24 January, 2022

Catering to emerging patron trends

Rohith Kori, Vice President of Corporate and Product Strategy at Agilysys, discusses the tech tools casinos need today

Patron trends are shifting. Not only has Covid-19 and subsequent variants radically shifted how consumers travel, but younger generations are beginning to dominate the consumer landscape more than ever before  — bringing a distinct set of expectations and needs to the forefront of the industry.

Casinos have long struggled with attracting younger generations to their properties. However, with the industry’s recovery top-of-mind for property operators, catering to Millennials  and Gen-X consumers is critical to recovering lost revenue and coming out ahead of competing properties. Read on to learn more about the trends emerging alongside today’s consumers,  and the strategies casinos can employ to meet them.

Emerging trends

Driven by technology and an on-demand culture, younger patrons prioritise convenience and instant gratification when making purchases or engaging with a service, and the gaming industry is no exception. In fact, a survey of 1,500 US adults on preferences and expectations for digital experiences in the retail, travel & hospitality, media & entertainment and financial services industries found that younger consumers have much higher expectations for the services they receive than ever before.

At the same time, younger generations have embraced self-service options more enthusiastically than any other age cohort. Nearly 30 percent of Gen Z customers say they’ve increased their usage of digital self-service as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, compared to 26 percent of Millennials, 20 percent of Gen Xers, and just 12 percent of Boomers. In the same vein, less than 25 percent of Gen Z and Millennial consumers prefer face-to-face conversations with service associates, while nearly half of the Boomer population does.

Younger generations also spend their money much differently at casinos than their older counterparts do. Older audiences like Boomers and Gen Xers spend 80% of their casino money on gaming and 20% on food and entertainment, while younger audiences like Millennials spend only 30% of their casino money on gaming and 70% on food, entertainment and the newer non-gaming services emerging at properties. Within gaming spend itself, younger gamers are also increasingly interested in mobile and social gaming apps. With this in mind, what steps can casino operators take to meet these needs?

Meeting patron expectations

The pandemic ushered in a widespread adaptation of touchless technology, such as mobile check-in and contactless POS systems, which offered property patrons a convenient, frictionless gaming experience. But beyond employing these two vital services, casino operators can further utilise this technology to attract younger generations to their properties.

Equipping staff with POS tablets, for example, can streamline operations on the casino floor while offering an additional opportunity to boost non-gaming revenue streams. As younger patrons increasingly prefer using their mobile devices over other internet-connected devices, ensuring that online booking and amenity reservation systems are designed with a seamless, user-friendly mobile interface can also ensure a positive patron experience.

App-based gaming to attract mobile-first users. While releasing mobile casino apps is nothing new for major players in the industry, the convenience and ease of online gaming means it’s an increasingly crucial platformfor attracting convenience-driven patrons who value app-based gaming for its accessibility. Additionally, mobile-based gaming offers operators a valuable opportunity to collect consumer data and better employ targeted marketing strategies, ensuring a higher ROI.

Casinos collect more patron data than almost any other industry; however, not every property is fully leveraging its systems’ capabilities to improve operational and marketing efficiencies to the degree that younger patrons increasingly expect. Often, this failure arises when a property’s digital platforms are not fully integrated. By utilising industry-leading software, such as cutting-edge PMS and POS platforms, operators can better deliver personalised patron experiences, streamline operations, develop precise targeted marketing strategies and more.

As the industry continues to evolve, better catering to emerging patrons ultimately depends on a property’s ability to the ever-evolving technology that the younger population relies on. Casino operators with the right tools in place will be better prepared to better meet patron needs for convenient, mobile-oriented services than the properties that don’t take the tech plunge. With the ability to boost property sales, enhance operations and reach a wider audience, properties that capitalise on the technology available can ensure a successful road to recovery and beyond.

Mr. Rohith Kori is the Vice President of Corporate and Product Strategy at Agilysys, a technology company providing advanced software and services for property management, point of sale, kiosk, analytics, payment, and mobile solutions to the gaming and hospitality industries. Mr Kori leads the product strategy teams, specialising in innovative solutions on multiple platforms, including the company’s Property Management, Point of Sale and Payment products. Working alongside the world’s most reputable gaming enterprises to ensure actionable innovation, successful deployments, staff training and optimal software utilisation, Mr Kori is an accomplished executive who brings more than 15 years of demonstrated technology expertise and leadership to the Agilysys team. He is a graduate of Harvard University with a Master’s degree in General Management and a graduate of Virginia Tech with a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering. In his spare time, Mr. Kori enjoys travelling and hiking with his wife.