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The Evolution of Digital Strategies in Hospitality

Rosalie Stahley, Vice President, Digital Strategy & Innovation, ComOps, discusses how hotels and casinos have transformed their digital strategies over the past decade, enhancing guest experiences and operational efficiency amidst technological challenges.

Over the past decade, the digital strategies of hotels and casinos have undergone a significant transformation, driven by technological advancements and shifting guest expectations. While technology often streamlines processes, improves the guest experience, and contributes to profitability, the increasingly rapid pace of technological change can be a difficult hurdle for hoteliers to overcome. However, navigating this challenge is crucial for hospitality professionals who want to remain competitive in today's dynamic hospitality landscape. 

Rosalie Stahley, Vice President, Digital Strategy & Innovation at ComOps has seen her fair share of tech evolution within hospitality. Prior to ComOps, Stahley worked for many years at Seminole Gaming and Borgata Hotel & Casino, giving her some unique insight into how hotel and casino digital strategies have evolved in the last decade, and what are some of the largest issues hoteliers face when creating or maintaining a digital strategy. 


How have hotel and casino digital strategies evolved in the last decade?

Stahley: Over the past decade, we've seen remarkable advancements in the digital strategies of hotels and casinos, with mobile app integration being the most transformative. Smartphone apps now enable hotel guests to handle everything from booking and check-in/check-out to ordering room service and using digital room keys. In casinos, mobile apps have revolutionized the experience by allowing players to ‘card-in’ to slot machines via QR codes or Bluetooth and use cashless wallets, providing greater convenience for the player and increased profitability for the casino operator.

Data analytics have also made a huge impact, allowing marketers to tailor guest experiences and optimize operations based on real data, which has become key to boosting guest satisfaction and loyalty. 

AI and automation are game-changers too, with chatbots and automated systems making everything from reservations to customer service smoother and more efficient. Automated communications, such as SMS and email, keep guests informed and engaged before, during, and after their stay, from pre-stay emails to booking confirmations to personalized offers and post-stay surveys. These technologies streamline operations and enhance the guest experience by providing timely, relevant information and support, reducing wait times and freeing up staff to focus on more complex tasks.

And let's not forget about security and privacy; as digital interactions have increased, ensuring robust cybersecurity measures to protect guest data has become absolutely essential.

At Borgata, I was fortunate to work under forward-thinking leadership that recognized the importance of collecting first-party data to personalize the guest experience. We were pioneers in the industry, implementing itinerary-based booking and offering the ability to view and book casino and hotel offers online, which significantly enhanced our competitive edge.


What seems to be the largest challenge facing hotels/casinos today when it comes to either creating or maintaining a digital strategy?

Stahley: In my opinion, the biggest challenge hotels and casinos face today in creating or maintaining a digital strategy is keeping up with the rapid pace of technological change. Integrating the latest innovations into existing legacy systems can be quite daunting, especially since they are hard to integrate with new technologies. 

Casinos capture vast amounts of data on their players, and managing and analyzing this data to extract actionable insights requires sophisticated tools and expertise. Investing in new technologies, whether it be a CRM or CDP, demands significant capital, and proving a clear return on investment can be difficult for some.  Ensuring the protection of this data from breaches and cyber-attacks is becoming increasingly complex.  Additionally, ensuring staff are well-trained to use these new technologies effectively is essential for the success of any digital strategy. 

At Seminole Hard Rock, we faced significant challenges integrating new digital solutions with some legacy systems. We were tasked with integrating and unifying many siloed, disparate hospitality and casino systems to create a cohesive, all-in-one loyalty platform that included all Hard Rock cafes, hotels, and casinos across the globe. We overcame this by prioritizing scalable, flexible solutions and investing in training programs to ensure smooth transitions for all team members.

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Rosalie Stahley is a hospitality and casino veteran with more than twenty years of experience in Digital development, strategy and innovation. Before joining ComOps, Rosalie was the Vice President of Digital Marketing & Ecommerce at Seminole Hard Rock Support Services, where she led all aspects of digital for six (6) Seminole Gaming properties located in Florida as well as the Hard Rock portfolio of Cafes, Hotels and Casinos globally. She was awarded the esteemed CEO Employee of the Year in 2019 for her vision and implementation of a best-in-class proprietary CRM & Offer management platform with an integrated customer facing loyalty website. Prior to working at Seminole, she worked at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ as Director of Digital Marketing where she led their digital transformation, creating an integrated online booking experience and loyalty website. She was also instrumental in the launch of their online social and real-money gaming platforms.

Rosalie is a strategic leader with a passion for providing user-centric, seamless digital experiences. She is a dynamic and creative innovator with proven success in digital strategy, customer experience, marketing communications and analytics. She brings a broad range of capabilities and perspectives for defining, building, and delivering transformation initiatives.

With her experience in both information technology and marketing roles, Rosalie brings a unique combination of technical and digital marketing knowledge to ComOps.

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