Winter weather can be unpredictable, which creates problems for some-and opportunity for others. Eldorado Hotel & Casino in Reno, NV, for example, uses mobile, email, and social media marketing to keep in contact with customers about current ski conditions and other happenings at the resort.
"Loyalty is hard to come by in the travel industry," says Chad Hallert, director of e-commerce and Internet marketing for Eldorado, which boasts 815 rooms, nine restaurants, 90,000 square feet of casino space, an entertainment complex, and partnerships with local ski areas. "We try to do everything we can to stay top of mind and create value."
Working with Lyris, Eldorado takes an integrated approach to promotions and retention efforts. "We used to have unique offers for each channel, but now we use the same message and syndicate it," Hallert says. He calls it tri-messaging.
Most often customers receive an email first about a show at the hotel, the latest ski conditions, or current promotions. That message is followed up a few hours later with an SMS text and a post to Facebook and Twitter, and then the company blog within a day or two. "We use email to drive opt-ins and communications in the mobile and social channels," Hallert says.
At first he was concerned about "contact fatigue," but so far has not seen any negative effects from using multichannel messaging. "The good thing is that [customers] control it," he says. "They can opt-out when they want and they can change their communication preferences."
Hallert says the company decided on a centralized messaging plan because results for channel-specific promotions were not as strong. "People's attention span is fragmented at this point," he says. "We try to catch them at the right moment in each channel." He says the direct and email customer bases are much larger than those in the social channels, and it's a challenge to build scale through emerging channels. Eldorado's Twitter account and Facebook fan page launched in the spring. So far the company has 2,500 Twitter followers and more than 1,600 fans on Facebook. "The way to move the needle is with a strong message, value proposition, and you must live up to the brand promise in each channel."
The emerging channels have some unique benefits, Hallert says, and in some cases Eldorado sends out mobile messages or Twitter posts ahead of email. For example, one Monday night there was an unexpected snowstorm that dumped fresh powder on the ski slopes. Eldorado sent out mobile messages and Facebook posts Tuesday morning alerting customers to the change in conditions and promoted a special ski package. "We can be extremely timely," he says.
In addition, Hallert uses mobile and social messages to run contests for lift tickets or show passes. "These small interactions keep customers engaged and ready," he says. "That way, when we do send them an offer they are more likely to read it and buy. It's a combination of awareness and retention."
Results and next steps
Results of the integrated marketing approach have been impressive. "When we sent separate offers [per channel] it was hard to see real results," Hallert says. "When we push a central message, we've seen improvement in [room and entertainment] revenueWe've seen an upper single digit lift in conversion rates by getting this lift through these other channels."
Hallert says he is just getting started with multichannel marketing. He has plans to add display advertising, direct, and other traditional media into the integrated mix. He also hopes to send triggered text messages to opt-in customers when they enter the property or specific parts of the casino. "Right now we have separate systems for the casino, email, and website visitors," he says. "The goal is to be seamless [with our messaging] over time."