Put Hispanic accent on marketing, ole!

Apr 24, 2006 2:45 AM

The casino industry loves the blue hairs and the bus bangers, and traditional casino marketing efforts have reflected this affinity. By the sheer power and principles of demographics, this traditional target group is diminishing. It is time for casinos to expand the proverbial pie of customers.

Towering over Denver’s Smith Road is a billboard for the Riviera casino in Black Hawk. The image is of a woman’s elegantly manicured hand exposing a natural blackjack, and the text reads: "Bueno Pa’ Gozar!" which translates to "Good to Enjoy!"

Si, si ”¦ the tag line is in Espanol.

With the Hispanic proportion of the Denver population teetering on one-third, it only makes fiscal sense for casino operators to start recognizing this multi-faceted portion of the populace. Just as the gaming experience is not the same for a man in his 20s and a man in his 80s, neither is a casino visit uniformly encountered by Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike.

It must be understood that there is no such entity as a "typical" Hispanic customer. One of the all time great observations concerning gamblers is: "The only defining variable about gamblers is that there is no defining variable."

With Hispanic players, there are economic, demographic and psychographic considerations combined with nebulous variables of lifestyle, family status, and view points that help partly define an individual.

A Hispanic casino guest’s most salient quality may not be that he is Hispanic. A single Hispanic male that is 33, living with an extended family making $50K is much different from a 33 year old single male earning $50K living alone in terms of where that $50K is expected to be allocated (as well as disbursement of other resources such as time and community involvement).

Still, paying heed to language is key, and some of the more avant-garde suppliers have already gotten on-board. To reflect this trend of inclusion, one of the more innovative products recently come to fruition is from the gaming supplier, Konami. The HD-Stream device allows for a gamer to choose in what language he wishes to communicate with a slot machine.

In the old days, this feature might have seemed superfluous, but when a slot interaction device can do everything from activate bonus credits or call for a drink to make dinner and show reservations, more advanced communications with the player are needed than can be provided by a simple count down meter with one word, "points." Technological innovations are only a single element to bestow a more welcoming environment for the Hispanic player.

One billboard with a Spanish tag-line does not make a bi-lingual casino. To truly serve the needs and desires of the Hispanic population, on property collateral such as menus, signage, and even p.a. announcements should be not only available but consistently maintain an active presence.

Of course, the more communication that can occur in the more familiar or preferred mother tongue, whether it be in person with a blackjack dealer or through a direct mail piece, the more comfortable and subsequently proportionally loyal the Hispanic customer will be to a property.

(David Paster serves as the Strategic Database Manager with National Hirschfeld LLC of Denver, CO, a single-source printing, digital imaging and direct marketing company offering clients targeted solutions aimed at increasing profitability. He can be reached at [email protected] or 303-320-8500.)