Posted by: buzzmckenna | July 11, 2008

Notes from “Research for the Domestic Casino Market”

A review of some domestic and international casino websites revealed a trend in immersive, visual content verging on the cinematic. In order to convey the experiences casinos have to offer, the more innovative sites employed narrative techniques ranging from voice over narration to serving content based on common casino visitor profiles or idealised personality types.  Some sights are dabbling with the creation of a social networking presence, such as a Facebook profile for a Virtual Concierge, but there is no user generated content. Seems what goes on in casino complexes, stays in casino complexes…

Business Objectives

The manner in which each site  is designed to get more people to visit a Casino varies significantly from site to site. Six broad online  business objectives were identified consistently across the sites.

User Goals

The majority of User Goals on each site revolve around Event Attendance, Hotel Promotion and Event Planning. The most popular goal for domestic sits, beyond booking is downloading PDFs – ie. providing  information. Microsites also feature commonly. Secondary User Goals are related to Gaming, Venues & Loyalty.

The most common activities are Email Loyalty programs,  “How to Play” information and Maps.

Site Features

The analysis provided insight into specific features including:

1. The Brand Experience
2. User Goal Promotion
3. Member Services
– Campaigns and Email Promotions
– Value Programs
4. Other Subscriptions
– RSS
– Podcasts and Webcasts
5. Interactive Media
6. Interactive Utility
– Music Player, Interactive Maps + Interactive Tours
– Photo Gallery & Virtual Tours
– Interactive Maps
– Personas
7. Distribution
– Personal Invitations
– Mobile Services

Engagement Tactics

Engagement tactics define the user experience of the site and consequently provide an opportunity to “experience” the brand attributes and create brand affinity.

MGM Grand: Cinematic video links home pages for site sections, dynamic navigation, streaming audio, video, virtual tour and slide shows for each element of content. Focus on booking and email newsletter promotion. A sensory experience at: http://www.mgmgrand.com

Mandalay Bay: “From the five personas … select the one that best describes why you come to Vegas. Based on your selection, you’ll go to a site designed around your interests and desires, so you can quickly and easily create your own experience …” Users “own the experience” at http://www.mandalaybay.com/

Wynn, Las Vegas: Novel image based navigation,  streaming audio and commentary, video interviews, slideshows. Class and ambience set by the music, time to enjoy the experience at: http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/

Content

Looking at content by home page prioritisation and site sections revealed a significant difference between domestic and internal casino sites. While the Australian sites prioritise Events, Gaming, Bars and night life, global sites prioritise transactions that can be completed online including Hotel reservations & subscriptions to email Loyalty programs and Offers.

Variations on the standard site sections are Conrad Jupiters who provide navigation by experience and Mandalay Bay with a range of experiences by persona.

Summary

The online business objectives are supported by a range of user goals and interactive features:

Online Bookings
Special Offers, Packages, Competitions, cross promotion and the creation of exclusive opportunities through loyalty programs
Reach New Audiences
Personalised invitations, Social Network presence, Mobile services and online subscription services such as podcasts, webcasts and RSS
Improve 3rd Party Relationships
Integration of third party booking systems
Assist offline business goals
Have the site replicate the brand experience.
Increase user loyalty
Email promotions, value programs and club newsletters, podcasts, rewards     program, user generated content and itinerary creator.
Increase user engagement
Personas, a cinematic experience, Photo/tour Gallery, Event search, Music, Video, 3D or Interactive tours and maps.

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