Discover how smart phones could be the key to improving guest engagement. The following is an extract from an article by Deana Scott, CEO, Raving Consulting. Data and comments are based on the US casino model, however, recommendations could easily be adapted to Australian club loyalty programs.

As a society, we are obsessed with our phones and mobile devices have transformed how we interact in all aspects of our life. We can do everything on our phone, except interact with our gaming patrons. Imagine the possibilities if we embrace this technology to deliver our loyalty club experience.

As a culture, we have a love-hate relationship with loyalty programs. According to Colloquy, an American publisher of research on customer loyalty, there are 3.3 BILLION loyalty program memberships in the U.S. To put that in perspective, that is approximately 29, on average, per household.

According to Raving’s 2016 Indian Gaming Marketing Survey, 81% of casino respondents cited having a tiered players club. Raving’s Senior Research Partner, Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D., has conducted hundreds of casino surveys and although a majority of players rank club benefits as one of the top three visit-drivers, they also cite high levels of dissatisfaction with the loyalty clubs in general.

Keeping in mind that people have to sign up to be part of a players club in the US casino model this research is based on – here are a few more statistics to consider:

  • 85% of loyalty program members prefer interacting with their favourite loyalty program online

  • 72% of consumers said they would be more likely to sign up for a loyalty program if the process was simplified by text message

  • 70% of consumers do not sign up for a loyalty program due to the inconvenience and time required to complete registration.

These statistics further show that we need to modernise our player’s club process. If casino or club loyalty programs are competing with 28 other cards in a player’s purse, then the club must create a true relationship with a guest. Since our guests already have a relationship with their phone, let’s use it to our advantage:

  1. Replace the plastic card entirely.It’s time to start talking to our EGM vendors about simplifying the tracking process. The technology is out there, we see it in other markets and industries that offer card-less systems. Why can’t our members securely enter their member’s card codes or use their phone directly at the game …or at the restaurant or bar or gym or hotel or any other place?
  1. Get rid of the lines.Don’t make your players stand in line to get a card, redeem or cash out. Offers should be downloadable at the game or on their device. Just like the airlines or Starbucks. Gone are the days a gamer should have to bring in a coupon to redeem an offer.
  1. Use mobile devices to provide machine-side serviceEquip your customer service or gaming floor team with mobile devices to receive push notifications based on a player’s transactions. For example; a player hits a $100 loss and a host or gaming supervisor is dispatched to stop by and says, “Welcome, can I get you a drink or something to eat from our snack menu?”
  1. Encourage your team to take photos of guests in the club or participating in promotions. The more photos they have at your club or casino having fun, the more they could post and share with their friends, spreading the word about your property.
  1. Most players don’t think we reward them enough. So how about pushing free games to their phone for chances to win additional points? This gamification can be cost effective and will increase engagement even after they leave our property.
  1. Use their property actions to deliver personalised offers via their deviceIf they ate in the steakhouse, don’t send them a buffet offer. Beacon and Geofencing technology make it possible to send personalised offers while on-property, or better yet, while your customer is at a competitor’s property.
  1. Issue company cell phones so your team can text and send photos to their guests. Many of the VIP casino hosts do this already, but there is no need to limit this personalised communication only to your top players.

If implemented correctly, our narcissistic obsession with our phones may be the answer to creating a club loyalty program that creates engagement and guest satisfaction.

Some of it is certainly worth thinking about and could all be created through a high-end app. Sure there are some apps now that are linked to Club loyalty programs, but they are mainly for members to check points and tiers and offers available.  They could do so much more and the technology to do so is available now, it just needs to be developed from a gaming focused perspective.


This article was originally published in the June 2017 issue of Casino Journal. You can also view this article as a pdf: Improving Loyalty Program May Just Be a Selfie Away.pdf