If there was a Holy Grail of casino marketing what would it be?  Chances are it would be a tried and true tactic that, once you’ve pulled in players to visit and play the slots at your property, unfailingly gets them to increase the amount of time they spend on the device.  I’m pretty sure it would also be accompanied by the sounds of choirs of angels from above.  Perhaps not that last part, but it wouldn’t be that surprising.

If only there was such a thing.  The truth of the matter is there is no consistently successful, fool-proof method that will get your players to extend the amount of time they spend on their slot machine while they’re on site.  Before I lose you due to this disheartening dose of doom and gloom, know that while the Holy Grail of casino marketing doesn’t exist per se, there are casinos out there that have come darn close to discovering their own version of the Grail.  Here’s what they’ve learned works best with their customers.

  1. Practice Random Acts of Rewarding .  A casino in the Pacific Northwest has seen a significant change in their behavior of their slot players after implementing a couponing/bonusing system that delivers randomly awarded tickets to their players – while they’re at the machine.  On days when a player wins a ticket, their playing time and average spend increases by significant margins, well above what can be accounted for from their daily slot winnings.  In addition, the casino has found that actual dollar amount the players win from the ticket is not the sole motivation behind their continued play.  Just having the experience of receiving the award tickets right at their games is fulfilling enough act to give the players a motivation to play further to recreate the experience.
  2. Be Flexible.  As every market and property is different, casino operators need versatile solutions that can be tailored to the particular desires of their guests.  One such casino found their couponing/bonusing system was vital in empowering them to produce relevant promotions that really spoke to their slot players, such as coupons for free play or free meals.  By delivering the promotions via the slot – while the players are seated at the machine – the system delivers a tangible motivator in a way that players easily understand and respond to.
  3. One Size Does Not Fit All.  Designing highly successful promotions can be tricky.  They have to be attractive enough to drive players to spend more time on device while, at the same time, be beneficial to the casino from a ROI/revenue standpoint.  A Southern casino has found that the most dramatic benefit of their couponing/bonusing system is its ability to run in “stealth mode”, test running a promotion with various thresholds to work out the kinks and pinpoint the optimum setting for the promotion. Doing so eliminates the daunting task of having to change a promotion mid-stream due to a failure in calculating a casino cost or not anticipating that guests can sometimes be smarter than the casino marketing team.

Finding the best tactic for increasing time on device for your slot players doesn’t need to be a continuous quest for an elusive solution.   Simply look to the success experienced at other properties for guidance on what promotions will really hit home with your guests.

Tracey Chernay