Raving Flash! Does Guest Service Drive Visits?

How much does customer service drive visits? You might be surprised ...

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

I’ve written before about the value of conducting an annual players club survey of your customers. This measures how your players perceive your club’s structure and benefits, how valuable the club is to your players, and how it can show you what needs fixing and what you need to maintain.  (Read my article: Does your Players Club Need an Annual Checkup?)

One question in the survey asks how important certain things are when the person is choosing a casino to visit. A list of standard casino features is included in the question and customers are asked to rank the importance of each on a scale of “1” to “5,” with “1” being “not at all important” and “5” being “very important.”

I’m used to seeing certain patterns: Slots, Promotions, Players Club Benefits and Direct Mail are almost always the top four visit drivers as ranked by importance. Customer Service occasionally ranks in the top four, but I’ve never seen it in first place. For some casinos, Promotions may be first place. For other casinos, it’s Players Club Benefits as the most important visit driver. Slots is the choice most often in the top spot.

A players club survey I just finished had a surprising result for this question: Customer Service was ranked ahead of Slots, Promotions, Players Club Benefits and Direct Mail as the number one factor that drives a casino visit in this particular market. Customer Service as the number one driver in a casino market?! I’ve never seen this before so it made me think about this result.

We all know that customer service is important, but since it has never shown up in first place before on other players club surveys that I’ve conducted, it seems that either:

  1. Customers assume that good Customer Service is a foundational part of the visit experience, just like they expect the lights to be on in the casino. So, they don’t include it as a top visit driver.
  2. Or, customers in some markets, may really value Customer Service as being more important than Slots, Promotions, Players Club Benefits and Direct Mail in choosing a casino to visit.

If Customer Service is a top visit driver for your players, it’s really good news for several reasons. Unlike Promotions, Players Club Benefits or Direct Mail, there’s no cost escalation as you and your competitors try to “keep up” with each other. That’s why it’s a financially sound advantage to focus on offering outstanding customer service if it’s a top visit driver. A great customer service program is also difficult to copy and it builds loyalty with your customers. When you have great customer service, it also creates a better work environment because employees are happier and more motivated.

The chart below is from this recent client survey that asked customers to rank items in importance as a reason to visit a casino. They chose Customer Service as most important. What do you think your customers rank as most important? A simple survey could tell you what customers in your market think is important, so you know what to focus on and where to allocate resources.

Customer survey question: How important are the following to you in choosing a casino to visit? Rankings are based on a five-point scale with “1” being “not at all important” and “5” being “very important.”

If your casino would like to know more about Raving surveys to find out what your customers value and how they rank you in your market, contact Amy Hergenrother, VP of Business Development, at 775-329-7864 or amy@ravingconsulting.com.
Continue Reading →

View/download this article as a pdf: 5-22-17HowToGetHigherResponseRatesFromYourNonHostedPlayers – Wood.pdf

Want to add to the conversation? We've added a new feature below that allows you to send us your feedback! We'd love it if you took a moment to give this article a star rating and leave us a quick comment. Permission to speak freely and candidly, thanks Ravers!

Got feedback?

Please leave your comment about this article below. We welcome candid feedback, so speak freely! Your information is safe with us and if we decide to share your comment, we will contact you first for permission, promise!

Fields marked with a * are required

Related Articles

Major Misses for Customer Engagement
Deb offers a basic primer on some common types of
marketing research that may be just what you need at your property. Read Article
  • Boots on the Ground Marketing - Q & A with Raving Partner, Janet Hawk - Small casino? Satellite locations? Limited resources? Let’s talk about “boots on the ground” marketing Read Article
  • Social Media Just a Time Waster? Not So Fast -  Using social media data to learn about your players Read Article
  • Five Ways to Improve Your Guest Service - So it is extremely powerful and effective Read Article

About the author

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

Deb uses her extensive research knowledge and qualifications, combined with her casino marketing management experience, to deliver superior market research to Raving clients. Contact Amy Hergenrother to find out how  market research can take your operations and profitability to the next level by removing the guesswork in decision-making.

Connect with Raving at the Northwest Indian Gaming Conference & Expo

Northwest Indian Gaming Conference & Expo
June 19 – 21, 2017
Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip, WA

Come and meet Raving’s new CEO, Deana Scott, and other Raving Partners at this year’s conference and expo.  We’ve expanded Raving’s core skills and services and now offer 360 property reviews, strategic planning, casino hotel development and startup, outsourced marketing monthly management services and more.  Want to find out more?

