casino marketing and Customer Service and Just living
architecture, brand marketing, casino design, casino marketing, customer service, Julia Ca, Louis Armstrong Airport, MSY, Music, New Orleans, New Orleans Airport, Second Line, tourism
I wrote this post about three weeks ago. since that time, my personal life has been a bit of a mess, but life goes on. I still feel this was an experience with insight to share. So here go my 3 week old thoughts.
You may know that the company I work for is in the midst of building a brand new casino. In addition, we are updating – and in some cases rebranding – existing properties. As a team, we’ve looked at hundreds of paint samples, carpet samples, and finishes from faux brick to granite and marble. We play mix and match until we feel we’ve created the perfect physical experience and that any guest will innately feel our brand promise upon arrival.
Any architect or designer will tell you that the “sense of arrival” is of utmost importance – a first impression that you only get to make once. We always assume folks arrive at our doors ready to have fun and in the happiest of moods, but do they?
A recent trip home to New Orleans gave me much to think about. Everyone assumes that people come to New Orleans ready to drink hurricanes and show their you-know-whats to get rewarded with whatever beads other tourists are offering. Earlier this year, I returned home to say farewell to the mother of a dear friend. This week I returned home in a somewhat unfocused state. Waiting at baggage claim, sorting through unread emails on my phone, I heard the familiar strains of brass instruments warming up and soon they started the joyous music of so many happy memories.
Bienvenue à la Nouvelle-Orléans!
The airport is still under seemingly endless construction and the baggage claim area is a compilation of posters on construction walls, low ceilings and dim lights. Even in this old, dated spot, my mood instantly changed to one of fun and joy.
My company is often faced with how to liven up equally old, dated surroundings. It’s easy to turn to capital improvements to do this, but as you see in this video, you don’t always need that. Sometimes you just need to create some fun!
Here’s some more of that great New Orleans-style music.
I hope you enjoyed this little musical interlude and that it inspired you to think about how you’re greeting guests when they arrive at your doors.
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casino marketing and Customer Service
Atlantic City, Atlantic City New Jersey, casino, casino marketing, casino player magazine, customer service, gambling, Julia Carcamo, loyalty, loyalty programs, Slot machine, strictly slots magazine
Believe it or not, there was a time when casinos did not have players club programs. Players Clubs — I can’t bear to refer to them as loyalty clubs — actually did not come about until the 1980s in Atlantic City as a way to reward slot players so they would play in “their” casino. If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of these programs, this article in Casino Player Magazine is a little 101 information.
Casino executives had to come up with a method to identify and reward their slot players so they would stay and play only in their casino. It was a great idea.
Years later, we fell into the trap of believing that we had to sign everyone up for a card and send everyone mail. Times have changed and we’ve come to realize a few things.
- Everyone doesn’t have to get an offer. If you provide a great experience some customers will visit you simply to have a nice night out.
- You can pretty much count on your customers splitting their gaming budget over two, three or more casinos.
- Those low-end customers you think are burdensome can actually save your marketing budget, because your investment in their visit is lower as a percentage of that revenue.
The key is to have a well-balanced spit between those who come in due to the offer you sent them and those who come in just to have some fun. Is that 50/50? 60/40? 70/30? That’s for your marketing team to decide, but never forget how important it is to market to that low-end and unrated play.
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Customer Service and Leadership
casino, casino marketing, customer service, Julia Carcamo, manners, Transportation Security Administration, TSA
Last night I stopped at a casino cashier window to get some change. I asked for my usual when I find myself low on tip money, “Could I have three fives and five ones, please?”
The cashier responded’ “Well, since you said please…” To which I replied, “Of course I said please.”
It was a very friendly and joking exchange, but it made me wonder. This casino employee was actually the first I had gotten a smile from in this entire very expensive, much marketed resort. It made me wonder if smiling and saying “please” wasn’t the norm anymore.
Earlier in the day, I had the honor of sitting on a panel to discuss the merits of social media in the world of casino marketing. Somehow, the conversation veered into making marketing promises match the experience and delivering satisfying experiences. There were quite a few comments made that I disagreed on. It made me think of the experience my company tries to deliver and how smiling and courtesy have become the hallmark of those experiences. This part of our business strategy continuously makes me smile with pride.
Fast forward to today. I checked out of the hotel I was staying at. I remember when this property opened. I remember the glimmering invitations. I remember the news releases. It has since changed hands, and for whatever reason, the luster has worn off. As I departed, the front desk attendant smiled and wished me well. She had been the very first person to do that since I had arrived nearly 48 hours earlier, waiting in a registration line for nearly an hour only to have the clerk waive me to her window like I was some jumbo jet coming in for a landing.
As I waited to get through the security checkpoint at the airport today, an airport employee literally brushed passed me, flashed her employee ID and kept going…without so much as a “pardon me”. I later observed her brushing past others once again in silence. Perhaps she was late for work. Then a fellow passenger deemed me unprepared to move through screening because I was allowing the couple in front of me to pull practically all of their belongings out on the tables. Again without saying anything nearing manners, he actually said I would take too long! This justified his getting in front of me.
