Seizing the Entertainment Loyalty Moment With Open Arms, Open Wallets and an A+ Effort

Oct 25, 2012

If ever there were an industry known for its loyalty marketing expertise, entertainment would figure prominently. Kobie’s cornerstone belief maintains that an engaging experience is key to driving repeat loyalty and not about accumulating points in a virtual wallet or bin. It’s a logic that holds true in entertainment and across industry sub-verticals; whether it’s the Atlanta Braves offering branded credit cards or casino/hotels striving toward customer retention, and everything in between.

Hollywood, too, knows the value of entertainment and does a superb job of reminding the public of its value and worth during the long “Awards Season.” Speaking of awards, The Screen Actors Guild Award deserves an honorable mention as it got me thinking about the casino/hotel reference above and how it relates to loyalty and an entirely different, though related, type of award. Often you’ll hear actors remark that the best thing about the SAG’s versus the Oscars comes down to who is doing the voting, i.e., peer actors, not a committee.

And that’s why an announcement about Caesars Entertainment Corporation, billed as the world’s most diversified casino-entertainment company, arrived in my inbox serendipitously timed. The company’s loyalty program, Total Rewards, earned COLLOQUY’s Master of Enterprise Loyalty A award from the loyalty industry. The reward program was recognized for its ability to better engage and interact with customers, embracing “a corporate-wide, holistic approach to using data to transform the consumer experience and improve both financial and customer performance.”

In real money terms (for both company and customer), that translates to  Caesars’ guests having maximum flexibility to earn and burn casino rewards points and use them for a rich diversity of recreational options like dining, retail and entertainment venues at stores that include Best Buy, Target, the Apple Store, Banana Republic, among others.

While I applaud Caesars and its Total Rewards program on its own merits, it’s important to point out how little the public thinks or knows about entertainment industry loyalty programs and loyalty marketing in general. What’s more, the gaming industry itself is placed under a new, more positive light as consumers beyond that niche discover that hotel-casinos aren’t just about making money. Yes, casinos are known to disguise their exits (not the emergency ones). Yes, clocks are rare to reinforce a sense of timelessness. And yes, rows of slot machine banks and repetitive, maze-like carpeting and mirroring further enhance the sense of enclosure. But none, none, of these tactics would work in the first place if hotel-casinos weren’t working overtime to ensure their experience was an A+ hit.  And central to that effort includes top-notch reward programs, built like the finest slot machines with state-of-the-art loyalty management tools.

As in other industry verticals, loyalty programs are a vital component in driving heightened revenue, and are often necessary for companies to remain in the budgetary black with casino-hotels being no different. Room rates are just one part of the puzzle, and gaming revenue is another. But loyalty programs that take rewards from the confines of those sometimes-claustrophobic gaming floors are critical if the industry as a whole is looking to hit the jackpot when it comes to attracting a new generation of guests while retaining the old.

Kudos to Caesars for the loyalty work it’s done.