Recent events have certainly turned the hospitality industry on its head, but all is not lost — especially for casinos. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 60% of gamblers ages 29 and under and 56% ages 30 to 45 said they’d go to casinos after they reopened. Although this shows promise, nothing should be left to chance. Casinos must become more strategic with their marketing efforts to win back market share. Otherwise, they risk losing business to competitors — especially in travel destinations with clusters of casinos.
Consumer respondents to HT’s 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study ranked free Wi-Fi as being more important to them than even positive consumer reviews/high ratings on third-party booking websites.
If you’re wondering how to improve your casino’s business, start with these strategic casino marketing efforts:
1. Market beyond the gaming floor.
Although Baby Boomers and Generation Xers might spend 80% of their casino money on gaming, not all casino visitors seek the same type of enjoyment. In fact, Millennials earmark 70% of their travel budget for food, entertainment, and nongaming services.
Any casino marketing strategy worth its weight will serve content to entertainment seekers and hardcore gamers alike. Perhaps an upcoming concert or event, menu item at your restaurant, or theme night at your club will entice visitors. Understand what each consumer segment wants, and then craft relevant messaging around it.
2. Target events and groups.
Your casino probably has event and entertainment spaces, making it the perfect venue for larger functions. Weddings, conferences, business retreats, and even family reunions can each serve as casino marketing opportunities. It all comes down to positioning and messaging for targeting such events. And if you have a team on hand to assist with room reservations, plan activities, and coordinate special needs, that’s even better. Marketing casino services such as these can make booking events at your venue more attractive.
3. Leverage customer reviews.
Consumers trust other consumers more than brands, meaning potential guests will likely make decisions on whether to visit your establishment based on more than marketing promises. So enable reviews on your website and monitor feedback across channels, always responding in a timely manner. Encourage guests to share their experiences and tag your venue in social posts — online word-of-mouth is digital marketing for casinos at its finest. Also, use reviews in marketing materials and record testimonials. This gives you the opportunity to employ more than just static images in your online casino marketing strategy.
4. Partner with those outside the industry.
Esports isn’t going anywhere, and partnering with an esports team or organization can provide the opportunity to reach not only a larger audience, but also a more diverse one. The same can be said for partnering with gaming tech startups. Adding a virtual reality or augmented reality component to your entertainment services could grab the interest of Millennial or Generation Z guests. Similarly, exploring the online gambling realm also has the potential to broaden your appeal and customer base.
5. Meet customers where they are.
“Meeting customers where they are” has become a bit cliched, but no truer words have been stated when it comes to a great online casino marketing strategy. Over-the-top (or OTT) channels such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other online streaming services are where you’ll find potential guests consuming media. These channels offer targeting opportunities to reach wider audiences or niche groups.
Like almost any other aspect of the travel industry, consumers visit casinos for a variety of reasons. Get to know your customers, figure out what makes them tick, and explore opportunities to expand your reach beyond the “traditional” base. That’s how to improve casino business — if not draw more than just players to your door.
About the Author
Whit Kinser is a digital strategist at CMG Local Solutions, a marketing agency providing customized business consulting and marketing services for companies around the country. For more than 15 years, Whit has worked with clients to boost their revenue, improve their visibility, and grow their brand.