Unless your gaming emporium has a massive catering business, you want to “entreat” players to visit on Super Bowl Sunday. And the word “entreat” is how you do it, with “treat” as the operative word.
This is the Sunday where the world stands still, awaiting football hoopla—all the new ads on the TV, the cheerleaders, the half-time show, and, lest we forget, the legendary battle on the turf. Most crave the intimacy of others while watching this spectacle—taverns will be crowded, living rooms morphed into fan stands and tailgate parties. Fans will be laughing, snacking, and jubilant or cursing, depending upon team performance. Car horns will be blaring—this really is quite a day in America. Just consider the names of the teams: the Patriots and the Giants—a classic struggle (even a replay from several years ago). What tension!
So, how do you parlay all this energy and excitement into crowds for your casino business? Some of your plans may be time-zone impacted, as the National Football League title game kicks off on February 5 at 6:30 p.m. EST in Indianapolis. Your goal is to get patrons inside before the game and have them stay afterward. This is where the “treat” comes into play. The “treat” is indeed the “trick.”
It goes without saying that you have televisions strategically placed throughout the facility—the bigger the better. Almost everyone will want to see some action during game time. And nearly everyone will wager something on outcomes—whether it be who wins, the final score, the number of first downs, who fumbles, the longest punt, the best touchdown dance—whatever.
Start those pools and pack those sport books with options. While operating sports books outside of Nevada is not necessarily protocol, it's regularly done. If not within the law, do it like a 50/50, giving a portion to a local charity.
This aspect is very obvious, but you can also create some big winners: a trip for two to the winning city, including airfare, hotel and $500 spending money, for example. Additionally, you can announce winners every quarter to keep the interest level high.
Naturally, your facility should reflect this excitement. Turn the casino into a stadium for a few hours. Offer special drinks named for players or teams. Cocktail waitresses and dealers can sport team sashes across their chests. Offer special rewards for those who wear a team jersey or paraphernalia. Cook some franks, hand out popcorn or cotton candy—you get the drift. And, as a caveat, consider a quiet corner for those who hate football. Lastly, when the game is over, move into a “blush mood,” perhaps offering a limited buffet, a special series of drinks. Bring ten dollar tables down to five for two hours. Hand out some free tokens to get the players back on course. Of course, have something extra special for your loyalty club members.
This is the day to be adventuresome, creative and bold, recognizing that your competition is really the living room Super Bowl parties, the crowded taverns and those just glued to their televisions. This is a day that many are joyous with high hopes for a favorite team. And they will bet you that theirs will win. Make sure that wager gets laid down with you!
For the past 10 years, John Hendrie has served as the president of Hospitality Performance in Merrimac, Massachusetts. He provides strategies to better define product/service, contain costs, increase productivity and enhance profitability within the hospitality industry, where success is measured by customer satisfaction.
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