It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are already upon us.
We just finished celebrating Halloween (reminder to take down my decorations) and are starting to get mentally prepared for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’re already seeing warnings about supply chain shortages and rising prices due to inflation. Experts are predicting shortages in everything from video game consoles to alcohol to Christmas lights. And Amazon recently issued investors a warning of lower revenue and operating profit due to supply shortages, increased wage costs, global supply chain issues, and increased freight and shipping costs. The holidays are supposed to be a time of peace and joy – and this definitely doesn’t fit the bill.
That said, all of this negative news and uncertainty in the retail industry has created a huge opportunity for the travel industry and especially resort casinos, which have a robust product offering and large database of loyal customers – two critical components of success.
Casino Marketing on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
As we all know in our personal lives as consumers, the holidays “officially” start the day after Thanksgiving – Black Friday. This is the day when all the stuff we really don’t need goes on sale and we rush to physical stores at 5 a.m. to enjoy large discounts and promotions. Of course, this has evolved over the years with the growth of the Internet and Cyber Monday, which has ultimately turned that entire weekend into a shopping extravaganza both online and offline.
Over the past few years, the travel industry has caught onto this trend. Here are a couple of quotes from Travel Weekly to solidify this idea:
- Camille Olivere, senior vice president of sales at Norwegian Cruise Line, said bookings made in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions are “right up there in the top-performing days that we see throughout the year.”
- Similarly for Eric Gavin, chief sales and marketing officer for Salamander Hotels & Resorts “Cyber Monday is the most popular booking day of the year across our company.”
Post Pandemic Casino Marketing
Black Friday and Cyber Monday were already important trends for resort casinos to consider and plan for leading up to 2021. Add in the global pandemic and the current economic environment, and it’s even more important to be on top of it. Below are five strategies we highly recommend you and your marketing team employ to maximize the revenue impact to your casino during the Black Friday through Cyber Monday weekend. Listed in no particular order:
- Get your promotional offerings right
As a casino and/or resort marketer you’re used to selling the now – as in “stay this weekend for $199.” It’s a decision for a consumer to make fairly quickly with an upcoming trip tied to specific travel dates, usually for the next few weeks or months. We like to call this the process of converting existing demand, or “bottom of funnel” marketing. While this is an important strategy, we need more flexibility for those with interest and money, but no set plans. You’ll want to have promotional offers for each audience. An offer for a short term rate or package that can be booked in the moment AND an offer that can be prepaid and redeemed at some point over the next 6-12 months.
- Get more value from your database
You’ve worked hard to develop a loyal database of players. These players are also people who shop for the holidays. Be visible when they start shopping and offer your product and services for them as gifts for friends and family. After all, we know they like you – it’s now a matter of being there during their shopping experience. A great way to do this is by creating a custom audience in Google Search and Facebook to advertise to. By uploading email addresses of existing players, Google and Facebook are able to match user and device IDs and allow you to advertise to them when they search for “black friday deals” or “2021 gift ideas.” You would never advertise on these topics to a larger audience, but this is a curated list of known high-value players. Get in front of them!
- Sell gift cards – for real
Most of you offer gift cards and have a link to buy them on your website. Maybe during the holidays you move that link up a little or add a small graphic to your homepage. That’s ok, but let’s put some real effort into merchandising these things. Create an ad campaign promoting gift cards. And maybe add a site extension to your current brand advertisements. Consider remarketing to past hotel guests on Facebook and Instagram. These platforms are a great place to use cool visuals of your amenities to get potential customers excited about your offerings. And don’t forget about boring old email marketing – this is still a highly effective way to promote and sell items.
- Sell the experience
As marketers, we too often sell product features. “Come enjoy our 5 restaurants and 8 bars and lounges.” Boring stuff… we need to sell experiences. Giving someone the gift of a visit to your resort casino is really the gift of a unique and memorable experience – whether it’s romantic, adventurous, indulgent or wild. This is the message consumers need to see. This makes the buyer feel good about making the purchase at your property instead of buying someone a retail item on Amazon.
- Video rules
When it comes time to put your Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing plans into place, don’t underestimate the importance of video. If a picture tells a thousand words, then a video tells ten thousand. Videos can be leveraged in advertisements, organic social posts, web pages and even linked to from email. Think of compelling ways to sell experiences and promote your property’s offerings in the best light possible with video. You will stand out from competitors and appeal to younger audiences hooked on Reels and Tik Tok.