It is absolutely critical that bricks and mortar gaming properties start today to focus on preemptive reactivation to ensure as little erosion as possible when their best players can “get their fix” online. In the face of legal US online gaming, which will undoubtedly take hold in many more markets, some operators don’t seem to understand that a strong Player Development department can help them hold on to more share of wallet from many more of their most profitable guests.
Your higher-end, more affluent players may well be playing slots online already, though not for real money. Why wouldn’t they, if they could legally do so, give up a credit card number to fund a play bank for online gambling for real? If your guests aren’t already playing slots online, they are surely in the minority. I have personally witnessed guests who would, once their gaming wallet was depleted, break out their iPads and play slots online in the food court.
Yes, I know the casino gaming experience is, for many, about the social aspects and the excitement. (That’s why the folks I mentioned played online for free after they were out of gambling cash.) Tier cards are about prestige, and cliques of players on your gaming floor wave them around like badges of honor to show what big shot high rollers they are. (You know the ones I’m talking about.) These guests aren’t likely to play online much, but you may lose some wallet to online games in addition to the trips you lose to your competitor(s). (You know they’re promiscuous.) The guests who make up your Top 20% vary somewhat in their motivations, their preferences, and their gambling buddies, but all of them are likely cheating on you at least a little bit. A solid Player Development team can alleviate some of that cheating.
You know who you’re likely to lose to online gaming, right? The really good ones. The ones who sneak in during the wee hours. She calls a host from her car for a room, doesn’t stop playing to eat, doesn’t demand free drinks for friends, and dumps a ton of cash for a few blissful hours. Then she’s off. She doesn’t want mail, prefers no calls, and doesn’t give a hoot about any promotions or events you’re having. You will lose this player to an always-available at her fingertips (and private) option for spending her recreational dollars.
Unless! Unless she and her host are solid, that is. If she’s coming to your property, this player knows the host will clear the road for her. As soon as the host sees the caller ID, he knows just what to do. And she’ll keep coming back as long as he keeps doing what she asks so she’s free to just gamble and sleep. It’s a win-win.
But hosts can only do so much. Right? Has your property identified all the players like the one I described above? Are they all assigned to a host for care and feeding? Do YOU know who those players are? Are there other types of players (profiles, if you will) at your property who are at risk to online gaming? For example, poker may not be very profitable, but the loss of associated play in other areas might be painful to lose, especially if you lost a great many poker players.
If your hosts can’t tell you something about each of the players who make up your top 1000 players (sliced and diced by whatever metrics you prefer), there is work to be done. Hopefully, your team can do better than Top 1000. If they can’t, identify those people and get the hosts on the phones.
What’s that? Your hosts don’t have time to call the best 1000 players in your database over the next quarter? See the blog post I wrote about things that shouldn’t be on a host’s task list. You can’t prioritize the identification of those players right now? Then when you get a spare moment, run the numbers on your top 1000 and estimate how much revenue you’re leaving on the table if you lose just 10% of that play. Can you find the time now?
Get out your GPS, plot a course, and get the hosts rolling. Keep those players thinking about how much they like coming to your casino to play. Don’t let them forget that the personal touch is part of why they like your place. Remind them that you enjoy having them as your guest. Remind them all, and remind them now. At the very least, those who are able are likely to come to visit you again within a couple of weeks after their host calls. (Track it and see.) Best case scenario, your PD team grows some solid companionable relationships with the very best players you have, and everybody wins.