Research Library

The Situation Analysis

Before the casino management team formulates the objectives, strategies, action plans and budgets that comprise the marketing plan, they must first take stock of what occurred in the market over the past year and attempt to predict its future direction. This is called the Situation Analysis. Only with this analysis can the team formulate realistic goals and objectives and devise appropriate strategies and action plans. At a minimum the Situation Analysis should examine four basic areas: market analysis, the competition, the customer, and the property.

What happened and what will occur in the markets that the casino serves? Without fully understanding the economic, demographic and gaining trends in the market, any prediction of the property’s revenue/gaming growth would be nothing more than a guess.

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Developing a Casino Marketing Plan That Works

The phenomenon of casino development in the United States is a fairly recent trend. Outside the jurisdictions of Nevada and Atlantic City, casinos have existed for little more than a decade. Initially, marketing plan development and implementation were not critical factors in the success of these early operations. Casino operators were able to open facilities and implement a variety of marketing programs based more on individual managers’ personal experiences or to simply mimic what the competition was doing rather than develop marketing strategies and action plans based on their customer’s needs and market trends.

Today, a sizable number of Indian gaming properties operate in very competitive environments. As such, there is now a real need for casinos to develop and implement structured marketing plans.

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You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure

A fundamental axiom of business is that you cannot manage what you cannot measure and what can be measured can be improved. Few casino operators would discount the importance of customer service in today’s competitive gaming environment. Property managers almost always cite their customer service as a critical factor that sets them apart from their competition. In fact, customer service often appears as part of a casino’s mission statement or as a basis of its operating strategy.

To monitor customer service casinos often rely on comment cards that are placed around the property and are periodically tabulated. Casinos may also employ a more sophisticated version of comment cards in which a third-party provider prints, collects and tabulates customer comments. A monthly report is then made available. The fundamental problem with comment cards of any sort is that they usually only measure the the very satisfied or very dissatisfied. They are not an accurate form of measurement.

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Developing the Casino Marketing Plan

The phenomenon of casino development in the United States is a fairly recent trend. Outside the jurisdictions of Nevada and Atlantic City, casinos have existed for less than a decade. The initial success of riverboat. dockside and Native American gaming operations in the early 1990s was predicated more on operating in monopolistic or oligopolistic environments than on sound marketing practices. Marketing plan development and implementation were not critical factors in the initial success of these nascent operations. Rather. operators were able to open facilities and implement a variety of marketing programs based more on individual managers’ personal experiences. adapt the marketing programs of Nevada operators or to simply mimic what the competition was doing rather than develop marketing strategies and action plans-based on the customers’ needs and market trends. Today casinos in many jurisdictions operate in very competitive environments. As such there is now a need for casinos to develop and implement structured marketing plans.

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Cost-Effectiveness of Substance Abuse Treatment in Casino Hotels

One of today’s business realities is the prevalence of employee substance abuse – a particularly acute problem for the hospitality industry. Merely getting rid of substance-abusing employees is, at best, a cosmetic solution. Faced with labor shortages, growing “wrongful termination” litigation, and legislative mandates that promote a drug-free workplace and prohibit employee discrimination of recovering substance abusers, employers are investing in employee-assistance programs (EAPs) that provide substance-abuse treatment and permit the employer to retain an otherwise productive employee. Like any investment, a cost-benefit analysis such as that described in this article can provide a framework for evaluating the relative advantages of various types of EAPs.

Among the more tangible benefits of treating substance abusing employees is reduced turnover and absenteeism: expensive problems that otherwise might go unchecked. As a way of presenting our cost-benefit analysis, we compare the EAPs at two casino hotels which have quite different substance-abuse programs: the Mirage, in Las Vegas, and Merv Griffin’s Resorts International Hotel-Casino, in Atlantic City. In this article, we focus only on the programs’ effects on absenteeism and turnover, recognizing full well that there are many other benefits, both tangible and intangible, that accrue when employee substance-abuse problems are addressed by managers.

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