Are your revenues flat? Is the competition beating down your door? Have a project that you’ve been meaning to tackle? Reach out to Amy today to set up your appointment while the team is in Washington by emailing her at amy@ravingconsulting.com or giving her a holler at 775-329-7864.

Meet the Ravers:

  • Deana Scott, CEO and Amy Hergenrother, VP Business Development
  • Brett Magnan, Raving Partner, Hospitality; catch his session
  • Daniel Wood, Raving Partner, Phone Based Marketing Solutions and VP of Business Development at Engagex
  • Kell Houston, Senior Raving Partner, Gaming Entertainment
  • Azam Husain, Raving Partner, Analytics and Systems Integration Specialist and CEO, Casino Science; catch his sessions
  • Doug Parker, Raving Partner, Accounting and Compliance Department Supervisor, Finley & Cook; catch his session: The Resurgence of Table Games on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 1:15 PM.

 If you’re headed to Northwest Indian Gaming Conference & Expo or your property is in Washington, give us a call to set up a meeting! Contact amy@ravingconsulting.com or call 775-329-7864.

Raving Flash! How to Get Higher Response Rates from Your Non-Hosted Players


By Daniel Wood, Raving Partner, Phone Based Marketing Solutions and VP of Business Development at Engagex 
Do your hosts have quotas for the number of players they must engage with each month? Do they make reservations for their players? Do they follow-up on VIP special event invites? Should they be doing all of these things?

It isn’t quite that simple, but for now, the answer is yes … and no.

Let’s assume that 5-10% of your players are hosted players. I think we can all agree that these hosted players are well engaged with your property. They receive weekly/monthly promotions and direct mail pieces, along with personalized phone calls from their host. Rightfully so, the hosts are doing their job by keeping these VIP players top of mind for every promotion or offer available. But what about the non-hosted players who make up the other 90 - 95%? How engaged is your property with these players? The non-hosted players receive weekly/monthly promotions and direct mail pieces as well, but what about those personalized phone calls? It works for the host team, so why isn’t it being used for everyone else?

Read More

Aging Properties and Investment in Infrastructure

 By Deana Scott, CEO, Raving Consulting Company

Recently I moved to Reno to assume the duties as CEO of Raving Consulting. As a kid, I remember visiting Reno with my family during the summer. It was a perfect distance from Southern California with a variety of activities to satisfy everyone. My dad loved to explore nature and take our Bronco off-road, and my mom loved (and still does) gambling. I remember spending the day visiting Carson City or out in the desert. At night we spent the evening at Circus Circus. My mom would gamble, and my dad would take us to the midway. I still remember how in awe I was of Reno’s famous “Biggest Little City in the World” sign.

Since then, the city has been through some tough economic times with the success of Indian Gaming in California, the recession, and the lack of investment from government agencies and property owners. Let’s just say, the lights on the sign had somewhat dimmed. Despite the tattered past, I have always considered this place, located in the high desert at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas, a diamond in the rough. And in the casino industry, it is the birthplace of Caesars Entertainment Corporation. How cool is that? As I began telling people about my move from the beautiful southern Oregon Coast to Reno, I was amazed by the responses about my new home base. It was not good, but as I asked questions, I realized they had not been to Reno for years. The perception was based on yesterday’s news.

Read More

Raving Strikes Partnership with CSG Direct


Reno, Nevada – Raving joined forces with CSG Direct, a 100% woman-owned small business specializing in direct mail, digital printing and triggered automation, in Raving’s hometown of Reno, NV. Don’t underestimate the reach of companies from the Biggest Little City! CSG has worked with over 83 casinos across 10 US states, as well as 32 online casinos, mailing to over 80 countries worldwide. Raving has partnered

Lorrie Hellekson, Raving Partner, Direct Mail and Digital Printing and CEO, CSG Direct

with over 137 Tribal Nations and enterprises and 65 Commercial properties in the U.S. and worldwide including Canada, Switzerland, Singapore, and the Philippines.

