When people hear the name “Las Vegas,” they immediately think about gambling and the most luxurious casinos in the world. It went from an obscure cattle stop on the Old Spanish Trail to the instantly recognizable “Sin City.” Nowadays, it clocks in at around 30 million visitors, most of whom are there to strike it big at the slots and casino tables. But is the city’s incredible reputation the sole reason for its popularity? Or do brand positioning, brilliant marketing, and customer engagement strategies play a massive role in Las Vegas’s success? Let’s find out.
Brand Positioning Through Destination Marketing
As far as branding is concerned, the perfect balance between belonging and standing out results in success. Brand identity is the only aspect of a casino resort that will set it apart from the competition. Early on, Las Vegas did not adequately set itself apart, and all the resorts had desert-themed uninspired names such as The Dunes, The Desert Inn, Sahara, or The Sands.
The first sparks of brilliance came along with the Flamingo Resort, which dared to challenge the previously dull branding. In 1966 Caesars Palace, with its biblical opulence and marble statues, was the first to set the blueprint for the fantastic evolution on the horizon. The only event in American history that had a similar impact on the gambling world was the 2012 NJ online casino legalization. The move made New Jersey the online gambling capital in the USA while Las Vegas kept its resort casino crown. After years of being unable to gamble online, New Jersey residents flocked to the online casinos the same way tourists flock to Vegas.
Fast forward to today, the Las Vegas branding has reached uniformity, and the latest slogan, “What Happens Here, Only Happens Here,” started immediately trending on Twitter. The #OnlyVegas star-studded campaign ad aired during the 62nd Grammy Awards with artists that include Aerosmith, Shania Twain, and Christina Aguilera. Another iconic idiom linked to Sin City is “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The idiom’s success isn’t a fluke; it has the whole marketing apparatus of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority behind it on a 15-year campaign on all the major media outlets.
Gambler Retention Through Player’s Clubs
Even during the darker days of Las Vegas, the existing casinos had hosts on their payrolls whose sole purpose was to provide that extra care high rollers deserve and demand. The casinos would cover travel and accommodation and regularly host events that would bring gamblers to their establishments, with better bonuses and other perks. The same principles apply today, but with more than 30 million tourists visiting Sin City, such a personal approach was no longer satisfactory.
The Player’s Clubs was the logical move as it could provide the same customer care principles, albeit with lower perks, to the masses. And it worked flawlessly with the older gamblers since they felt valued and adequately rewarded. However, to better target the younger generations, the Vegas casinos had to adopt different strategies. The following different forms of entertainment were vital to attracting the 20 to 30-year-old demographic and were quickly adopted by most Vegas casinos:
- Pool tables
- Beer pong tables
- Nightclub setting
- DJ Booths
The Las Vegas casinos opted for a more experience-driven approach that provided the younger generation with engaging activities. Slot machines and roulette tables would always be around, and the players would inevitably want some gambling action between beer pong rounds and pool games.
At first glance, the Las Vegas casinos simply have to exist, and the gamblers will magically appear. However, behind the scenes, a billion-dollar marketing apparatus sometimes goes unnoticed. For example, on the official Las Vegas website, on the Attractions page, there isn’t a single mention of casinos or even gambling. Because they don’t have to, the city has to bring the tourists in through brand positioning and destination marketing, and they will inevitably gamble.