Hotel Casinos: How to Double Down on Leisure Amid COVID-19

September 9, 2020 Tony Pusateri

 

From hardscrabble frontier town, to iconic vacation destination, Las Vegas’ has a history of resiliency and ingenuity. 

Today is no different. 

So while group, convention and event cancellations hurt, casinos are ready to grow by returning to their roots.  

All-in on leisure travel

Meeting, incentive, conference, and exhibit (MICE) business buoyed casinos and resorts for decades. Companies are clamoring to come to town. This, plus recent investments in event facilities, stamp the region as a top business destination. That won’t change – and this segment will return post-pandemic.  

Until then, casinos will key on another segment: leisure travel.

With business events on hold, May visitors totaled just 151,300 – a 96% year-over-year drop. But this switch to campaigns targeting restless leisure travelers is paying off. June’s visitor count eclipsed one million; down just 70% YoY. 

Casino.org notes a jump in creative marketing. MGM Resorts International, for example, is doubling down on “Viva Las Office” – going after stuck-at-home workers and their families with work and play options. 

Others, like Sahara and M-Resort, stopped pesky resort fees. 

Wynn Resorts even made an unheard of announcement – a weekend buy-one/get-one (BOGO) deal.

Communicate what’s new, now. 

Casinos don’t have to choose between competing audiences. Business travel is on pause; it’s time to court new gamers and guests and tap into your database for warm prospects and loyalists. Social marketing, outbound sales programs, and personalized, automated lifecycle marketing and nurturing campaigns should be flowing in your playbook to leisure right now. 

Casinos must answer travelers’ biggest questions around cleanliness, cancellation policies, and available amenities, too. If, like The Bellagio, you’ve rolled out sinks with soap and water onto your casino floor, or replaced in-room menus with QR codes, let prospects know! 

Use tools like shopping cart abandonment to connect with guests ready to book, but who drop off your website because of lingering questions. 

But it’s not all digital. The magic card up your sleeve is the voice channel, aka working the phones, intelligently guided by CRM intelligence and paired with marketing automation and email nurture. NAVIS finds that reservations agents turn a phone inquiry into a reservation almost 40% of the time. The average website converts reservations just 1.72% of the time. Agents are 20x more likely than a website to convert a booking! 

Even if prospects don’t convert immediately, agents can collect information on dates, room types, location, the length of stay, and more, to nurture downstream. Casino resorts have more to offer than just gambling, these pieces of information can improve personalization in digital marketing as you continue to court them toward a stay. 

Know your guests’ interests, be consistent in nurturing and targeting them with relevant offers –  and make it easy to say, “yes”. 

The right tech and the right message

You may think (travel) odds are stacked against the house. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to fold. With intelligent and automated marketing, including the voice channel, (that’s actually personal), you can share the right message with the right person at the right time. NAVIS helps you capture and convert every lead with precision. 

After all, Las Vegas is all about good times. 

Isn’t that exactly what people need right now? 

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