Impressive credentials aside, what links these two companies is that they are easy to do business with and share the same customer-centric philosophy. All customers, no matter the size of their operations, get a hands-on approach from the top-down. CSG Direct’s CEO, Lorrie Hellekson, summed it up with, “We don’t try to fit our customers into specific programs just because it’s easier for us. We work to get to know our clients more than other companies do, to determine what will work best for them to get them the response they need.  Each client is different, and we set our business model to be flexible.”

Raving works hand in hand with CSG when a Raving casino client is struggling with creating a cohesive and effective direct mail or email program. Many times their postal costs are sky-rocketing as their lists are not clean or targeted. Or they haven’t developed a triggered email program to augment their direct mail.  Depending on the scope of work needed by a casino marketing department, Raving will jointly work with CSG, adding their marketing and analytics capabilities to CSG’s direct mail and email expertise. The end result? Clients build a strategic direct mail program that targets the right customers at the right time, and they see vastly improved response rates and lower mail costs.

“Bringing Lorrie and her team on as a Strategic Partner was an easy decision. As a matter of fact, while I was working at the property level, CSG was my direct mail vendor of choice. They went above and beyond, even helping one of my properties launch a new direct mail and email program from the ground up. For busy marketing directors, working with CSG is like expanding your in-house team. They are that easy to work with and they sincerely care about their clients. Through this partnership, we can make sure that all of our customers have the best resource and go through a seamless process,” shared Deana Scott, CEO, Raving.

CSG Direct joins several specialized partners and consultants that Raving works with to offer their gaming and hospitality clients a complete range of support services. They also produce numerous educational conferences and publications including Raving’s long-running National Indian Gaming Analytics and Marketing Conference. The company partners with casinos and gaming companies worldwide to strategically improve overall operations and profitability. To subscribe to Raving’s full suite of complimentary publications, email gency@ravingconsulting.com


About Raving

Raving is the most experienced full-service resource for the gaming & hospitality industry. Raving produces numerous educational conferences and publications including Raving’s Indian Gaming National Marketing Conference and the Raving Strategic Solutions Magazine. The company partners with casinos and gaming companies worldwide to strategically improve overall operations and profitability.  Go to www.ravingconsulting.com to find out more.

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic or Raving in general, please contact Christine Faria at 775.329.7864 or email at chris@ravingconsulting.com.

View this press release as a PDF: RavingStrikesPartnershipWithCSGDirect

How to Achieve Higher Response and Profit from your Food and Beverage Offers

 By Sarah Procopio, Raving Partner, Database Analytics

There is a trend right now to offer casino players a general property credit as part of their player offer package. Three words—DON’T DO IT! Here’s why: decreased outlet control for food and beverage offer redemptions equates to:

1.    Lower perceived player value

When you understand the food cost for each outlet, you can use it to advocate on the player’s behalf to provide them with the highest value offer possible. This equates to high perceived player value, which translates to a lift in response. For illustrative purposes, here is some simple math:

If the profit margin at your steakhouse is 2%, and the profit margin at your Italian restaurant is 20%, that means a $100 steakhouse offer costs the property $98, while a $100 offer for the Italian restaurant costs the property $80. The lower cost at the Italian restaurant can be leveraged when putting together player offers. Here’s how: For a $300 player, the $100 steakhouse offer puts you at a 33% player-reinvestment percentage ($98 cost / $300 Theo), while the $100 Italian restaurant offer puts you at roughly a 26% reinvestment rate ($80 cost / $300 Theo). You can either pocket that 7% difference for your casino or use it to boost the player offer to a higher amount. 7% may not sound like a lot, but in volume, it adds up and your players will notice. You know as well as I do, players always want more, and you just found a way to give it to them. Boom! Player response rate boosted! Why would you ever cheat yourself out of this opportunity with a blanket property credit offer?

2.    Diminished cost control and profit margins

Just imagine what would happen to your marketing budget and player reinvestment percentage projections if all of your players decided to use their property credit for the highest-cost outlet on your property. It wouldn’t be good, right? Costs would skyrocket, and profitability would plummet. Our job is to protect the company bank account as if it is our own; providing players with the virtual equivalent of a blank check to your hotel and casino’s bank account isn’t the way to get it done.

