Aria Resort & Casino Cashes in on Small Data

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Companies today are swimming in data that, if properly leveraged, could be used strategically to drive the business forward.

Companies today are swimming in data that, if properly leveraged, could be used strategically to drive the business forward.

The problem is that Big Data's sheer size overwhelms most marketers. To make businesses more agile, companies should first focus on their small data and look at it as an opportunity to find insights in new places.

That's exactly what MGM Resorts has done. At the Forrester Marketing 2016 Summit in New York in April, Lilian Tomovich, CCO of MGM Resorts, talked about the importance of small data, saying that opportunities to act on small data exist in many places--you just have to look for them.

When the percentage of revenue shifted to 70 percent from non-gamers and only 30 percent from gamers, Tomovich and her team decided to look beyond the company's loyalty program to focus on the non-gamers to better learn about their needs in an effort to optimize their overall experience. "The loyalty program is fantastic but it was originally built for gamers," she said.

In that effort, she and her team decided to focus on the rooms. They started on a two-part strategy: to develop the 'room of the future,' and to drive data and insights from there to offer a better guest experience.

She and the team focused first on Aria Resort & Casino, which she described as a technologically advanced property. Aria had equipped its rooms with tablets that controlled the drapes and lights. Instead she wanted a tablet that would allow the resort to engage in a meaningful and relevant way.

In February, MGM Resorts completed the largest installation of advanced touchscreen technology in Vegas at its Aria property. British company Crave Interactive outfitted the 4,004 guest rooms with tablets that offer everything from temperature control and housekeeping to TV remote control. It also controls elements outside of the room. Guests can order room service, purchase show tickets, make spa reservations, and it all integrates with its loyalty program. "We now have this richness of data. All of a sudden, all this data is coming toward us and we have an opportunity to optimize," Tomovich said.

That data, she explained, is allowing MGM to learn the types of information guests access, when they access it, how they use the information, and their direct paths to purchase. One way they acted on that information was by delivering time-based messaging. They noticed guests looking for their flight information so they now send trigger-based personalized messaging about their flights. The data also told them that guests were using the tablet as an alarm clock so by examining wake-up times, they can schedule the right amount of people at the front desk to help guests check out. They also message them about breakfast offers or ask if they'd like coffee delivered to the room.

As a result of these time-based messaging changes, Aria realized a 600 percent increase in sales. "We made the room service revenue team very happy," she said.

Her advice? Don't just go digital because it's cool. Make sure you're getting meaningful insights from it. "If you're a marketer, that's what your bosses want," she said. "We are here to drive business forward."

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