Paul Gordon, Senior Vice President of Sales at Rymax Marketing Services talks to Gambling Insider about utilising Millennials’ attraction to aspirational loyalty rewards and perceived ownership
How can tribal casinos more effectively draw in a younger clientele?
First we need to understand the complexities of this group and their financial challenges.
A new study on today’s millennials shows that they have more debt than ever [credit cards, student loans, and car payments]. Two-thirds of millennials aged 23 to 35 have at least one source of long-term debt, while one-third have more than one source. The under-40 crowd have student loan debt, at an average of $40,000, and the average salary for millennials is less than $35,000.
So gambling is not top of mind.
But entertainment is and the allure of the clubs, restaurants, bars and ancillary services are in high demand.
Tribal casinos need to stress “the experience” at their property and have a very strong social media campaign. This group lives for detailing every moment and is connected thru multiple on line sites.
Draw them to the entertainment and the initiation of gaming will follow.
A September 2016 study on Atlantic City revealed that millennials spend 2/3 less of their trip budget on gambling. How can younger players be encouraged to increase their spend in casinos?
The Player Rewards programs need to be integrated into the ancillary services. And the rewards need to be desirable. We stress in our programs products with high brand equity and the “latest and greatest” models. Offer them rewards that resonate with their life style: fashion items, wireless technology, and fitness technology. Our studies show that the psychological jump towards the redemption of items that you would ultimately buy increases the activity. Casinos need to move away from items with their logo on it or low priced disposable items. Treat all the players with aspirational brands.
To what extent would you say skill games are part of the answer here?
Skill games and electronic versions of blackjack and roulette are within this groups comfort zone of play. They grew up as “gamers” and have a desire for solitary play and sometimes communal play. They are comfortable with technology.
As these games are rolled out I believe that well known titles that this group grew up playing will emerge on the floor and be a tremendous draw.
Are tribal casinos at a greater risk from millennial apathy, due to not being coupled with the nightlife and entertainment offered in places such as Las Vegas?
Once you walk into any casino in the country, the Las Vegas experience can be enjoyed.
The bells are ringing, the lights are flashing, and the people are looking for fun and a few moments of escapism.
Tribal casinos need to understand that they are mostly talking to a local market player versus a destination player and as such, need to create the player loyalty environment that makes each trip special.
We are in casinos across the country and when the floor is well maintained and the employees are engaging the customers, success follows.
Does traditional casino gambling need to become a more social experience to attract millennials? If so, how can the industry go about achieving this?
Yes, “social” in terms of social media and the desire to have fun…………100%.
A 2016 study finds that Facebook continues to be America’s most popular social networking platform by a substantial margin: Nearly eight-in-ten online Americans (79%) now use Facebook, more than double the share that uses Twitter (24%), Pinterest (31%), Instagram (32%) or LinkedIn (29%).
And they visit the sites every day: Facebook 76%, Instagram 51%, Twitter 42%, Pinterest 25% and LinkedIn 18%.
Messaging sites on smartphones also continues to grow: 29% of smartphone owners use general-purpose messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Kik. 24% use messaging apps that automatically delete sent messages, such as Snapchat or Wickr. 5% use apps that allow people to anonymously chat or post comments, such as YikYak or Whisper.
Messaging apps are very popular among younger smartphone owners. Some 56% of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use auto-delete apps, more than four times the share among those 30-49 (13%) and six times the share among those 50 or older (9%). Casinos need to embrace these sites.
What aspects of loyalty marketing can be deployed in order to get repeat business from millennial customers?
First and foremost is a rewards program that integrates non-gaming spending into the rewards mix.
That means a comprehensive rewards program for the casino staff to drive ancillary services and a comprehensive program for the consumer.
Players like to have access so hold mini events that give them trophy value gifts and access to management. Let them feel that they have input into their favorite casino and give them something that has long term residual value.
Do you think that the industry in general is too fearful of millennials? Has the problem of drawing in younger players been overblown?
The whole world is concerned about this group as they impact the work place and consumer spending.
Is it overblown? Absolutely.
The shift in consumer behavior is not just generational.
It is also effected by external factors such as consumer confidence. The industry needs to concentrate on the fun that the casino offers………..on the social environment that the casino offers………..and how to create frequency.
As personal finances improve, the gaming will follow if the casino concentrates on initiating trial and catering to all players at all levels and ages.
Paul Gordon is Senior Vice president of Sales for Rymax Marketing Services Inc., a full-service loyalty marketing provider in the incentive industry solely focused on creating programs and events to drive ROI through brand name rewards. For 20 years organizations partnered with Rymax have seen an increase in employee performance and retention, customer loyalty and overall revenue.
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc. is the leading, full-service loyalty marketing provider. As Senior Vice President of Sales for Rymax, Paul Gordon was recently recognized by Incentive Magazine as one of the most influential people in the Incentive industry.
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