He unfortunately forgot to empty his pockets and had to get a more “personal” screening. I was escorted around him. I slipped my shoes on grabbed my bag of liquids and gels, dropped them into my handbag and smilingly wished him a lovely flight as I passed him again still making friends with a TSA agent.
Manners do count.
(On a personal note: I do come prepared to move through security quickly. Don’t let the purse and high heels fool you.)
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brand marketing, customer service, employee engagement, Employment, Internal Branding, internal communications, Julia Carcamo, leadership, management, marketing, marketing strategy, Miami International Airport, T.G.I. Friday's
According to T.G.I. Friday’s, when Alan Stillman founded the concept in 1965, he created a cool new singles bar because he figured the bar scene in a city full of skyscrapers needed a bit of a shake up. One week later, the New York police were called in to control the crowds as hordes of young people flocked to the city’s newest hot spot.
Today, it’s a lot less “singles bar” but a lot more fun. After all, isn’t Friday the best day of the week?
Last week, I spent a few days listening to some great companies talk about their efforts at leveraging internal branding and improving employee engagement. These companies “get it”. They know that no brand has a chance if the employees aren’t along for the ride. After a whirlwind two days, my traveling companion and I headed to the airport…to cool our heals for the five hours we would have to wait for our flight. He wanted to dine at Friday’s. I just wanted a drink. So, off we went in search of their outpost in the Miami International Airport.
As we walked through the dining room to find our booth in the very back of the restaurant, I happened to get a glimpse of the kitchen. There were a number of workers in there and one was snapping a picture with her camera. I didn’t know if a celebrity had dropped in or if something terrible had happened. Ensconced in our booth, I suddenly heard the cheers and celebration. OK…
Our server stopped by our table to welcome us. I have to tell you she was grinning from ear to ear as you can see by this picture she let me take. I asked her what the celebration was for and she told us that they had been “validated”.
I did not know this, but the location was fairly new. As a team, they staff had all gone through opening and training together, and after a time of review, T.G.I. Friday’s had now deemed them worthy of “earning their stripes”. They instantly went from trainees wearing nondescript black shirts to the most excited group of people I’ve ever seen wearing their brand new red and white striped shirts.
After two days of coveting the beautiful technology being used by some major companies to connect employees to a vision, this group had been connected by the prospect of wearing a cotton poly blend shirt. Wow!
Simple things can connect your vision and your employees.
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brand marketing, creve coeur, customer service, employee engagement, Hooters, Julia Carcamo, management, marketing strategy, marketing tactics, Red Rock Casino, Station Casino
I don’t know if it’s my years working in the hospitality business or just my nature, but I love when I do business with an organization and something they do makes me say “Wow!”. When that happens, I can’t help but tell people about it.
Shortly after I moved to St. Louis, I found myself in need of a dry cleaner. So, I did what any newbie does. I looked for the place close to work. Found it! It’s a small little place in a small little strip mall. Bal Couer Cleaners. They did a good enough job on my cleaning, and it’s convenient. Some time later, I went returned with another bundle of clothes. The very nice person there took inventory of my clothes and dutifully filled out my slip. When she went to write my name up, she didn’t ask. She filled it out herself. Wow! Now she might just be one of those people who has a memory like a steel trap, but even so, I love that she remembered me.
Last year, I had a problem booking rooms at Red Rock Casino, but their social media person jumped on it faster than I could type out my quandary. One of their execs personally took care of my problem in less than an hour. Then when I made my visit, they treated my parents like VIPs. I tell that story to everyone.
Just the start of her balloon bouquet
Just last week we took a co-worker, Elissa, out for her birthday lunch….to Hooters. I know. I know. Why would we go to Hooters for a celebration much less a female co-worker’s celebration? Well, you see, it’s Wing Wednesday or some such promotion and the guys in the group never miss it. We don’t mind it. So, why not? As most co-workers do, we look for any opportunity to make spectacles of each other, and birthdays are the perfect occasion. We let it slip that it was her birthday. OK. Maybe, it was me who let it “slip”. She looked at me with that wait-until-it’s-your-birthday look. At some point during our meal, the server brought over a single balloon with the words “Happy Birthday” written on it. Wow! It was actually a very sweet thing. Not too embarrassing, except for the fact that my co-worker now had this balloon tied to her wrist. Shortly after, another server brought another balloon to the table. Tied it to Elissa’s wrist. Now there were two balloons. Then another and another. It was at this point that Elissa asked just how many servers were working. All told she ended up with five balloons tied to her wrist. Wow! That literally cost them pennies and they created a unique and memorable experience.
It made me wonder what we could do for pennies to create Wow moments with our guests.
What are you doing?