3.    Decline in guest service levels

We all know providing guests with the best possible service results in higher player retention rates. Players don’t like to wait, and they want the highest possible service levels, just like we all do. So why not do your best to give it to them? Accurately projecting the volume you send to each food and beverage outlet on specific days, allows your food and beverage team to staff accordingly and provide players with the best possible service.

What are your property goals?

Depending on what your property goals are, behavioral data that includes historical information on the food and beverage outlets that your players have visited can be leveraged.

For example, if player profitability for high-level player segments is not the primary concern, but increased retention and visits is the focus, providing food and beverage offers to their favorite food outlets – such as the steakhouse – may make sense even though the cost at this outlet is high. The same data can also be used to cross-market outlets that haven’t been tried by players, or are infrequently visited.

Encouraging players to visit multiple food and beverage options can increase their perceived value of the overall property if they find that they enjoy a variety of offerings. Providing food and beverage outlet-specific offers to your players also helps them paint a picture in their mind of what their visit will be like.

From the customer’s perspective

Thinking about visiting a property to spend a general property credit versus imagining going to the Italian restaurant and ordering the lasagna are two very different experiences. The clearer the picture you paint for the guest (in this case, specifically naming the outlet), the more emotion you evoke, and the higher the response rate. I understand it is tempting to forgo internal team debates about offer types and avoid coordination of offers. I also understand that, from a marketing standpoint, executing outlet-specific food and beverage offers is a challenge. But the challenge is worthwhile, and has a high impact on the bottom line.

View this article as a pdf: 5-8-17HigherResponseProfitFromYourFoodAndBeverageOffers – Procopio.pdf

Related articles:

  • “Nudge Marketing” for Powerful ResultsWe have all hit on a wildly successful marketing effort that knocked player response rate and revenue goals out of the park.  Sometimes we think we know why it worked; sometimes we don’t … Read Article
  • Lose Your Shirt, Not Your Shorts, In Food & Beverage – Navigating the truths of a profitable organization Read Article
  • Championing $100 ADT Customers –  Superhero stratgies for Clark Kent customers Read Article
  • “Boots on the Ground Marketing” – You don’t have to be a mega destination casino resort to offer your guests a memorable experience Read Article


Sarah Procopio, Raving Partner, Database Analytics

You can meet Sarah in person at Raving’s Host Development Conference at Bally’s Las Vegas, July 17-18. She will be a panelist during the session, “Managing PD Metrics” on Tuesday, July 18. Before you register, check with Amy for your Raving Client discount code, email her at amy@ravingconsulting.com or give us a call 775-329-7864




Boots on the Ground Marketing – Q & A with Raving Partner, Janet Hawk

Small casino? Satellite locations? Limited resources?
Let’s talk about “boots on the ground” marketing

Q&A with Raving Partner, Janet Hawk, Player Development and Marketing

Janet will be the first to tell you that she credits so much of her successful gaming career to some tough sons of bitches that broke her in when she started in Las Vegas. The opportunities and lessons she got and her willingness to try everything. And what refined her skills she owes to her customers – from the demands of a group of WWII airmen to Katrina survivors – never being so rigid to not think outside the box.

Her career has taken her to Colorado, Oklahoma, and Mississippi, before joining Raving as a Partner in 2015. Some of her accomplishments include: being a key player in creating and implementing the very first slot tournament in Colorado, as well as implementing a new Player Development and Comp Program for Chickasaw Nation, which is still in use to this day.

She’s Raving’s secret weapon when it comes to helping gaming properties that:

  1. Have a shoestring marketing budget.
  2. Have several satellite locations with little or no central command.
  3. Have a young or inexperienced staff that needs a tough S.O.B. to show them the ropes. (Okay, she’s really not that way.)
  4. Are small in size, with limited amenities.

Q: Janet, when working with casinos that have very limited marketing budgets, what are the key areas of opportunities that you look for?

The first area that I look at is guest service. Is there a guest service philosophy and is it consistent throughout the property? For any guest service program to be successful, there must be buy-in across the board. Exemplary guest service is where a small property (any property, really) can get the most bang for the buck because every employee is a part of your sales team. The secret? Guests will go where they are appreciated. Your guests will then become your best marketing tool. So many underestimate just how important and vital consistent guest service can be. I’ve worked with small properties surrounded by resort-style “big dogs,” and we have succeeded in the market because of guest service. Continue reading

Raving Flash! How to Incorporate Local Artisans into your Retail Program

Are there talented tribal artisans in your community?
Are you carrying their pieces in your retail outlets?

