Operator talk: Can casinos follow golf’s line in attracting new generation?

Operator talk: Can casinos follow golf’s line in attracting new generation?

Thursday, April 14, 2016 Totally Gaming
Topgolf Media's YuChiang Cheng will be discussing his company's success at this month's Millennial Summit

Bright lights, fun, laughter, competition, food being served, drinks being necked, young people enjoying themselves, young people spending money. 

It sounds like the dream scenario for all those casino operators looking to attract the much-discussed Millennials to their properties, it sounds like the kind of place all the experts are telling them to build.

While it might be a dream to some, it is actually a reality in another sector that has also been accused of being behind the times and not catering for the younger generation – golf.

Bringing an entirely new concept to a sport or pastime that is often considered too stuffy and old-fashioned for the Millennials, Topgolf is a global sports entertainment community with venues in 24 cities across the US and UK. The traditional game itself is represented at each site by players hitting balls containing microchips that track each shot’s accuracy and distance while awarding points for hitting targets on the outfield, but there is much more to it than that.

Topgolf has been a roaring hit, with more than 12 million guests expected in 2016, and its recruitment of hundreds of workers across its sites shows it is confident enough in its progress to keep on expanding. 

The good news is that Topgolf Media’s President YuChiang Cheng is to be a guest speaker at this month’s Millennial Summit, which is running in tandem with GiGse, and will give attendees at the San Francisco event the lowdown on Topgolf’s success.

“Each Topgolf venue offers an impressive food and beverage menu, music, games, climate-controlled hitting bays and hundreds of HDTVs,” Cheng told TotallyGaming.com. “Topgolf is a place where you can bring your friends, family or colleagues and have the best times of your life.”

In his case study ‘Creating a multi-surface millennial engagement strategy’, Cheng will also discuss how Topgolf moved from its original land-based offering to incorporate digital following its purchase of World Golf Tour (WGT), the sports gaming company, earlier this year. It subsequently set up Topgolf Media, which creates and distributes advanced media content across multiple platforms, reaching more than 22 million fans within what is the world’s largest digital golf audience.

With many land-based casino operators also looking to further their digital reach, Cheng’s advice on the merging of two entities will be of great interest for attendees. 

“For convergence to really be successful, it’s important to find a partner that has true expertise," Cheng said. "What made our acquisition work was a respect for WGT’s talent and Topgolf’s commitment to retain the brainpower that made the games successful in the first place.

“Look for a digital partner that’s killing it in their own space and come alongside them to grow your two companies into one innovative powerhouse.”

While not directly involved in the gambling industry, Cheng hopes that his appearance at the Millennial Summit will be of benefit to those hoping to reach out to a new generation.

“Topgolf has a unique opportunity to integrate into Millennials’ lives as a lifestyle brand,” he said. “Today, guest engagement means providing a rich, meaningful digital experience – but added value comes when you can draw them out from behind a screen to participate in an in-person activity. They’ll meet their friends for a beer and game of Topgolf, share their experience in real-time on social media, and then take our digital content with them to play Topgolf from their phone during the week.

“We can build deep relationships with guests through relevant exclusive content when they want it, where they want it.”

* GiGse and the Millennial Summit will take place at the Marriott Marquis, San Francisco from April 27-29. Visit www.gigse.com for further information.

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