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Customer Service and Marketing Strategy and Brand Marketing and Advertising
customer service, advertising, marketing, marketing strategy, marketing tactics, employee engagement, brand marketing, Harvard Business Review, media, St. Louis, New Orleans, American Eagle Outfitters, anheuser-busch, InBev, Vovici, jason gurwin, mobile marketing, mobile strategy, beer, 10 best commercials, Adweek, Buisness Insider
Wow! December already. Where has this year gone? Here is my Friday Five – five articles I came across this week that inspired me, made me think or just made me do a double-take.
There’s a Busch brewing again. I’m not a beer drinker, but I currently reside in St. Louis and know it’s a part of the fabric of this city. When InBev successfully attempted to takeover Anheuser-Busch, it was quite a blow to the city and its residents. I once took the tour of the brewery and learned so much about the history of this storied business. Recently, I read that a Busch has started brewing again. I wonder what he’ll build this into? Read about it here.
It’s the end of the year, and everyone has started making lists. How could I work in marketing and not have an opinion about Adweek‘s 10 best commercials of 2011 or the ones selected by Business Insider as the best of 2011?
By the way, if you’re wondering what the impact has been of InBev’s ownership of AB, one of them seems to be (sadly) that the Clydesdales will not be participating in the “Rose Parade”.
If you’re not a New Orleanian, you may not know of Arthur Davis, but if you’ve see a New Orleans Saints home game or watched the Hornets play at home, chances are you’ve seen his work. Davis left an indelible mark in the skyline of New Orleans. Along with his partner Nathaniel Curtis, he designed the (now Mercedes-Benz) Superdome, New Orleans Arena, New Orleans Public Library, Rivergate and countless other schools, churches and buildings in the city. He passed away at the age of 91. Take a moment to read about him here.
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American Eagle Outfitters, Brand Champions, brand development, brand marketing, casino marketing, customer service, employee engagement, human resources, Jet Blue, Julia Carcamo, management, marketing strategy, marketing tactics, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, The Media & Marketing Group, Zappos
Lately, I’ve been on the hunt, not for deer or duck as most of the men I know are doing right now. I’ve been on the hunt for brand champions. Not for shooting by arrow or bullet, but for finding out what makes them tick. What makes them such great brand ambassadors? There is no limited season for that. Brand champions can be found and cultivated 365 days a year.
There are moments each day for every business where employees can make or break how a customer will feel about that business. Creating brand champions is about leveraging employees to make those connections positive each and every time.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with most of our human resources directors to talk about the great employees we have, how we can get them excited about working for us, and how we can help them continue the conversation with potential guests and new hires within their own social networks – whether online or offline.
We have several employees we already know of as “engaged”. The volume of nominations for our recent Superstar project was incredible. It really was tough culling it down to the six or seven per property, and we’ve gotten many requests for doing it again. And the number of day 1 employees always blows me away.
We’re borrowing ideas from some companies who have such great brand champions that I am constantly in awe of them - Zappos, Southwest Airlines, American Eagle, Apple, Starbucks, Jet Blue…luckily the list is long. There are a number of things that we (and you) can do. They take time and or resources, but the only real dependency is the priority you put on your employees being an extension of your brand…scratch that…being the extension of your brand that you ultimately want.
I’d love it if you would take a look at the conversation we had in that meeting and if you shared what you are doing to create brand champions.
As always, a big thank you to our agency, The Media & Marketing Group.
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casino marketing and Customer Service
brand marketing, casino, casino marketing, Customer, customer service, gambling, marketing strategy, see.say.smile., Slot machine
Smiling Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. Employees
As countless businesses continue to advertise their friendly employees, customers can easily jump to a conclusion of a great product. This isn’t always the case. How many times have you sat down to a meal in a restaurant, greeted by the most intoxicatingly friendly server only to have one of the worst meals in recent history?
Today we expect “service with a smile”— and many times, that expectation is satisfied. But when customers are forced to wait in long lines, can fast and friendly overcome the burden?
Casino marketers seem to particularly ignore this paradox. Tuesdays are slow. Let’s do a 2-for1 buffet for lunch! Sure we’ll get the crowds, but what happens when the person with an hour for lunch finds herself still standing in line 45 minutes later. How is that smiling cashier going to solve this problem?
How about Thursdays? Let’s send out a bonus offer, but we want to make sure we’re tracking it. So, we make a customer stop by the players club booth first, and if we really want to be cruel, we’ll make them stop at the cage next before they finally get to sit at a slot machine. Lines. Lines. Everywhere a line.
Let’s face it. Friendly employees are the price of entry. I realize I say this as a marketer of what is becoming a paragon courtesy program, See.Say.Smile. But, as a consumer myself, I think that a great experience is the source of satisfaction. Customers who are having a good time, smile back at those smiling employees in a way that makes your casino a great place to work. So rather than throwing up a billboard with your smiling employees, think about what you can do to create some smiling customers…and thereby keep your employees smiling.
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