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Ryan Hill, Director of Customer Experience for Caesars Entertainment, gave multiple presentations at Customer Expo 2018, each of which told his brand’s story and offered insight into the many ways companies can cultivate loyalty while adapting to change.
“You’re probably familiar with our flagship brand, Casaers Palace,” he said. “We’re a lot bigger than that.” Indeed, the famous casino hotel has massive brand recognition, but Caesars Entertainment has over 50 hotels, and the company has risen to the challenge of creating customer loyalty, even when its locations are hundreds of miles apart.
The company has a rewards program called Total Rewards that, at 55 million members, is the largest in the gaming industry. Hill noted, however, that “a very small percentage of our guests make up a large proportion of the folks who gives us their money. About 0.4 percent of our Total Rewards guests make up 30 percent of our gaming win.” The brand needed to figure out ways to encourage the majority of their customers, the ones less interested in gaming and with less money to spare, to seek out VIP experiences.
In response to this challenge, the company launched the Experience the Empire campaign. Through the campaign, customers can exchange credits for a chance to win a VIP experience, anything from attending a celebrity golf tournament to going on a South African safari. Credits are acquired anytime a customer puts money into the slots, goes to see a show, or even buys dinner. Hill emphasized that Experience the Empire was designed to be customer-centric, as it seeks to reward consumers with luxurious opportunities.
In one session, Hill noted that “brand visibility does not equal brand favorability.” He was focused on the millennial market, which is generally aware of Caesars Palace, but does not view it in the same positive light as older markets. The brand responded with its Like A Caesar campaign, which sought to return to the brand’s original mission to let each guest feel like royalty while staying at the hotel. (That’s why the name “Caesars Palace” lacks an apostrophe). The brand leveraged YouTube Director Mix, which played ads that were based on users’ searches.
Additionally, Hill explained that the company has had to adapt to Las Vegas’s shift from a gaming market to an entertainment mecca. Fortunately for the Caesars brand, the company has a history of staging, in Hill’s words, “spectacular events.” Caesars Palace hosted a famous Evil Knievel jump, and it boasts of a Celine Dion residency. To keep this emphasis on entertainment alive, the company partnered with the History Channel to host a July 2018 revival of Knievel’s jump, which featured motorcycle-star Travis Pastrana. More than a publicity stunt or literal stunt, the move cemented the Caesars brand as a living entertainment legacy.
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