Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Marketing A Casino During A Recession

February 28, 2009: from Casino Journal -- Most, if not all, sectors will be affected by the economic downturn. Whether it manifests in fluctuating occupancy rates, casino visitors or reservation conversions, the hotel and casino industry will be no exception. To make strategies for optimizing web presence, hotel-casino properties need to be strategic about online marketing plans to ensure they are maximizing every channel the digital space has to offer.

By reevaluating a marketing mix, advertisers can research and isolate components that are no longer effective in times when consumers are hesitant to spend; it can also unearth channels that are better suited to reach users when they are spending more time researching purchases and less time actually making them. Once marketers acquire this information, they can make smart budgetary choices that make the most impact with users. Good news for marketers is that while users may cut back on their spending, they are still active online. eMarketer reported in January that users spend 30 percent of their leisure time online; this number is up from 15 percent last year. This means that marketers still have an opportunity to reach online users-even more than in years past-attract casino visitors, and meet occupancy numbers.

As we all know, it is more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain one. I urge marketing departments to take a look at their customer relationship management programs (CRM) to make absolutely certain that relationships with existing customers are not neglected. One point that I cannot overemphasize is that in the online space brand evangelists are a companies' greatest asset. By cultivating a relationship with previous guests-creating a more resilient bond-hotel and casinos can generate a base of brand fans that essentially do the job of a marketing team. With social communities, blogs, and review websites, users have a vast amount of online real estate to promote or slander their experiences at your property. Digital marketers need to use this to their advantage as much as possible. Whenever appropriate feature links to guide satisfied users to these sites and encourage their participation. This will help marketers get the most traction out of each interaction and positive user experience without any additional outreach. Peer reviews influential factors during a customer's purchase decision making process, so tapping into this conversation is extremely effective.

By paying attention to how users interact with your web site, how they find you, and where they are in a conversion funnel, sales teams are also in a better position to reassess their efforts to capitalize on inbound leads. When every sale counts, analytics data can illuminate user insights, such as brand affinity or path to purchase.

While not ideal, a recession does force marketers revamp stagnate campaigns and maximize our creative muscles. By optimizing each component of a marketing plan, you can better drive relevant traffic to your Web site. These efforts will ensure that when the economy rebounds, you will have a stronger base of loyal customers and a firmer grasp of what works best to acquire new ones. This solid foundation also will help you execute more extensive or experimental campaigns when budgets loosen and consumers have more to spend.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/aowb2j

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