A regular reader of the site recently messaged me asking some questions about offers, which I hadn’t covered here on the site before, so I’ll be tackling some of them in the coming weeks.
One sounds like a pretty simple thought: Do casinos differentiate offers based on your distance from the casino? Take someone who lives a half hour away, vs. someone who lives a few hours away, for instance – would someone living more locally be given different incentives vs. one living hours away?
The answer is: Yes. And no. And sometimes. There is no one right answer.
Let’s zoom out a bit first to understand why. In the US alone there’s about 1,000 casinos. Offers are driven by the casino marketing departments, and pretty much each casino has one; even larger chains will have local people as there is no one size fits all approach to this.
Generally speaking, marketers use the concept of personas to divide their audience up into people with similar traits. Generically speaking, these traits could include:
- Job Title
If you’re talking to a 25 year old in California working for a tech start-up, you would use a different message than a 50 year old in Iowa who runs the family farm.
Now if we look at casinos, they may look at things more specific to them, such as:
- What is their gambling budget per trip?
- Or along similar lines what’s their coin-in per trip?
- What do they play: Slots, video poker, tables? Some mix of all three?
- How often do they visit?
- How long is each visit? Hours? Days?
- How far away do they live from the property?
They can and do look at other things too, but even within this handful of things, different casinos may have different priorities and so they may divide their personas into different buckets. Larger casinos or chains may have more granular divisions than smaller casinos – marketing sophistication can and will vary by casino.
And so now to your specific question – some casinos, in particular those in more concentrated and competitive markets like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, will most definitely factor in location. The level of sophistication on this will vary.
Caesars in Atlantic City knows I live a few hours away, and has sent me flight offers to fly in to AC for years. But they keep offering locations on Long Island and Massachusetts. Each are driving hours in the wrong direction – by the time I do this travel and actually get on the plane, I might as well drive there.
There’s enough people close enough to those airports to justify the expenditure of offering it. Their geography clustering isn’t sophisticated enough to realize that I’m not the right target, but they have enough boxes checked (location, budget, etc.) to offer it to me anyway.
Mlife in Las Vegas has since my very first visit offered a room/free play/resort credit package for stays there. Wynn has been doing so as well in recent times for me. They get I’m traveling cross country and so this is important. I have friends local to Wynn who tend to get offers more concentrated around free play – that too makes sense since the room is less important for them as a general rule living so close.
Whether casinos in other markets will do this simply depend on the audience and who they’re trying to drive in (those personas). I had a conversation with a sharp casino marketing person who worked at a casino where, even though their customer base wasn’t large, their geographic and persona diversity was diverse enough that they had offers that enticed travel from a certain group. Casinos will put the energy into it if it makes sense.
But if you’re a locals casino that largely draws in people for an afternoon, you probably aren’t going to be putting the efforts there. If your property doesn’t have a hotel, it likely won’t be a priority. If your property does have a hotel and you constantly have a full hotel, marketing may not have the luxury of being more generous to as many travelers.
So as you can see, there’s clearly no one right answer. Marketing is an art in that the unique circumstances of your situation will dictate the approaches you pursue, and you test and refine new ideas constantly. So the answer isn’t a universal, one-size-fits-all thing, like anything around casino marketing.
And as such, if you have multiple casinos near you, you can give each a similar amount of play and decide which property is giving you the offers that you like the most, and invest more of your play there to get more of that.