At Eureka Casinos, a growing and innovative hospitality company with properties in Nevada and New Hampshire, technology plays a big role in boosting revenue. According to Alexander Koch, who oversees acquisitions, information systems and special projects, it begins when guests locate a property online, whether through a Google search, a travel blog, or in some other way. “The new customer journey typically begins with the flick of a finger on a mobile device,” he said. “Then, the guest visits our website to find out about amenities and room availability.”
According to Koch, having a smart and mobile-first web design goes a long way toward converting visitors into bonafide guests. It also ensures that returning customers receive offers based on past purchasing behavior. Eureka’s online booking agent, iHotelier from Amadeus, provides an intuitive journey by showing pictures of properties and rooms and presenting guests with options such as upgrades and add-ons. “Guests end up selecting their own upsell,” he said. “It not only empowers them but also makes it easier for us to deliver exactly what they want.”
Additionally, Eureka has refined its email marketing strategy. “Once a reservation is made, we extend special offers, such as dining reservations,” he said. "It’s another way we use technology smartly to increase revenue and enhance the guest experience.”
REDUCING FRICTION, INCREASING VALUE
Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, which owns and operates two popular casino properties as well as three large non-gaming hotels in Minnesota, adopted mobile key and digital check-in during the pandemic, and both have proven popular with guests. “Customers are already familiar with the technology and have come to expect it,” said Ryan McGrath, vice president of the company's Digital Information Group.
Recently, Grand Casino Mille Lacs launched mobile food ordering capabilities within its app. “We’re placing digital tools in the hands of guests to make it simple for them to enjoy our amenities,” he said, adding that streamlining systems is vital to boosting profitability. “When you can reduce friction for guests and give them opportunities to participate in offers quickly and easily, you’ll see an increase in incremental revenue.”
Delaware North, a leading regional casino operator with gaming destinations in New York, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, West Virginia and Ohio, uses its ancillary systems to refine marketing efforts and drive additional revenue. "We use data from the PMS, POS and other systems to gain an understanding of guests' actual spend," said Christopher O'Malley, senior director of information technology. "The more systems we can extract data from and tie back to the guest, the more accurate we can be in marketing to that customer and driving additional visits."
The company also is implementing a new revenue management system to optimize hotel use. “This will help ensure that our complimentary rooms are filled with the right guests for the right length of time,” he said. "In short, the revenue management system can provide insight into setting proper rates based on historical play." At The Brook, Eureka’s New Hampshire gaming destination and the state’s largest retail sportsbook location, the InfoGenesis POS system by Agilysys enables guests to reserve couch seating and order food and drink items from their phones simply by scanning a QR code. Servers know where guests are located based on their reservation information. The POS system also enables guests to see images of each menu selection. “We’ve had great success with the system,” Koch said. “It’s easy for customers to use, and the food and beverage images encourage ordering. It has helped boost guest spending as well as satisfaction.”
Particularly innovative is Eureka’s use of telepresence robots as security staff during busy times. The robots, from GoBe Robots, are remote-controlled wheeled devices with wireless internet connectivity that enable guests to view and hear operators while allowing operators to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ what is happening at the device’s location. Using the robots, the company’s Nevada-based surveillance team can keep an eye on the New Hampshire property from afar. “It’s like Facetime on wheels,” Koch said. "The devices are driven around and interact with the guests in areas that need to be checked." The robots have saved the company labor capital. “Rather than hiring a security officer for a full shift, we use the remote presence devices to monitor busy time-limited periods, such as when a big game lets out," he explained. The robots also assist guests, helping them locate exits, restrooms, their favorite games and restaurants. “From a customer standpoint, the robots are hugely popular. A lot of selfies are taken with them.”
PERSONALIZATION IS KEY TO LOYALTY
In the highly competitive gaming environment, casino operators increasingly use guest data to grow loyalty numbers. “Casinos are fortunate to have such huge volumes of data that we can turn into guest information — everything from what customers like to eat to how much time they spend playing table games,” Koch said. “We can leverage that data to create highly targeted offers that guests perceive as valuable.”
Eureka’s loyalty program is tiered, which not only provides an incentive for members to increase their gaming but also allows the company to focus its resources on servicing higher revenue customers. “The key to loyalty is knowing guests at a more personal level and offering them what they like,” he said. “We’re constantly aggregating guest data in order to provide more personalized incentives.”
According to McGrath, Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley were among the first casinos in their market to enable loyalty guests to get exclusive and personalized rates simply by logging into the website with their loyalty information. “You see this in really large properties, but it hasn’t been widely adopted in smaller to mid-sized markets,” he said. “We’re thrilled to offer this option to our loyalty members.”
Delaware North’s casino loyalty programs have evolved to include cross-marketing to other properties in the company’s portfolio, which includes sporting venues, national park properties, and unique destinations like Lizard Island Resort in Australia. The company’s loyalty program gives members the option to redeem points for trips to many of these non-gaming locations. “The cross-marketing with our subsidiaries has transformed our loyalty program into a revenue driver, not only for our casino properties but also for Delaware North as an enterprise,” O’Malley said.
Moreover, the company uses more granular data to create highly personalized offers. “In the past, we used broad segments to classify customers who received certain promotions,” he said. “Now, we microsegment the data to provide offers that are tailored to specific guest interests.” Armed with the knowledge that a guest has never redeemed a particular offer, for example, the company will tweak that offer or replace it with another one.
As a result, guest satisfaction has soared and repeat visits have increased. It’s a no-brainer, O’Malley concluded. “When you give customers what they want, the likelihood that they will return increases, and there’s a good chance you’ll convert them into guests for life.”