You would think that the Gaming Industry would be screaming with outrage with the most recent down outlook by Moody's Investors Service, revising its' update of the industry from stable to negative. Been pretty quiet out there in terms of response!
Maybe this is due to summer activity at gaming facilities. Perhaps, it has something to do with the expansion of gaming in a number of large states like New York and Massachusetts. It could be the spin you put on your status, like in Atlantic City; is it on the demise or merely a transformation. Tribal gaming is still spitting with states as to rights and share revenue; major properties are closing; gaming initiatives are facing a repeal action by citizens; markets are saturated. Even Destination Markets, like Deadwood, SD are reeling. This is full reinvention, as the New York Times noted with the article: "As Gold and Gambling Lose Their Luster, Deadwood Seeks a Spark.” Interestingly, Las Vegas is holding its own, able to work through feast and famine!
This is surely a curious time. Moody's SVP Keith Foley noted, "The fact regional gaming revenues excluding Nevada remained flat, despite further improvement in the economy and additional regional casinos throughout the US, is a strong indication that US consumers will continue to limit their spending to items more essential than gaming, even as the US economy continues to improve."
Those in the industry can react any number of ways - gnash those teeth, slap some more money at marketing, hide our heads in the sand or become proactive. The gaming scene has changed and will continue to challenge - gaming has become just another choice for that expendable dollar - you have lost some of the the glitter and promise. Moody's laid it out succinctly: "Moody's currently estimates that total US gaming revenues reported by state gaming authorities will decrease at a rate of between 3.0% and 5.0% over the next 12 to 18 months, translating to a decrease in overall industry earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of between 4.5% and 7.5%. Because gaming involves relatively large fixed assets and costs, Moody's expects earnings to decline at a faster rate than revenues".
When all is considered, you do have control over one aspect of the business - the Player Experience. Even though you are competing against what Moody'd referred to above as "...items more essential than gaming," the thirst for entertainment, choice and authenticity is strong, particularly when you offer the full range of excitement - dining, recreation, shopping, shows and revues, spas, and, naturally, games of chance. The challenge is to make the experience compelling and memorable.
Do you have your finger on the pulse of the operation? What are your guests and players telling you? How are you responding to their comments and insights? Are your standards and protocols in place and practiced consistently? The flavor of your Brand needs to be everywhere. Is the facility gleaming and clean? Of course, the major differentiation, no matter the retail business, is customer service. You can compete!
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog 'A Guy Walks In'. LRA is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability. We have built a range of quality assurance, mystery shopping, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so.
Today, we are a growing company operating in more than 120 countries throughout the world, servicing our clients from offices and resources in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions and helping clients such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the National Football League, Avis Budget Group, Madison Square Garden, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group deliver exceptional customer experiences. Every touch. Every time. For more information, visit www.LRAworldwide.com.
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