Customer Loyalty: Win or Lose, it's the Experience that Gamblers Value Most

By Jonathan Barsky Partner, Market Metrix | June 03, 2012

Gambling has existed since ancient times with evidence suggesting that even the earliest caveman was a gambler. Many believe that gambling is taking risks, which is simply an extension of human behavior. But at its heart, gambling is a rather paradoxical behavior because.. most gamblers lose. The pure randomness of gaming -- slots, roulette, craps -- makes no sense unless you believe in luck.

So why do people continue to play when the overwhelming likelihood is that they will lose money? It is widely known that 'the house always wins'. Whether you are gambling on horseracing, blackjack or roulette, the odds will ensure a steady profit for the casino.

Why people gamble

Sociologists believe that people play because it's a social activity. Psychologists say that gambling is a response to feeling lucky or being in a good mood. Economists believe that betting is about people wanting more money, but not understanding they have virtually no chance of actually winning.

When individuals are asked in questionnaires about their reasons for gambling, the answer "to win" or "to win money" is often the most common response. This is natural, since money is the tangible reward of gambling, which makes money "the dominant language of gambling"(i). But everyone with any experience of gambling knows that the motives for participating vary considerably between games and gamblers.


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Despite the growth of the gaming industry in the past 10 years, and the recent challenges of the recession, most gaming research has neglected the primary business aspects of gaming. To help address this gap, we examined several fundamental questions about why people gamble and what makes them return and tell others about their experience. We identified two hypotheses for this research:

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.