As changes rock the gaming industry, self-service technology is a great way to protect the bottom line.
A quick glance at the casino gaming revenue data over the past decades creates something familiar to anyone who has spent too much time in the Las Vegas sun: a mirage.
The numbers, in fact, do look good. Revenue for the industry in 2015 was pegged at $40.2 billion, a six-percent increase over 2014 and an impressive 15-percent rebound from the depth of the recession in 2009, when casinos took in only $34.3 billion.
So what’s not to love?
Plenty, it turns out. True, the revenue figures have enjoyed meaningful growth, but just as the cash has increased, so too have the number of casinos taking their share of it.
The market can correct that kind of trouble, creating an equilibrium by redistributing resources to strong ones as weak ones close. Where Economics 101 doesn’t offer much help, however, is confronting the decline of the gaming population. The industry continues to look for ways to bring in Millennials, who haven’t been so quick to head to the tables as their Baby Boomer predecessors. Though those relative younglings—getting their game on via smartphones and online gambling sites—comprise the largest segment of the population now, the industry has struggled to get more than 10 percent of its revenue from them.
Olea Kiosks, a Cerritos, Calif.-based innovator and manufacturer of self-service and interactive kiosk solutions, has worked with the gaming industry for more than 10 years in order to develop and deliver kiosks and other devices to help operators improve their bottom line. And we have seen powerful results across the board.
1. Loyalty Development A loyal player is a profitable player. Not only does a solid base of loyal players reduce customer-acquisition costs, loyal players are more likely to tell their friends and to visit often. One of the primary tools casinos use to grow this critical group is aptly named the loyalty program. And one of the best ways to manage a loyalty program is through kiosks.
Kiosks can be placed across the property, not only on or adjacent to the playing floor. Players can then access them to check in, review reward status, update their preferences and more. In addition, some facilities use these kiosks to distribute perks such as match bonuses and free play bonuses.
2. Customer Experience Intimately connected with loyalty is customer experience. Offering room and meal comps won’t help a facility where the experience of trying to enjoy them is poor or even mediocre.
Kiosks can improve the experience by eliminating what to most guests can be the most frustrating part of the visit: lines. Whether adding their names to a restaurant queue, ordering at a coffee shop or checking out at the casino gift shop, visitors appreciate the ability to conduct a transaction quickly and move on to their next activity.
Small amenities can be tied to kiosks, such as where loyalty kiosks also provide access to dongles for device-charging. Also, because Millennials feel at home among interactivity and digital signage, deployments can create a more comfortable, familiar environment for them, taking the first steps to turn the one-time visitor into a loyal and frequent player. Millennials are fundamentally no different than any other generation: Give them tools and content that are relevant to their interests and work the way they’re expected to, and the people will adopt them.
While some operators may believe personal service is the best service—and certainly that’s true for much of the casino-resort experience—that’s not the case when someone could get his cappuccino five minutes faster by ordering and paying at well-designed, high-functioning kiosk.
Consider a highly trafficked casino gift shop that employs three people to complete purchases. If self-checkout kiosks were available, perhaps one or two employees would be liberated to walk the floor to answer questions, or even to help people check-in at the front desk.
3. Data Acquisition Not too many years ago, the suggestion that a Vegas property would earn more revenue from rooms, resort fees, restaurants and entertainment than from gaming would have been laughable. Now, not only are those amenities out-earning casino games, they are proving to be areas for growth and increased profits. When gaming magnate Sheldon Adelson addressed gaming’s largest convention in 2015, he boasted that his resorts continued to set records for revenue growth and contributed the majority of his profits.
By deploying kiosks across these expanded facilities and connecting them to each other and even to POS systems and room information, operators can acquire volumes of data and leverage it to increase sales.
Example: Mr. and Mrs. Smith have returned for a visit for the second year in a row. Because the facility has a record of their previous stay, it knows that last year they dined in the house buffet. When the Smiths get their room key from a kiosk, the unit can print a coupon for a dinner at the same restaurant. Likewise, if Mrs. Smith used the spa last year but Mr. Smith did not, a special incentive for him to join her can be extended through the kiosk.
4. Cost Savings Probably the best known attribute of kiosks is that they can help cut costs. Evident in many industries, self-checkout allows kiosk deployers to operate multiple POS terminals with one supervising attendant. The same technology can help with hotel check-in during busy times, reducing the need for part-time staff that may be needed only a few hours a day, and some hotels even have kiosk-attended baggage storage.
Self-service technology is proving to make true, meaningful differences in businesses across multiple industries. Pioneered by retailers and a post-9/11 travel industry, kiosks are being adopted increasingly by theaters, theme parks, restaurants, even hospitals and medical facilities, where a strong personal touch has historically been considered key to the guest experience. Confronting the loss of players not only to competition but to changing demographics, casino operators would do well to take a seat at the table and invest in this game-changing technology now.
Olea Kiosks has experts on hand to provide consultation on how self-service technology can benefit your gaming operation or any other customer-focused aspect of your casino report. Email [email protected], or call 800.927.8063 today.