Across the country, casinos and resorts are being disrupted by innovative, connected, "always-on" technologies. This disruption has been led largely by guest demand. Guests have come to expect instant answers and service at their fingertips by way of their mobile phones. Recently, Google's Chief Evangelist of Brand Marketing, Gopi Kallayil, said that the pervasiveness of this kind of connectivity has created "rapid, cultural shifts and changed the way people expect things from their brands." This has created "more curious, demanding, and impatient consumers."
In Las Vegas today, only 34% of casino revenue comes from gaming. Taking a cue from these Vegas figures, casinos everywhere are looking for diversification beyond the gaming floor. They quest to convert non-gaming amenities like hotel room stays into profitable revenue streams. They compete for entertainment dollars. They want to offer the ultimate guest/player experience – one that is exciting and seamless – so guests keep coming back. They can do this by leveraging the latest technologies, on and off the gaming floor.
To prepare for this kind of diversified revenue future, here are three top technology trends attendees at the upcoming 2019 Oi Summit – the operational intelligence conference for gaming operators – should dial into:
Today's casino guests have more touchpoints than ever: emails, phone calls, concierge desks, and member services, for instance. And yet, casinos haven't had much luck achieving utilization of their own apps. Data shows that 80% of players likely won't ever download a casino-branded app, and of those who download these apps, as many as 50% don't even ever activate it by logging in. To accommodate evermore curious, demanding, and impatient guests, casinos need to make communications easier. They need to have download-free solutions that bring all forms of communications into one simple and seamless two-way platform.
This two-way platform both answers guest questions like daily earnings, real-time players' club point balances, and common guest services, but can also offer up services like effortless entry into new drawings or booking dining or ticket reservations. Players on a winning streak don't need to leave their seat to receive services or check on their room status. This kind of simple, omnichannel communication improves the guest's overall experience and encourages loyalty and repeat visits.
We are now living in a world where we are targeted online based upon our searches and browsing behavior. While this form of targeting is supposed to personalize and improve the user experience, it often misses the mark. Consumers feel stalked and often complain about irrelevant ads or suggestions. Casinos are fortunate: they have had an opportunity to course correct the failings of mistargeting. Why? Because they have far more customer interactions – touchpoints – with guests who also spend more time with the casino than nearly all other kinds of businesses. These touchpoints allow casinos to collect data that they can, in turn, use to their benefit with a solution called hyper-personalization.
Hyper-personalization utilizes the combination of technology and human interaction to refine and improve upon the guest experience. Smart, AI-powered technology can learn from and customize each subsequent guest interaction for particulars like language, dining preferences, housekeeping requirements, special occasion desires, reminders and alerts, spa and other entertainment bookings, and methods of communication. It can do this at scale, concurrently managing individual and groups, while interfacing with many PMS and rapid response systems.
Until recently, the notion of managing tens of thousands, even millions, of hyper-personalized guest interactions simultaneously and in less than one-second would have seemed impossible. Today, powered by technology, this is absolutely possible. In fact, before 2019 concludes, the number of these interactions may even exceed one billion.
The shifting casino revenue mix presents a data challenge. How is the casino to know what's working and what's not working among its clientele when the clientele and their motivations for visiting vary so vastly? Casinos have multiple data sources feeding their intelligence: gaming tables and machines, players club activity, hotel and resort, food and beverage, as well as other transactions. If casino resorts now earn more than 60% of their revenues from non-gambling activities, it's more crucial than ever that they analyze their businesses holistically. The solution lies in having and employing real-time intelligent insights. Insights provided by technology.
Today, many of the new technology solutions that offer deep business intelligence are driven by machine learning which means each prior interaction informs and improves future responses. The heavy lifting of data science and analysis has been made easier by this machine learning, but it's hard for big operations to pivot away from decades-old legacy systems. The pressure of this change creates friction, and for this reason, expect the topic of how to extract and leverage business intelligence to improve and optimize total casino operations management to be an important one in this and future years ahead.
Much like the entire hotel industry, the casino industry cannot avoid the marching drum of disruption. Diversification of revenue, the connected consumer, and big data all play a part, and casinos will feel challenged at an ever-faster rate. I'm betting that the house will win.
Go Moment is a proud sponsor of the OI Summit and I will be presenting on Tuesday, March 5th at 3:15 pm during the Mobile Apps, Artificial Intelligence, and Guest Experience panel, as well as at the 4:15 pm Gaming Operations & Technology track.
If you are heading to the OI Summit event and want to meet up, send me a message and let me know.
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Product design expert Raj Singh is CEO at Go Moment®, a Google-backed company dedicated to making customer service instant. Go Moment's award-winning smartconcierge Ivy®, as seen on NBC, is the world's largest guest engagement automation platform for hotels. Singh brings cross-discipline design, technology, and marketing experience from hundreds of large-scale technology projects for leading brands like Virgin, Lady Gaga, and HEB Grocery Company. Blending his deep expertise in UX and market research, Singh works alongside leaders in hospitality to address the industry's needs in using next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and labor automation. In partnership with IBM Watson, Go Moment's Ivy platform, which utilizes text or voice messaging and leverages human expertise and automation to resolve requests instantly, is currently available to millions of hotel guests. Singh’s select speaking engagements and panels include: • HEDNA Innov8 • Oi Summit • BLLA Stay Boutique Live • HITEC • Phocuswright Conference • CWT VIP Summit • Plug and Play Ventures • Hotel Interactive BITAC • IBM Insight