When it comes to customer service, Harrah’s has been used as an example of a casino that “gets it.” Ten years ago, when Harrah’s introduced their “Total Rewards Frequent Gambler Card,” it was seen by some as risky and too expensive, but it proved to be another industry disruptor that caused the competition to reconsider.
The concept was quite straightforward. Harrah’s would collect data on their customers, and then using their identifying information, such as name and address, the casino could follow their activity while they played. When a customer swiped their card in the machine it would identify them, and they could play like normal, but they were also able to score points that could be used for discounts on meals, hotel rooms and other perks. The system doesn’t use any information about their income, but rather their value to the casino based upon how they play.
Instantly, Harrah’s began to learn things about their customers that they might not have known prior to the roll out of the program. Based on the information they collected, Harrah’s reorganized the layout of their casino similar to the style of a grocery store. Popular slots were placed in the back, and higher margin games like roulette and blackjack were placed in the center of the space while more expensive slots were placed around this “party pit.”
The results were significant. The amount spent in this area increased by 5 times. Profit margins increased by 15%. But when the casino makes money, that means gamblers are losing money, and long term, this keeps a casino from being sticky.
So they turned to the data again.