Enhancing the Guest Experience Through New Uses of Tried-and-True Technologies Travel & Hospitality Tech
Frank Bonini, SVP/CIO, Cordish Global Gaming and Live! Casinos & Hotels
As technology advances across all industries, so too does the desire to test new innovations that will foster growth and drive improvement. At Live! Casino & Hotel properties, we strive to integrate technologies that ensure our guests have the best experience possible. Our goal is not to be bleeding edge innovators experimenting with new tools at the potential expense of our guests’ enjoyment. Rather, we employ modern, stable systems from battle-tested vendors that help us advance our core mission of creating an unrivaled experience.
A property such as ours provides numerous points of interaction with our guests, from hotel check in and in-room service to gaming on the casino floor to taking in a show to dining at a fine restaurant. The pandemic presented an opportunity to reevaluate how to best use technology to maximize the safety and comfort of our guests, including how to navigate capacity restrictions, accommodate new regulations and reduce physical interaction without diminishing the highly personal service for which we are known.
Taking it Mobile
Prior to the pandemic, we developed a mobile app for our properties that enabled guests to easily review their reward point status, tier status, and available offers, with future enhancements to include mobile ordering and digital wallet technology. With safety needs and government restrictions in mind, along with changing guest expectations, we expanded other mobile app usage to enable guests to reserve a time window for game play,use a special QR code to enter the property, or check into or out of the hotel room remotely. While these new features changed the user experience to some degree, adapting to new realities is always necessary and something we will continue to do into the future. It also allowed us to prototype new capabilities we incorporated into other solutions once the pandemic restrictions ended.
The Pandemic Presented an Opportunity to Reevaluate How to Best Use Technology to Maximize the Safety and Comfort of Our Guests
Keeping it Clean
Our community, which of course includes our Team Members and guests, is more cautious now when it comes to the surfaces we touch throughout a given day, and casinos have a lot of surfaces. When we worked to create a safe and socially distanced environment during the pandemic, we employed technology from our gaming partner Aristocrat that enabled automated shut down of certain slot machines while keeping others online, ensuring proper social distancing between games. The system also sent alerts when machines needed to be wiped down to guarantee consistent cleaning and disinfecting. This was certainly labor-intensive, but clearly appreciated by our guests as was evidenced in survey feedback.
Protecting the House
The same tools that support mobile ordering and payment, streamlining the experience for both Team Members and guests, can also support loss prevention. When a casino becomes significantly less cashflow-heavy due to increased use of mobile wallets, fewer people collect cash from the cage, creating fewer opportunities for that cash to be stolen. Mobile transactions can also reduce reliance on the heavily regulated count room, ultimately ensuring lower risk of cash loss and loweroperational costs for the property.
How do we do it? When it comes to evaluating new technologies, our process emphasizes two key factors. The first is always going to be the guest experience. We bring together managers across the organization to discuss where customer pain points may be and how technology can address those issues. Sometimes it starts with the tech and evolves to a use case. The second is our offerings, because we want our guests to love our product. Technology helps us enhance the research we do in our lab by creating a full end-to-end environment giving us live insights into new products without exposing them to the customer base prematurely.
Measuring the contributions of new technologies helps define steps for ongoing improvement and effectively showcases return on investment. Our analytics team at Live! Casinos & Hotelsdevelops tools to help decision makers carefully analyze data to improve our understanding of how guests are using our products, how often they visit the property, and what trends they’re following. These insights help us provide them with an even better and more personalized experience. To know if we’re being successful, we must compare results against our KPIs. Retention, profit, slot play versus table games all plays into this.This data can drive everything from floor reconfiguration to restaurant menus to staffing levels on different days of the week, all helping us improve the experience while keeping costs in line.
Technological advancements in the travel and hospitality industry are evolving constantly. Keeping up with the latest offerings is daunting and evaluating the options can seem like an endless task. Companies that identify and prioritize what matters to them – for us, it is customer experience and product quality – are well equipped too vercome those concerns by focusing their efforts and evaluating true measures of success. And sometimes the key to that success is not the latest experimental technology, but leading-edge systems from well-vetted vendors that stand the test of time.
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