Introducing Chris Keenan, Raving Partner, Tribal Artist Program and Retail Optimization

Whether you’re a commercial or a tribal property, there’s a good chance that you have talented artisans in your community. And more than likely, these folks, perhaps elders, have come knocking at your door asking you to sell their work. AND many of these artisans don’t know how to maximize sales, create an invoice, or have a clear understanding of how consignment works.

How would you go about implementing a program like this? You may already have a full time job within your casino and this responsibility has been dropped in your lap as you’re in “marketing.” If you have a gut instinct that this is not as simple as it seems, you’d be right. Who ultimately approves the program and what outcomes would be considered a success? Who will be in charge of the program and how will it be implemented? The answers to these questions vary widely and the answer is “it depends.”

Here is a list of things to consider when incorporating Tribal Artists into your retail outlet:

1. Clearly define “why” you want to sell handmade art in your store.

Do you want to offer your casino customers unique products that cannot be purchased elsewhere? Do you want to offer a venue that provides your Tribal Members an opportunity to supplement their incomes? Additionally, are you willing to subsidize the program in an effort to create a tribal member benefit? If so, are you willing to shift profit from your store to the tribal member? Once clear expectations and successful outcomes have been established, you can move forward with the “who and how.”

2. Determine “who” will be responsible for the program.

Continue reading

Raving and its Partners Featured at National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Convention and Tradeshow

“Bet Raving Knows!” ‘ain’t no joke. Known as industry leaders and educators, Raving returned to NIGA for several workshops and a master class. An Associate Member since 1998, Raving has offered in-depth and hard-hitting classes annually to the event’s educational program.

This year’s workshops included:

Dennis Conrad moderated Master Class: Marketing with panelists Deana Scott, CEO, Raving Consulting Company; Michael Meczka, Principal, MM/R/C; Chad Germann, President/CEO, Red Circle Agency; and Michael Ka’ahanui, Director of Marketing, Muckleshoot Indian Casino.

Driving Brand Loyalty, Leveraging Big Data session

Deana Scott moderated Driving Brand Loyalty, Leveraging Big Data with panelists Sarah Procopio, Raving Partner, Database Analytics; Yuri Cameron, Caesars Entertainment; and Chad Eckhardt, Player Development Manager, Little River Casino Resort.

Raving Partner Brett Magnan, Hospitality, panelist, Player Loyalty and the Importance of Employee Recognition

John Stewart, Raving Partner and Owner/CEO/President at Encompass Develop, Design & Construct, LLC, panelist, The RFP Process: Is it Really the Best Way to Secure Design and Construction Services for Your Project? 

Mark Astone, Raving Partner, Branding, Advertising and Media Services and CEO, Catalyst Marketing Company, panelist, Build, Engage and Merge Your Online Player Community

Don’t miss out on Raving’s signature conferences and training events! Make sure to subscribe to Raving’s electronic publications to keep in the know for industry events and compelling articles. Subscribe here



Ravers, You Rock! 2017 Native Strong Comedy Slam SELLS OUT!

During the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention (NIGA), the largest gathering of tribal leaders and casino executives in the country, Raving Consulting and their generous event sponsors held the 3rd Annual Native Strong Comedy Slam.  The sold-out event took place on Wednesday night, April 12, at the Edge in the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego.

Larry Omaha, the Comedy Slam host, who has been involved since the inaugural event, shared, “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a worthwhile event.  I am honored that you respect my talent enough to bring me in year after year.  I am who I am today because people reached out to me when I was a youngster with no direction and no hope.  Till my last day on earth I will strive to give back all that I can.”

“Larry’s heartfelt sentiment captures what this event is all about,” added Dennis Conrad, President, Raving Consulting. “It’s about raising money for a critical cause. It’s about giving Native American comics significant exposure. And finally, it’s about taking that needed time to celebrate and laugh with our partners, clients and members of the NIGA community that are so passionate and dedicated to the success of Indian gaming.”

And yes, we took pictures of all that celebration and laughter! What happens at the Comedy Slam doesn’t stay at the Comedy Slam. You can also view the full album of photos on our facebook page, please tag yourself and share with your friends!

Continue reading