Food Frenzy

How about a delicious twist on customer rewards? Put aside the electronics, blankets and gadgets for a while and consider these five food gifting ideas for casinos personally chosen for your guests.

Food Frenzy

As the pandemic eases and in-person gaming becomes more popular, casinos must find new ways to attract eager customers. This has placed a renewed focus on customer loyalty, and how to reward loyalty in a way that encourages inactive customers to return to their traditional spots while inspiring a new generation of casino-goers.

The need to stand out has never been greater. Traditional loyalty rewards such as complimentary hotel stays, cruises or cash-back awards can be given to anyone. While these gifts might be valued by loyal customers, merely meeting the industry standard is not enough to set a casino apart in a competitive market.

To make a lasting impression, a gift needs to be more personalized. This is also essential for casinos to differentiate themselves from online gaming websites, which can recreate the casino experience in terms of monetary rewards and can even foster community among avid players. Online gaming comes with lower overhead costs to players and none of the health concerns associated with gathering in public spaces.

To separate themselves, casinos can go an extra mile to make each visitor feel as if they earned their gift by making the effort to visit in person.

Making someone feel like an individual of value requires a highly personalized gift. According to the 2019 Knack Business Gift Satisfaction Report survey, 67 percent of respondents feel the right gift demonstrates that the giver values their relationship. What is the “right gift?” According to the same survey, the most desired attribute in a gift, chosen by 35.2 percent of respondents, was “selected just for me” followed by “includes personal message” (21.8 percent) and “has my name on it” (12 percent).

Enter food. Food is versatile, relatively inexpensive and easy to personalize. Receiving just the right kind of food, beverage or baked good gives us warm feelings and memories. Everyone has their own peculiar tastes, but a love of food cuts across gender and age groups. A well-presented treat can resonate with a new generation in a way other gifts do not: 45 percent of millennials (ages 24-40) like to share their gifts on social media, according to the survey. Food offers an emotional connection that monetary gifts do not.

To amplify that connection, here are five ways to take advantage of food as a gift:

  1. Birthday or anniversary gifting. The majority (75 percent) of workplace respondents surveyed said they would rather receive gifts at “important personal milestones” outside holidays, further suggesting that the personalized nature of a gift is essential to imbuing meaning in the gift itself.A customer’s birthday makes for an obvious starting place. Recognizing anniversaries, children’s birthdays or other special dates in their lives makes for a friendly touch. A handwritten note or a customized cake furthers the sense of personalization.
  2. Monthly gifting. For loyal customers who consistently visit once a month or more, consider enrolling them in a monthly gifting program. Be sure to keep things fresh. A confectioner offering a diversity of baked goods, for example, will ensure no customer receives the same monthly gift twice in the same calendar year.A monthly program can also convert less frequent visitors into loyal customers without breaking your gifting budget.
  3. Seasonal continuity gifting. This idea isn’t new to the casino-gifting space, but it has great application for food as well: a series of gifts that requires and encourages customers to return periodically throughout the year to receive the full series.This is where the Instagram-ification of food can translate to free promotion. Loyal customers will be eager to share photos of their latest gift in the series with their friends. Food photos are always among the most popular on social media. Casinos that take advantage of this trend can foster a sense of anticipation among new potential customers.
  4. Special occasion gifting. When hosting a special event or honoring a special occasion in your casino’s history, take advantage of the emotional bond customers make with food to forge a special connection. If your customers are enrolled in a food-gifting program, take their feedback into account. Consider offering the more popular items at your special occasion too―a signature taste to go with your signature moment.
  5. Partner gifting. Casinos can also leverage their existing partnerships to enhance the loyalty gifting experience with food. Take the traditional cruise line partnership. Perhaps your guests can receive their favorite food or beverage ― a bottle of wine, perhaps ― along with their suite when they book their loyalty cruise.

Food inspires the kind of emotional connection every casino needs to make with customers. It offers opportunities for the kind of personalized gifts guests look for when visiting a casino in person. By sharing pictures of these gifts on social media, existing customers are apt to create new customers organically, and strengthen their own loyalty to your casino. A gifting program centered on food allows casinos to get more creative than traditional offerings―and stand out from the pack in fun and exciting ways.

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Articles by Author: Joseph Dornoff

Joseph Dornoff is president of Bake Me A Wish.