utilizing online marketing tools.”
Steve Browne, Senior Raving Partner, Player Development and Guest Service
Steve also had some interesting takeaways from his Connecting Player Ratings and Marketing to Improve Player Reward Outcomes panel. “To me, the amazing thing that stuck out in the session was that hardly anybody is doing any type of spot rewarding of players while on property. They are all focused almost 100% on simply sending out rewards to try to drive a trip, but not rewarding players while on property to drive longer visits or more spend.”
Tom Osiecki, Raving Partner, Strategic Marketing
Tom noticed “The most frequent observation I heard was the changing nature of the attendees; in recent years, the influx of new faces (a good thing) and the growth of international attendees (also a good thing).”
AND OFF THE TRADESHOW FLOOR:
Five thousand buckaroos will be sent to our charity partner the Notah Begay III Foundation because of the generosity of Raving clients, Partners and good friends. A newer component to our poolside party at the Tuscany (we moved over in 2004 from the Stardust; how’s that for vintage trivia?), we take an optional donation when you RSVP to come for cocktails, music, pub games and enjoy our cigar lounge. THANK YOU to everyone who attended and donated. Ultimately, through grants, this $5,000 goes to repaving outdoor basketball courts; replacing worn equipment (dead basketballs, ripped nets, bats and baseballs); starting new after-school activity programs for latch key kids; providing clean water and healthy snacks; providing fresh vegetables through community gardens – you get the picture. Your generosity makes a difference!
AND FURTHERMORE, OUR THANKS AND SEE YOU SOON:
G2E is always a reminder how thankful we are for the opportunity to work with and collaborate with our valued clients and Partners. Thanks for letting us into your inboxes, your casinos, your operations, your conversations!
See you at next month’s Table Games Conference, Tribal Net and of course, please don’t wait too long to register for the very best, in-depth and longest-running conference for Tribal gaming, Raving NEXT: Indian Gaming Analytics and Marketing Conference, January 28-30, 2019, at Pechanga Resort Casino.