(Gloucestercitynews.net)(Dec. 10, 2019)--The customer, like all businesses, is the most important person in both the hotel and casino industry and by extension, their loyalty is vital to their success.
Loyalty schemes and bonuses aren’t anything new - just about every business offering a product or service utilizes them. Pick up a coffee at any local shop and you’ll fill another space on the loyalty card, log on to an online casino and you’ll be able to claim comp points for the games that you play.
Loyalty schemes and rewards aren’t anything new, but how effective each method is is still up for debate. But those discussing will struggle to argue that the Vegas hotels and casinos are at the forefront of the loyalty business.
There are so many different hotels in Vegas and with each one competing for the same customers, it’s hardly a surprise that loyalty is a serious business. So, how exactly do hotels inspire loyalty among patrons?
The brand itself
The single most important marketing consideration that any business faces is the brand itself and, done correctly, this is enough to make for strong loyalty.
By marketing the hotel for the correct audience and selling the lifestyle rather than the hotel itself, businesses are much more likely to receive new customers that they may otherwise fail to have caught. This can be done in a number of different ways, perhaps the most interesting in recent times being digital and social media marketing.
Branding is particularly important through the hotel itself too with the decor, feel and staff all linking to the lifestyle that the brand portrays. In the era in which the everyday person chooses to share their life online - everything matters and the good (and bad) will be shared.
Traditional loyalty schemes
A traditional loyalty scheme structure seems to be the preferred way for the Vegas hard-hitters to instill loyalty and create a loyal fanbase.
From offers and discounts on rooms, the chance to bag tickets to events before the rest of the crowds and VIP treatment wherever you go - it does a very good job of keeping customers happy. But this doesn’t tend to come easily and there’s a price to pay before the benefits can be reaped, often in the form of tier credits. The more tier credits earned, the better the benefits that can be claimed.
The best we to run through this to give you an idea of what to expect is to have a look through a case study and get to grips with the loyalty offered.
Case study: MGM Resorts - M Life Program
Maybe the best example of hotel loyalty schemes comes from the bosses at MGM Resorts and their loyalty program “M Life” consistent across all hotels owned (MGM Grand, Bellagio, Mirage, etc.).
The company uses a five-tier system with each tier offering bigger and better benefits for those staying at any of the MGM resorts.
A certain number of tier credits is required before the next level can be reached which are earned with spending on gaming activities, hotel rooms, dining, entertainment, etc. If you’re spending money at the resort, chances are that you’re collecting tier points in doing so.
The first loyalty level that all guests will receive is the Sapphire status - the level received for simply signing up for the rewards scheme.
Members will receive a 10% discount on rooms at valid MGM properties with an additional 5% discount at the participating shops found at the resort. There’s even the chance to earn early access to tickets for events at MGM resorts around the globe.
Next up is pearl, the status reached when earning 35,000 tier credits inside a program year.
Alongside the benefits earned from Sapphire, members will find themselves with a 10% points-earning from slot play and an additional six months of expiration time. There’s the chance to be invited to members-only events and the shopping discount is bumped up to 10% at those stores participating.
Gold follows Pearl and requires members to earn 75,000 tier credits per program year to qualify.
The benefits of Pearl will still stand, but there’s a 20% bonus on slot play and express comps, the availability of priority check-in lines and room upgrades for hotel stays. Gold members will also be able to make priority reservations at restaurants as well as VIP lines in both buffets and select nightclubs.
A huge 200,000 tier credits inside a singe program year are required to reach the Platinum level and the benefits that come with it.
Those at the Platinum level are entitled to one free cruise per program year on either Royal Caribbean of Celebrity in either the Bahamas or the Caribbean for 3, 4 or 5 nights depending on gambling history. That’s just the start and Platinum members should also be able to earn 30% on slots and express comps alongside a 15% discount at shops.
The highest tier available in the M Life Program is Noir, an invitation-only program that’s rumored to only be available for those spending $250,000 or more per year in MGM casinos.
Benefits include a complimentary week-long cruise, a 40% bonus on slots play and express comps, VIP check-in services, private lounge access, guaranteed hotel and restaurant reservations, complimentary limo service from the airport to the hotel and the list goes on…
To cut a long story short
To cut a long story short, there’s a huge number of ways that Vegas hotels could inspire loyalty among patrons, but, as our case study points out, it’s the traditional loyalty scheme that proves popular with the Vegas hard-hitters.
By introducing a tier-system, customers have the incentive to try and earn tier points and move up the levels to gain access to improved benefits and amenities. With cruises, slot and express comp bonuses, shop discounts and even limo service all available and working with the brand itself, it’s not difficult to see why the loyalty schemes are so effective.
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