Top 3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Executing a Continuity Gift Program
This article was written by Imagine This, a Forum Partner at our Sixth Annual Tribal General Manager & Casino Executive Exchange and Inaugural Casino Marketing Executive Exchange.
Continuity gift promotions have become a staple promotion at most casinos across the U.S. and Canada. Which is no surprise since they’re typically a property’s most profitable promotion, when executed properly. With so much on the line, it’s critical you arm yourself with some basic knowledge to steer clear of common pitfalls that could potentially derail your continuity program.
With nearly two decades experience running their Casino Continuity Program, Imagine This has seen and experienced it all and we’re happy to share a few helpful tips so you can avoid making these mistakes altogether. At the very least, you’ll know what to look out for and make better, more informed decisions as they relate to your continuity program.
Pitfall #1: Beware of vendors relying on third party product suppliers
Have you ever scheduled a continuity program only to find out the inventory was no longer available – and you were asked to substitute for another gift set? Or perhaps the product was available but delivered a few days, or even weeks, after the actual promotion date? We’ve also heard plenty of stories about product delivered in different styles and colors than what was originally promised. When a product vendor has to rely on a third party source to obtain product, they (and you!) are completely at the mercy of that unidentified third party. Don’t operate on faith – Ask your vendor questions: Where are they getting their inventory? Do they carry their own inventory? Is the product actually sitting in a warehouse (or is it on a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean – subject to delays in port or customs)? Do I need to place a large deposit to lock up inventory and/or guarantee delivery? Does the product come nested (meaning extra labor and/or cost to separate; possibly even more added cost for bags to carry item)? Can the supplier ship more inventory if we run out? Can we return all product if we have leftovers? These are basic questions you should be asking your product vendors. Ultimately, you want to be in control of your own destiny by choosing a vendor that can consistently deliver on promises, rather than alternatives.
Pitfall #2: Playing the “gift guessing game” vs vetted product sets
Ok. You’ve selected and ordered your gift set. The postcards have been mailed and your redemption staff is ready. Pallets of merchandise await streams of eager guests, only to find out those “streams” turn out to be mere trickles. You were so sure your casino guests would race in for that lovely summer beach chair and umbrella set! It’s unfortunate, but not entirely your fault – picking gift sets that your customers will respond to is extremely difficult. At best it’s hit or miss. Luckily, we’re working in the age of data – so why not leverage data to make intelligent, informed decisions when it comes to gift set selection. Choose a vendor that can provide “vetted” recommendations that have been proven at other casinos. Again, don’t be afraid to lean on your vendors and ask questions: Where and how often have they run a particular gift set? What type of redemption rate did it get? Did redemptions grow from week to week? (You know you probably have a dud when redemption is lower than normal and/or redemptions remain flat, or decline over the following weeks.) Remember, you’re making a substantial investment so why leave anything to chance – especially in these competitive times! Can you really afford not to have a solid winner each and every time you run a continuity program?
Pitfall #3: Poor product quality
Product quality is vital to a continuity program’s success, for both the short term and the long term. Quality is something you can feel and your invited guests will certainly recognize a piece of junk when they see it. The moment they do, they’re less likely to come in the following weeks and will be less inclined to trust you for future continuity promotions. (Besides that, there’s nothing worse than disappointing your higher end players with something cheap!) There are a ton of tricks suppliers can use to save money on product – and negatively affect product quality: Using thinner metal on a cookware set; shaving a few inches off the standard length of a bathrobe to cut fabric costs; using plastic vs metal fasteners on purses; etc. Bottomline, don’t be fooled by flashy catalogs, or even brand names. What might look fantastic in a photo, or on a postcard, doesn’t always equate to good quality once you actually see it in person.
The bottom line is, do your homework. A small amount of due diligence up front will save you a tremendous amount of stress and disappointment. And maybe even your job! As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and this couldn’t be more true as it relates to your continuity program.
About Imagine This
For nearly 20 years, Imagine This, the creator of the full service Casino Continuity Program, has executed thousands of continuity programs at hundreds of tribal and commercial casinos throughout the U.S and Canada. Imagine This operates as a true partner, leveraging the experience of hundreds of casino marketing executives to provide incredible added value to casino operators running their award winning Continuity Program. With unparalleled knowledge on how to maximize results, Imagine This has helped casino operators achieve over $2 billion in incremental revenue from their “bread & butter” players.