ICC: Casinos should amplify ‘social experience’, according to study

ICC: Casinos should amplify ‘social experience’, according to study

Monday, February 2, 2015 Totally Gaming

The attraction of a variety of social experiences, and not just the lure of gambling, can help to drive customers to casinos, according to the findings of a Mystery Visits project conducted by Acumen and exclusive to ICE Totally Gaming.

The results of the study, which were presented to delegates today (Monday) at the International Casino Conference, found that ‘mystery visitors’ to four UK casinos provided overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding the atmosphere, food and drink on offer.

All of the 19 visitors, who provided feedback over a three-month period, said they would recommend visiting a casino, with 23 per cent highlighting the atmosphere as the top attraction, followed by 22 per cent noting the meal quality and 19 per cent noting the level of service followed by 17 per cent noting the gaming.

“Food quality is clearly important and the visitors were impressed,” Acumen development director Jane Bliss told delegates at the Hippodrome Casino in London.

“There is maybe an opportunity there as we found that the quality of the food, for example, compared favourably with other sectors such as pubs.”

The sense that casinos can provide a multitude of social experiences, and not just gaming, was supported by the finding that a quarter of the visitors would envisage going to the casino with their families.

Unsurprisingly the casino was seen as an ideal night out with friends or colleagues for 39 per cent of the mystery visitors, above 17 per cent for a birthday and five per cent for a hen or stag night.

“The importance of having a fun and safe environment came out strongly, as well as the quality of food and drink,” Bliss said.

“The mixture of age groups was also mentioned, again indicating that offering a variety of social options within one venue is important.”

However, the study also uncovered areas of potential improvement, with 40 per cent saying that aspects of the casino experience were not explained to them fully by staff.

In a panel session that immediately followed the presentation of the results, Bliss agreed with Per Jaldung, Carol Pagan and Sarah Sculpher that mystery visits are particularly useful for improving customer service techniques.

“The process allows you to evaluate the consistency of service and quality,” Bliss said. “It is not about one or two people in your organisation. It should be everyone who comes into contact with a customer.

Sculpher, the group marketing director EMEA, Caesars UK, added: “It’s about understanding your segment behaviours.  Mystery visits are good for getting the basics right.

“Customer service is crucial as a differentiator as every game on offer can be found in another casino.”

Pagan, the chief executive of Casino Campione, described mystery visits as a “key marketing investment”, while Jaldung, the CEO of Casino Cosmopol, explained how his company had adapted the process.

“We started out with four visits per year, but now after a couple of years’ break, we have gone to two per year,” he said.

“It is a really useful tool for duty managers to sit down with their staff and go through things.”

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