Marketing Takeaways from Free Yoga Night

Marketing Ideas
From the yoga mat

By Christine Faria
yoga-1

I’m watching Becky (Becky Conrad that is, co-owner of Raving) instead of concentrating on my breathing. She’s in front of me, doing this yoga pose where her entire body is supported only on her elbows.  I, on the other hand am looking like a squatting toad, as if I try the Becky move, I know I’ll fall over on my face.

Our local Patagonia outlet offers free yoga classes once a week. This is my second class with them and it’s very crowded. The word on the floor is that it isn’t always this crowded, but they’re giving away a free, very popular and expensive Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket in a raffle if you attend these two classes.  I’m looking for the bait and switch – and can’t find any – ongoing free yoga classes once a week.

The instructor is now having us do something that’s called the pigeon, which I almost laugh out loud, because I think it looks like a pigeon who has been flattened by a car and wonder who came up with that name.  The instructor is reminding us to keep our “flow” and to breathe in and sigh out.  I think I’m exhaling and inhaling at the wrong time.

Why am I here again?

That morning I’ve taken my regular kickboxing class. I know why I’m there. Every upper cut, every Thai kick, every block, every move has a purpose – for defense or offense. I look at every motion, as well, to strengthen my body and burn calories. The class makes me feel powerful and strong. I don’t think about anything except the bag as an attacker and my form, so I don’t injure myself. I certainly don’t think about my “to do” list waiting for me at home.

We’re now in a tree pose and my mind wanders wondering if my husband was able to feed himself for dinner. I also think of what a good turnout this is and thinking about what the application is for a casino. And I’m also wondering how much time has passed, when I’m not worrying about falling over. I seem to have a problem with a quiet mind. Even Dennis tried yoga for awhile and seemed to find relaxation from it.

I understand conceptually (or because the last two instructors have told me so) that yoga is about giving an hour or so to ourselves, to block out everything from the outside world, and just be with ourselves.  And there is a host of physical benefits. I’ve tried it about a dozen times, but I always more concerned with if “I’m doing it right” and keeping my balance.

(By the way, Becky can do the pose in the picture above. The only thing that looks like me is the hair. And did I mention that Becky is fitter than anyone here in the office and she just got her Medicare card?)

Marylynn Wei, MD, shared in an article, “But the truth is that the practice of yoga is not about changing the brain, body, headstands, or even about gaining greater happiness and joy. If it were, it’d be just like taking a spinning class or doing a set of lunges at the gym. Yoga aims toward transcendence of all those things. In a culture in which we rush from one day to the next, constantly trying to change our health, our body, or our emotions, or to plan our future, yoga opens up the possibility of connecting to what we already have — to who we already are.”

Meanwhile, close to the end of the class, we are doing this rocking movement on our back, so I can’t see what Becky does when the instructor asks us to do an inversion pose, with our knees and hips above our heart. I figure she’s on her head doing something that a Chinese acrobat would do, so I look at what others are doing, and think, I can do this! I shoot my legs to the ceiling, balanced on my shoulders and feel quite proud that I am not toppling over.  (I mean, I’ve been doing this move since I was a kid). Google tells me this is a “supported shoulder stand .” I’m feeling quite cocky until we’re supposed to easy our bodies back to the mat, vertebra by vertebra, and I land with a thunk.

Next time I’ll do my best to forget about how awkward I might feel being twisted up like a human pretzel, but in the meantime, thought I’d tell you my marketing takeaways from this experience:

  • Just because you hold a free event, it doesn’t mean that you will convert attendees to customers. (Even the Patagonia outlet is too rich for my blood). So can you convince your GM what your return on investment really is? With that said …
  • I do look at Patagonia as a generous neighbor in our community and would likely support them if they wanted to expand. They are known for their environmental and social responsibility philosophy, and even this free class supports that and it’s not PR hype.
  • Some free events will drive new customers. Patagonia offers yoga clothing – so a yoga class makes sense. Are there complimentary events or classes that you can offer to highlight your resort – during times that your facilities are not busy?  Free cooking lessons from your gourmet steakhouse? Wine or beer tasting from your brewery or wine bar?  Salsa or country line dance lessons on off hours at your nightclub? Yoga, water aerobics or meditation in your spa?  Does your convention space go nearly dark at any time of year?
  • The experts will say that in most markets outside of Vegas, gambling still yields the most profit. However, if you’ve already invested in non-gaming amenities and choosing to expand your offerings to a “resort” destination or to attract a new demographic, utilizing that real-estate to attract non-gamers (as long as it doesn’t turn away gamblers) can be a good strategy. Starting off with free or low cost classes, might be the way for folks to visit your casino that wouldn’t have considered it before.

All the Best,

Christine Faria
VP Marketing
Raving Consulting

PS – Got questions on what non-gaming amenities will work for your property? Thinking of a specialty restaurant or brewery? New outdoor attraction? Outdoor gaming areas?  Give our partner John Stewart, at Encompass a call. Ultimately he can redesign or build anything for you, but before you invest, he can help you do the research before you spend any money. One meeting can save you millions.

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