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[Table] IAmA marketing exec in a Las Vegas casino answering more of your questions. AMA!

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Date: 2014-08-09
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Questions Answers
What would you suggest studying to better improve someone's knowledge in the field of casino data analytic and modeling practices? This is my speciality and there's really not a lot of literature out there. Depends on what you're trying to get at but Ralph Thomas is way ahead of the curve. If you're new to it and are looking to start from the bottom, it's a lot tougher. I haven't read a lot of the books out there because I had on the job training but the one that I thought was best (and it's still really not that good) is this one
I've bookmarked the Ralph Thomas to read while reports are running.
I'm experienced in Data, but still trying to fit the casino stuff into the analytics!
I think I get you on the concept of 'feel'. Mostly because I've got a data mind and the sheer amount that is not data but behavior based is a bit overwhelming. And the sheer amount of compliance regulation is immense, especially in the different state markets. 1.) Feel: You know a lot of times, to be quite frank we just don't have time to do meaningful analysis so you have to be comfortable with making an educated guess. For example, hotel occupancy in July was softer than expected. Rates for all of our competitors were dropping so they obviously were feeling the same thing. We weren't sure why but we knew it was Tuesday and the the next two weeks look bad. Anything you would do to try to affect occupancy that quickly (e.g., do hotel rate specials on expedia, send out a postcard, send out an email, etc.) is going to take a few days to get done. Do you have time to do a few days worth of analysis then sit around and figure out what it all means to the business?
What would, by these industry standards make someone 'qualified' to work in data marketing out here? 2.) Qualifications: To get in at the entry level (e.g., analyst) we'd look for some sort of analysis training. If it's not through experience, something like a degree in stats or finance. If you wanted to work in marketing and we didn't have a business intelligence tool in place, you'd also need to know SQL and access. At a managerial level you'd need a few years of experience doing this kind of work and industry experience.
Expensive tech - what seems to be the industry standard for database and modeling? It seems like there is no standard, at all. 3.) There's really no standard. Teradata had a lion's share of the market for a long time but most people are shying away from it as it's quite experience. You see more and more places using SAS now. But again, because of the expense, you also have a lot of places that just get the data out of the source system via SQL and dump it into excel and access.
Would you mind if I toss some private questions at you? 4.) not at all but if it's something that others might be interested in, I'd prefer you ask here.
To dig into that, how much is planned strategy and how much is reactionary strategy, percentage wise? Overall, it's probably 65% planned and 35% unplanned depending how dynamic a market you're working in. On the strip, you're dealing with longer timelines to get people in the door (e.g., you're planning a big concert that's going to take place in 9 months) so it's a little less reactionary vs. a local's market like a Stations casino or some smaller market where you have lots of competitors and people who come very, very frequently which causes business to be very volatile. But definitely, in every market I've worked in, the first thing you do in the morning is look at the previous day's performance and do a lot of talking and looking at reports to figure out if you're on the right track or if you need to change directions.
What are some of the challenges casinos are facing? In other words, what products or services would they definitely buy if someone developed them? The biggest challenge with the casino business is that we rely solely on discretionary income and for the most part customers are still weary of spending too much since 2008. That and the expansion into new jurisdictions diluting supply.
With regards to your second question, what's the saying? You don't know what you don't know? There are various technologies I can think of that would really help us but they're generally expensive and as a business we don't really like to spend money on un-proven tech.
Thanks. How does your business look in terms of nationality? For example, 85% North American, 8% European, 4% Japanese, etc? How typically how much does each demographic stay + spend on average? At my particular casino it's easily 90% North American and 10% international with the 10% not gambling much. Usually here to sightsee or for a conference. Have never broken it out by country of origin but typical stay is 3 days and $100 per day in gambling which is a little on the low end for the strip.
Does that make you the stratosphere? Sure.
My girlfriend and I are taking our first trip to Vegas together this winter. She's never visited, and the last time I was there, I was twelve. How can we make the most of our time while in the town? And, are there any tips/tricks you could give us for booking/dealing with our hotel? Well, this is quite broad, and depends on a lot of things like your age, budget, tastes, etc. Give me more of that kind of stuff and I can help you. With regards to hotels, the first few weeks of December are the slowest of the year. Once you get to your hotel try this.
No matter if a person were cheating or just on an honest winning streak, around what amount of winnings would catch your eye/make you kick them out? It's all relative depending on the casino, time, etc. At a place like Wynn, in the middle of the night on a random Tuesday,you're probably talking like $50K to catch your eye. At a shitty place in the middle of nowhere Mississippi, then it's probably $1K.
Every day is pick on Mississippi day on reddit. BTW I worked in Tunica, probably what you are talking about. I also worked in MS before and no not talking about Tunica.
Would you say Tuesdays are the busiest times for a casino? No, I would not.
What do you think of Vegas economy? Real estate market? Water supply issues? Definitely rebounding (economy and real estate). Water is definitely an issue. Las Vegans are very selfish so nothing will really get done until it's probably too late or SUPER expensive.
Las Vegans. Lol. I read that as this. I have a vegan buddy that is moving to town and I never thought of the spelling until he mentioned it.
Las Vegans? Seriously? What's better?
What is the best 'degen' story you got? I worked at Wynn when Andy Beal played the corporation. albeit I wasn't directly involved in host particular game.
How did you get where you are today and what is the pay like? Any advice for those who aspire to be like you? Started from the bottom ($10.14/hr) and just worked my way up. Advice: Just be a sponge and be flexible. Work any shift, any days off, and be prepared to relocate fairly often.
How hard would I ravage Lily Adams star JV point guard ? > Link to www.marketmenot.com
Link to www.marketmenot.com. I'm making some assumptions regarding your question because you have the grammar of a 3-year-old, but I think 0.1 newtons.
How did you become a marketing exec in las Vegas? What steps did you take and what is your education background? I started off very entry level ($10/hr) when I was 21 and worked my way up, finishing undergrad (political science) and graduate school (hotel management) along the way.
How many people have you completely busted? How many people have you thrown out of their homes? How many marriages have you ended? Do choosy moms really choose JIF? 1.) Meaning money wise? If so, 8233. 2.) 2338 3.) I did go out with a chick that was living with her boyfriend (unbeknownst to me) and he later found out.
No. It's all marketing propaganda.
Hi Sam, local Las "Vegan" here, worked in several casinos and went to UNLV. What are the rules for marketing toward locals, vs. targeting tourists? What's the priority at your casino, and are they usually thought of by marketing as together, or as two very separate and distinguishable groups? Definitely very separate as LV locals are notoriously price sensitive. I.e., they go to whoever gives them the biggest offers in direct mail. Since we're on the strip, we choose not to play in that kind of marketing war with the Stations of the world.
What's the most violent thing you have witnessed in the casino? Honestly I don't even remember having even seen a punch thrown and I've been doing this for 18 years. Besides watching it after the fact on camera, of course.
Can I make my own rules for black jack if I bring enough cash? We will certainly have a discussion with you.
Can you recommend any promotions that might give me a gambling advantage? Look for aggressive point multipliers at casinos that allow you to earn bonus points on good video poker pay tables or electronic roulette.
Last updated: 2014-08-14 15:04 UTC
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