Loyalty Programs Keep Customers Coming Back
December 3, 2015
A study by the University of San Francisco found that loyalty programs at casinos can keep customers coming back. In the past, casinos used free drinks and hotel stays to attract people, but when every casino is offering the same basic perks, people expect more. Casinos have attempted to build long term relationships with their customers through customized loyalty programs that offer tailored rewards based on demographic data. Casinos also divide their loyalty programs up by tiers, and offer different rewards based on how much and how often people spend. The study found that elite loyalty program members, who represent about 11% of the overall casino market, spend more nights each year at casino hotels. Elite loyalty program members also tend to fill out comment cards and give high marks regarding the helpfulness of hotel staff. Elite loyalty program members engage more with the casino and its offerings. With loyalty programs, casinos can also keep customers coming back to their hotels.
In addition, casino loyalty programs have been useful during times of recession, when people cut down on how much they spend on leisure, entertainment, and tourism. Another study by the University of Nevada examined MGM Resorts International’s new customer loyalty program, which was created in response to the past recession. The new customer loyalty program, called the M Life Players Club, consists of four tier levels, and offers players exclusive access to all 15 of MGM’s properties. MGM customers who are members of the highest tier of the loyalty program are able to accumulate points and benefits the fastest. Benefits include room discounts, priority access to dining and entertainment, VIP seating at shows, private chef dinners, and backstage tours. Customers receive benefits through personalized offers based on previous purchases. The goal of the loyalty reward program, according to MGM Resorts’ Chief Marketing Officer Bill Hornbuckle, was to retain customers through highly personalized rewards that the customers would value. MGM’s old loyalty program involved mass mailing offers that would not appeal to everyone. Some highly personalized MGM loyalty program perks include swimming in the shark reef, and choreographing the Bellagio fountains.
According to the study by the University of San Francisco, “Casino loyalty programs typically provide a membership card that is swiped at all transactions (casino games, restaurants, stores, hotel stays). The programs use this transactional data (i.e., what games they play or what type of slot machines they prefer) plus demographics to structure offers and rewards.” Some customers might not want to sign up for a loyalty program because the process takes too long. Casinos can cut down on the time it takes to sign up for a loyalty program by automating all data intake. With card scanning technology, casinos can use information from customer IDs to sign them up for loyalty programs. With ID scanners, casinos can also use demographic data to send out highly personalized rewards to valued customers, instead of mass mailing basic rewards and hoping they’ll appeal to most people. Loyalty programs can help casinos give customers a personalized experience, which will keep them coming back.