As evidenced by tech guru Tony Hsieh's struggling attempts to revitalize Las Vegas, fighting to keep a gaming city alive is often a losing bet--even for a billionaire CEO.
Part of the problem is that casino marketing teams often see the city's broader entertainment landscape as competition. However, the truth is that travelers visit gaming hubs for more than gambling. Tapping into this broader interest--rather than competing against it--helps marketing teams really shine.
A key market in particular is that of international travelers, who tend to spend more and stay longer than domestic travelers. These international travelers spend about $1,146 per trip and usually stay three to five nights, whereas domestic travelers spend $590 per trip and stay two to four nights. Foreign travelers also spend more on entertainment and shopping and 1.5 times more on food and drinks.
Here's what you need to know about this valuable market to create a broader experience that will engage them and keep them coming back.
1. International travelers want the ultimate vacation.
It follows that your casino should be their "ultimate destination." Foreign travelers look for more than just gambling when they visit Las Vegas. In fact, only 6 percent actually come to gamble, vs. the 66 percent who simply come for vacation and 4 percent for conventions. By positioning your casino as a one-stop shop for food, drinks, and entertainment--apart from gambling alone--you'll be more likely to attract international customers.
2. Foreign travelers are long-term planners.
Unlike the two to four weeks that most domestic travelers allow to plan Vegas trips, most foreign travelers plan two to three months out. By following the seasonality of your foreign customers' travel plans, you can better speak to them while they're in the right mindset. For instance, Chinese New Year is a one-week holiday for many Asian customers. If this is a target market for you, you should start the conversation in October or November of the prior year, when Asian customers are in the mindset of planning their New Year trips.
3. International travelers still rely heavily on travel agents.
While domestic travelers are moving away from consulting with traditional agents--turning to online travel agency sites or even the hotels and brands directly--half of foreign travelers still seek agency counsel. Armed with this knowledge, it may be wise to create a B2B program that targets travel agents rather than reach out directly to consumers who may be confused or uncertain about interacting directly with your brand.
4. Sightseeing is No. 1 on their agendas.
Among all of the activities Vegas has to offer, sightseeing is the most important to international tourists. Not only do they spend significantly more on sightseeing than domestic visitors, but they're also more likely to visit nearby attractions. Therefore, in addition to shows and nightlife, your brand should also consider partnering with sightseeing businesses--or facilitating it yourself through visitor guides or custom tours.
5. They want to continue the conversation throughout their trips.
The conversation shouldn't end when travelers arrive on your property. This is the perfect time to upsell customers. In fact, 76 percent of foreign visitors only decide where to gamble after their arrival. Unlike the domestic crowds, foreign customers do not have much of a preference when choosing between visiting a casino, restaurants, or shows, making them more open to your entertainment suggestions.
Even in gaming cities like Las Vegas, foreign visitors spend less money and time on the casino floor than domestic customers. However, they're more likely to seek out entertainment--they significantly outspend domestic visitors on everything from food and drinks to shopping, shows, and sightseeing. This makes them an extremely lucrative target for your casino. Capitalize on these other interests, and you'll find yourself bringing in more customers than ever before.
This article was co-authored by Wan Hsuan Luo, senior media planner at Gravity Media.