To inspire loyalty and regular engagement from its customers, Eldorado Resorts, Inc., wanted to harness the digital channel to deliver personalized nurture campaigns—but manual processes stood in the way.
Eldorado Resorts, Inc., uses IBM Watson™ Campaign Automation to streamline its digital marketing process, enabling it to provide relevant messages to every customer.
50% boostin email open rates by re-engaging customers with nurture campaigns
Builds loyaltyand encourages casual visitors to become repeat guests
Simplifiescompliance by making it easy for customers to opt-out of communications
Business challenge story
Recognizing the impact of incentives
Few things match the exhilaration of winning a hand on the final card, watching the ball land on your number or seeing your horse gallop across the finish line. With customers coming to play, stay, dine, or a combination, Eldorado Resorts, Inc., aims to offer high-quality experiences that cultivate their loyalty.
Rory Alexander, Director of Email and CRM Marketing Manager at Eldorado Resorts, Inc., begins: “We operate properties across the U.S., including casinos, hotels and racetracks, and we’re always looking for innovative ways to build engagement among our guests.”
Eldorado Resorts knows that personalization is crucial to grab customers’ attention—and for many years, the company relied on direct mail to reach out to its audience. However, as increasing numbers of customers expressed a preference to receive offers through the digital channel, the company decided to make email a more significant part of its marketing mix.
“Today, digital marketing is crucial to engage with our active customers and re-connect with guests who haven’t visited recently,” continues Alexander. “In the past, the architecture of our digital marketing platform meant we had to build a new customer database for each campaign—a time-consuming process. It was also difficult to harness our data to tailor messages based on guests’ individual preferences. This meant that we were often restricted to general, catch-all campaigns, which reduced the effectiveness of our emails.”
Following the acquisition of five new properties over 12 months, Eldorado Resorts knew that its marketing requirements were set to increase dramatically. To achieve personalized digital marketing at scale, the company looked for a way to streamline its approach.
“ Thanks to IBM Watson Campaign Automation and IBM Watson Marketing Insights, we’re inspiring our guests to come back time after time. ”
— Rory Alexander, Director of Email and CRM Marketing, Eldorado Resorts
Delivering personalization on the digital channel
To achieve its goals, Eldorado Resorts deployed a centralized digital marketing platform based on IBM Watson Campaign Automation. Combined with IBM Watson Marketing Insights, the new solution enables Eldorado Resorts to build, run and measure the results of highly targeted campaigns without inefficient manual processes.
“I had worked with IBM Watson Campaign Automation in a previous role at another organization, so I was already familiar with the precision and scalability of the platform,” recalls Alexander. “That positive experience gave me confidence that the IBM solution offered the capabilities we needed to transform our digital marketing organization.”
Eldorado Resorts created a single repository of customer data in IBM Watson Campaign Automation, and now uses 90 unique attributes to offer a 360-degree view of each guest. By combining demographic information, guest histories and preferences for gaming, dining and entertainment, the company can reach out with more relevant, timely and compelling messages.
“We found it straightforward to integrate the IBM platform with other applications, including our gaming and hotel booking systems,” comments Alexander. “Insight from our gaming systems enables us to define granular segments based on a customer’s preferred game type, such as slots or tables. Similarly, information from our hotel booking system helps us identify how recently a customer stayed with us, predict when they are likely to be planning their next visit and then reach out to encourage them to book.”
Operating in a highly regulated industry, Eldorado Resorts must ensure that customers can withdraw from its gaming communications at any time. The company configured IBM Watson Campaign Automation to enable customers to opt in and out of communications seamlessly and without any manual effort from the marketing team. This helps to ensure that the company can always reach customers who want to be contacted while complying with its regulatory obligations.
“Our initial implementation was a relatively smooth process, and we began launching our first targeted campaigns in just three weeks,” says Alexander. “A year later, we acquired another 13 properties which we would also need to support, so we hired several new team members who had limited email marketing background, and had never used the IBM platforms. But IBM Watson Campaign Automation and IBM Watson Marketing Insights are extremely intuitive, and our new team members were up and running with the technology after just a couple of weeks of training.”
