What Research Is Your Casino Doing?


By Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D., Senior Raving Partner, Market Research

Raving recently completed the 2nd Annual Indian Gaming National Marketing Survey. One of the objectives of this annual study is to help marketing practitioners understand current practices and to see where their property falls on the spectrum.

For example, a key finding of this year’s study is that 50% of casinos are now actively working with Big Data, compared to only 6% last year; this is a huge shift. Are you in the half that is now using Big Data or are you in the half that hasn’t embraced this yet? If so, you are probably going to be in the minority next year.

One of the questions we asked casinos is to determine what types of research they’re conducting. Overall, more than half of all casinos are doing at least five key types of research: Database Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Guest Satisfaction Surveys, Employee Engagement Surveys and Feedback Surveys. The most often used type of research is Database Analysis, and the least often used is Branding & Awareness.

There were no huge shifts in research patterns year-to-year but there were some changes as noted below:

  • Database analysis: 91% last year to 90% this year so basically unchanged
  • Competitive reviews: Increased from 61% last year to 69% this year
  • Guest satisfaction surveys: Decreased from 79% last year to 69% this year
  • Employee engagement: Increased from 41% last year to 53% this year
  • Branding & awareness: Decreased from 45% last year to 32% this year
  • Focus groups: 41% last year to 44% this year so basically unchanged

This survey data can help you understand your marketing position. Are you in the majority of casinos that are doing key types of research or are you in the minority who are operating with less business intelligence than your competitors? More and more companies and industries are conducting research because it has become so fast, accurate and affordable in the last decade.

When you call the electric company to ask about your bill, chances are you’ll be asked if you are willing to “remain on the line and answer some brief survey questions.” When you check out from a store, your receipt often has a message inviting you to take an online survey and offering a reward for doing so. I recently used Amazon and received an immediate follow up asking me to complete a survey with advertising questions such as: “What percent of the home page do I think is advertising?” or “What adjectives describe the types of advertising on the home page?”

The reason so many companies are using various types of research is because it helps them be more successful. For casinos, market research can help you gain share in a competitive market by knowing how your customers and potential customers rate key aspects of your property and how that compares with competitors. You can also determine what promotion ideas will be most effective at generating incremental revenue before you commit money and effort.

Employee engagement surveys aren’t considered a marketing tool but they’re still very important in developing a workforce that can deliver an outstanding product and service. This also leads to greater revenue success as studies have shown that companies with a high rate of employee engagement are more profitable.

I had hoped to see more increases this year in the types of research being conducted by casinos. Kudos to those of you who are doing key market research. To those of you who aren’t, why not?

If you would like to know how Raving can help you can add research tools to your marketing or HR program, call Amy Hergenrother, VP of Business Development, at 775-329-7864 or [email protected] or to request your copy of the survey, email [email protected].

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About the author

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.

Deb uses her extensive research knowledge and qualifications, combined with her casino marketing management experience, to deliver superior market research to Raving clients. If you would like to know how Raving can help you can add research tools to your marketing or HR program, call Amy Hergenrother, VP of Business Development, at 775-329-7864 or [email protected] or to request your copy of the survey, email [email protected].

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