NIGA: The Promotional Experience

Attending trade shows is always exciting. Learning about new technology, spinning the reels on the slot machines and getting confused by the new module in patron management are highlights for any attendee. But let’s not kid ourselves—if there were a class offered at UNLV about patron management systems, it would be full. We see so many great products and services, and we often want to implement many of them, or at least the ones we can understand. In the car, you’re thinking about how it could help with customer service, or how food and beverage would be able to reduce wait times. In the plane, you are making notes and planning meetings and demos, but then you walk into your property, and after a week or two, reality sets in. Budgets, human resources and getting the skeptics on board often puts plans on hold until the following year, or even longer. It was a good idea, you think to yourself. But wait, management finds the operator down the street has implemented what you suggested, and all of a sudden, it’s at the top of the list. “OK, I can do this; I just have to find my notes!” I’ m sure many of you are shaking your heads in agreement, thinking that happens every six months.

For the 2012 Indian Gaming Trade Show and Convention, NIGA eliminated one hurdle: How do you get vendors to work together? Find the best of the best, or rather, choose the best-of-breed applications and service providers. Offering promotions, gifting prizes and consistent messaging is an integrated component to every operator’s marketing strategy. Let’s take a closer look at what NIGA calls its “Promotional Experience,” and what many attendees’ experiences will be like at this year’s show.
Plaza Art
After registering, a video wall immediately captured my attention before I entered the exhibit hall. It displayed conference information and ran creative animation that invited me to the 2013 conference. Talk about thinking ahead—the 2012 conference just started! But, I thought to myself, what a great way to let patrons know what events and entertainers are going to be at the property. It would be much more effective than a poster of this month’s “act.”

As I saw a line of people at the kiosks, the kiosks had a small footprint and they were more attractive than any other kiosks I had encountered in recent memory. I noticed the speed that people were touching and then getting a voucher and moving on to the show. As I arrived at the kiosk, I entered my badge number and was offered to play a promotion, view conference information or learn about the vendors that put everything together. I went with the promotions. I had a choice of a few games and selected the slot game; the allure of slot machines in the background got the best of me. It wasn’t Call of Duty, but it was entertaining enough for me to want to play again. I wasn’t an instant winner. Instead, I was offered additional entries into a virtual drawing. Well, let’s see how that goes. The folks next to me all won NIGA shirts instantly. I thought the payout on this machine must be set different than theirs, just like my last trip to Las Vegas. I saw it printed a voucher that could be redeemed at the gifting booth. I felt like I was on a gaming property, one that understands to give people options but get them from the kiosk and back on the gaming floor quickly.

The lobby at San Diego Convention Center.I think back to all the kiosks I encounter these days at the post office, the bank and the airport. But as we all know, not all kiosks are built equally. Touted as customer service tools that speed service, many do take time to navigate. This was not the case here; its user-friendly design and interface got me to where I needed to go quickly.

Though I wasn’t an instant winner, I did visit the gifting booth and had a chance to talk to some of the vendors that came together. Atrient, Bally Technologies, Imagine This, Red Circle Agency and See Point were responsible for integrating their respective technologies and services to create this experience.

As technology goes, this experience could have also taken place online, or more specifically on Facebook. The gifting company in this experience, Imagine This, has given operators the ability to offer promotions via Facebook. Operators can create promotions for patrons in their database or as an incentive for new patrons. “We have created some great games for Facebook users, like the Scratch & Win. It has a premium prize that we insure up to $25,000 and default prizes are redeemed on the property, creating a visit,” said Shawn Keep, president of Imagine This. A long-term benefit for the property is also giving a low-cost direct communication link to that patron.Atrient’s PowerKiosk

Plasma screens were positioned on the exhibition floor to help direct attendees to workshops and the screens indicated show floor hours and all the events that NIGA had organized for attendees. All the digital content was delivered with Bally CoolSigns.

Atrient, who was responsible for overall project management, used their technical expertise to deliver the kiosk games. As a Bally CoolSign integration partner, they configured and installed all the digital signage. Modules from Atrient’s PowerKiosk product were used to create the games and managed the content on the kiosks. I was interested to learn how prizes were distributed, and more importantly, how they made sure they had enough available prizes for attendees. Sam Attisha, Atrient’s managing director explained: “We implemented PowerKiosk as we would for a gaming client; we only changed the graphics and used a database provided by NIGA to allow attendees to participate. PowerKiosk allows gaming operators to weight prize redemption and enforce quantities for distribution. These two powerful features made sure that we did not exceed the amount of prizes available, and through our GLI-certified random number generator, we made sure prizes were offered on a random basis to participants.”

Seeing PowerKiosk in action, I believe it to be an undisputed leader in today’s kiosk options. Some of its functions include an ability to integrate directly with patron management and POS systems, offer insured prizes and allow gaming operators to change content themselves. PowerKiosk is a flexible, all-encompassing product. It can deliver promotions to patrons, allow them to complete a transaction from a restaurant and can even get them to the operator’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites. I would recommend it to any operator.

Aerial shot of the San Diego harbor.At the end of the day, as operators seek to promote their property, deliver consistent messages and have a positive effect on coin-in, NIGA did a fantastic job at working to show how solutions from multiple vendors can work in harmony to achieve these goals.

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