Today, Eldorado Resorts can offer tailored incentives or content to different audiences within the same email campaign by using personalization and dynamic content triggered by multiple parameters, including database field values. The company can also invite customers to events that match their interests at nearby resorts—encouraging them to spend time at properties they might not otherwise have visited.
Boosting engagement and nurturing loyalty
By harnessing its guest data to personalize its digital marketing, Eldorado Resorts is re-engaging its audience and inspiring their long-term loyalty.
“By reaching out to customers who have not recently engaged with our emails through nurture campaigns at a steady cadence of around one message every six months, we’ve already measured a 50 percent increase in open rates,” explains Alexander. “We’re extremely confident that we’ll see similar improvements in targeted campaigns for hotel guests and regular players as we continue to use the segmentation and optimization capabilities of IBM Watson Campaign Automation.”
Eldorado Resorts is now building up email marketing databases for its newly acquired properties.
“Using IBM Watson Campaign Automation as a centralized subscriber repository, we are able to expand our email acquisition capabilities,” comments Alexander. “One of the first things we did following the recent acquisition of Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., was to integrate preference centers into their websites similar to those already in place for our other properties, enabling us to capture insights into their customers’ contact details and preferences. Within a matter of months, we built up a marketing database for more than 20 percent of their monthly website visitors—an excellent result. As soon as we have validated this data against our opt-out and other suppression lists, we will be ready to start creating compelling campaigns for these properties in IBM Watson Campaign Automation.”
By embracing a centralized and automated approach to email marketing, Eldorado Resorts has boosted email deliverability by 20 percent and cut the average time to create campaigns from weeks to days. In the days before Hurricane Maria struck Florida in September 2017, the company experienced an unanticipated benefit of faster customer communications.
“Our property at Pompano Park is rated for hurricane conditions up to category four—so when we saw that a category five storm was bearing down, we knew it was essential to close the resort until it had passed,” recounts Alexander. “Within just one day, we launched an email campaign to every guest in the area asking them to stay home and stay safe. Fortunately, Pompano Park suffered minimal damage, and we re-opened with an email campaign to welcome our guests back. IBM Watson Campaign Automation played an important role in communicating with our customers during this critical time, further helping us to protect their wellbeing—and overall, it’s helping us to build closer relationships with guests across the country.”
Based on its successes to date, Eldorado Resorts is already looking to the future. The company is considering adding IBM Universal Behavior Exchange to its digital marketing mix to map out the paths its customers take across its social media channels and websites, and identify ways to streamline their journeys.
“We think that AI technologies have the potential to transform the digital marketing space, and IBM is a clear leader in the field,” concludes Alexander. “As digital marketers, the less time we spend on repetitive, manual tasks the more we have to invest in understanding our customers and reaching out to them on a one-to-one level. Thanks to IBM Watson Campaign Automation and IBM Watson Marketing Insights, we’re inspiring our guests to come back time after time.”
Eldorado Resorts is a leading casino entertainment company that owns and operates twenty-eight properties in thirteen states, including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In aggregate, Eldorado’s properties feature approximately 27,500 slot machines and VLTs and 800 table games, and over 12,500 hotel rooms.
Founded in 1973 in Reno, Eldorado has been dedicated to providing exceptional guest service, a dynamic gaming product, award-winning dining, exciting entertainment and premiere accommodations. Our extensive management experience and unwavering commitment to our team members, guests and shareholders have been the primary drivers of our strategic goals and success. We take pride in our reinvestment in our properties and the communities we support along with emphasizing our family-style approach in an effort to build loyalty among our team members and guests. We will continue to focus on the future growth and diversification of our company while maintaining our core values and striving for operational excellence. For more information, please visit www.eldoradoresorts.com
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