Even though the casino industry as a whole continues to generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, brick-and-mortar casinos in the United States are experiencing a drop in gaming revenue. Their current target market consists of Baby Boomers who are getting older and will be replaced by Millennials, a younger audience with very different preferences.
On average, Boomers spend 80 percent of their money on gaming, while only 20 percent is spent on food and entertainment. For Millennials, who account for 30% of spending while Gen Xers account for 70%, the situation is nearly completely inverted. The majority of casinos, however, are not doing enough to attract people in this age group. To continue to exist and even grow in the coming years, casinos will need to update and modernize the experiences they offer to cater to the desires of a younger demographic.
Taking part in a game with other people
The current gambling climate does not appeal to Millennials in the same way that it does to Baby Boomers. As a result, casinos are attempting to modernize the experience to make it more relevant to modern tastes.
One of the major topics of discussion at the previous year’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) was how to improve the social aspects of the gaming experience. In response to this trend, casinos are investigating ways to socialize their own gaming experience. As a result, casino spaces have been completely remodeled to accommodate these new social gaming experiences.
For example, Wynn Las Vegas has introduced the Encore Players Club, a brand new high-end lounge on its property. Players can still place bets at traditional gaming tables, but they can also choose to play pool, listen to live DJ entertainment or relax while watching high-definition television broadcasts of sporting events.
Meanwhile, Cosmopolitan’s new sportsbook has adopted a strategy similar to this one. This large social room features a full bar, shuffleboard, foosball, and billiards, as well as other games such as roulette, blackjack tables, and video poker machines.
These relaxed lounges are far better suited for large groups of people who want to socialize, relax, and play games without the impression that gambling is the only show in town.
The value of ability cannot be overstated
Slot machines have evolved over several decades with an almost exclusive focus on the concept of chance and luck. Millennials, on the other hand, have spent their entire lives immersed in immersive video games with a focus on a strategy that tests and rewards talent. In the twenty-first century, the thrill of winning or losing money based on the outcome of a random spin on a slot machine wheel is not nearly as exciting.
As a result, a new generation of casino games has just been developed that puts players’ abilities at the center of the action. Gamblit Gaming, based in California, has created a variety of releases for use in casinos. High Orbit is one of these, and it’s described as a “fast-paced space shooter.” In this game, players earn money by destroying asteroids and aliens. Gamblit is also working with video game publishers to create spin-offs of popular games that already have tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of fans.
As the market for e-sports expands in Las Vegas, luck-based slot machines are becoming increasingly obsolete. The Downtown Grand has taken the lead in the industry by opening the Downtown Underground esports lounge. Every Friday and Saturday night, participants pay $15 to enter and compete in tournaments featuring popular video game titles, with the chance to win $250 if they win.
It won’t be long before arcade-style tournaments and games take over the regular casino floor. Even though advances of this nature will undoubtedly be more appealing, the fact remains that Millennials would prefer to spend their travel money on other things.
Millennials favor entertainment over gambling
Even though gambling remains a pleasurable pastime, the majority of Millennials are drawn to Las Vegas by its world-class restaurants, live music scene, and large-scale events.
The city’s electronic dance music (EDM) culture has flourished in recent years, becoming a significant contributor to the city’s overall revenue. Electric Daisy Carnival is a music festival that debuted in 2011 and has since contributed an astounding $1.3 billion to the Las Vegas economy.
This does not imply that casinos must rush out and hire the next famous DJ to attract a younger audience. This does, however, imply that they should consider how they can attract Millennials in ways that go beyond the typical appeals they use.
The majority of the city’s hotels have already begun to address this issue by making significant investments in entertainment aimed specifically at the Millennial demographic.
A new open-air pedestrian mall adjacent to the LINQ Hotel and Casino has been built. This mall has several attractions, including the High Roller, the world’s official highest Ferris wheel. Furthermore, the mall has several bars and stores. Customers can participate in “Yoga in the Sky” sessions or book a “Happy Half Hour cabin,” which includes an open bar inside the pod as well as a breathtaking view.
Furthermore, MGM Resort has created its open-air pedestrian mall known as The Park. The T-Mobile Area is a sports and entertainment complex, and Beerhaus is a hip beer hall with a community terrace that features classic games such as foosball, ping pong, Jenga and Connect Four. Guests can choose from a variety of entertainment options, including a theater.
Meanwhile, Caesars Palace has opened the Oculus Virtual Reality Lounge, the city of Las Vegas’ first virtual reality bar. Guests can don a headset and play some of the most well-known virtual reality games now available in a private location within the chic Alto Bar.
Marketing must go digital
A significant number of casinos continue to rely on more traditional marketing strategies (such as direct mail) to attract customers. However, in this day and age, such a strategy will simply not suffice. Furthermore, Millennials are not the only generation that is heavily reliant on mobile technology and spends a significant amount of time online; Baby Boomers are also in this category.
A strong online presence is necessary for the twenty-first century. Hotels must develop multi-channel marketing strategies in order to connect with customers at each point of interaction along the increasingly mobile-reliant travel journey.
Paid marketing strategies that can be implemented include advertising campaigns on social networking platforms, Google AdWords campaigns, and sponsored articles on travel-related websites. Owned media channels, such as regularly updating the hotel blog and being active on social media, can also be used. A dedicated YouTube channel, Facebook brand page, or Instagram account can also be used to promote events and attractions.
Casino hotel loyalty programs must be more adaptable
To address this issue, several hotels have begun allowing customers to book casino loyalty through the booking engine. This removes an unnecessary barrier that appears to be slowing the number of people signing up for loyalty memberships. Despite these efforts, the technical process is not the only thing that requires improvement.
Because millennials gamble less frequently than previous generations, it is necessary to investigate alternative approaches to encourage repeat reservations. Rather, guests may be awarded loyalty points based on the amount of money they spend at the hotel restaurant, spa, or on tickets to live acts and events. An example of ancillary revenue would be this.
It is also possible to track previous spending habits and use that data to create personalized promotions aimed at luring customers back to the establishment based on the specific types of attractions, entertainment, and amenities that they found most appealing.
Adapting to remain relevant
Millennials continue to flock to Las Vegas in droves, but they now spend a much smaller portion of their money on gambling and much more on other forms of entertainment. The time is rapidly approaching when casinos will need to reconfigure themselves to cater to the interests and needs of a new generation.
Millennials are more likely to splurge on experiences such as attending upscale restaurants or the latest music festivals rather than risking their money on a random outcome at the roulette table. When they gamble, they want it to be an out-of-the-ordinary experience rather than one that seems routine. The lone gamer is giving way to groups of friends who prefer to play games that test their ability rather than their luck in a more social setting.
For the casino hotel sector in the United States to remain relevant in the coming decades, the industry must first understand the various customer preferences and then adapt accordingly.