The future of the land-based casino industry to have its place at GAT Virtual Expo
(Colombia, SoloAzar Exclusive).- Francisco Vidal, who has more than 20 years of experience in the management of land-based casinos in the main companies in the industry, will be the speaker of "Operations and Marketing- How to improve the customer experience in land-based casinos", one of the masterclasses organized by Totally Gaming Academy in the next edition of the innovative GAT Virtual Expo. SoloAzar interviewed him exclusively about his intervention and the current situation of the land-based casino sector.
How did you receive the news of your participation as a speaker in one of the GAT Virtual EXPO masterclasses? What are your expectations for this innovative event?
The truth is that in a moment as special as the one we are experiencing, with a large number of gaming operations that are closed, the shows canceled and all the avalanche of negative information regarding the sector, I highly value the efforts that GAT Colombia is making for innovating and creating a digital forum where the industry can stay active, meet, and at the same time offer a set of training activities that are sure to greatly enrich the event and the experience of its attendees. What you cannot do is resign yourself and wait only for things to improve, this is an excellent opportunity to try new communication formats, to be creative, and in that sense, my best congratulations to the organizers for the effort they are making , the games industry in its different should turn to the digital fair and support it by all means, we will all learn and improve with it.
The conference is called: "Operations and Marketing- How to improve the customer experience in on-site casinos" What will be the main topics to be discussed?
Based on the fact that the land-based casino industry will only have a future insofar as it is capable of offering an interesting leisure experience for the public, the conference will focus on the set of actions that face-to-face operators will be able to carry out carried out to improve it, the main mathematical components of the products, the different player profiles, the digital transformation of the game rooms, a comprehensive model for personnel management, and various analytical models for the improvement of the customer experience in the room.
Who is the class adressed to and what is its goal?
I understand that the course may be interesting to all those who have a direct link with the land-based casino industry: operations and marketing executives, suppliers of slots, equipment and systems, in addition, regulators will also find the relevant content for them, since It will allow them to understand where the future management of game rooms could go, and therefore, understand what is the potential impact of the legal frameworks that they control in the evolution of the industry.
The main objective of the presentation is for all attendees to better understand the operation of a casino, and what changes I consider to be relevant to make if we want to specify a business model that is sustainable for the future. I am of the opinion that the gaming sector is expanding in multiple directions, and at the level of innovation, openness to change and so on, the land-based gaming vertical is lagging behind.
How do you see the current situation of the sector in this global context?
Businesses are closed, customers at home or starting to leave with fear or taking many precautions, we have had several months to think, something that usually the daily operation of an on-site casino does not allow (since you spend almost all the day putting out fires, and solving problems), from my point of view, we are at a crossroads, or we continue where we came from: an industry controlled by mostly financial profiles (people who have never interacted with the client), where most of the Ideas occur at the bottom lines of the income statement, where salaries are getting lower every day, and executives with operations/marketing experience are hardly participating in the decision-making process at a high level, or suddenly, we turn it around and start to have a long-term business vision, which implies seriously investing resources in human capital and in the organic improvement of the customer experience in the gaming room, as developing a solid omnichannel strategy for face-to-face operations.
How do you think the reopening of properties should be carried out?
On this matter, there is already a large amount of information available, in a first phase, it should be opened prioritizing the safety and health of clients/collaborators, which all the operators I know are already doing. Right now, efforts should be focused on regaining the trust of customers, that they come back and enjoy our offer. However, over time, I understand that this will not be enough. In these pandemic months, digital channels have continued to advance; What I would like to see from now on is the operators investing resources in the improvement of their casinos, that time that has been had to think, that has been used productively for the creation of new strategies, commercial actions and improvements of the business model. In the coming months we will see, once the initial phase of confidence recovery has passed, who has really made some effort to move forward, and who simply wanted to continue doing more of the same.
Based on your experience in managing land-based casinos, do you think that online gambling is a complement or competition?
At the moment, I have not seen any study using scientific methodology that conclusively shows that in a given jurisdiction the implementation of the digital offer has significantly reduced the income of face-to-face casinos, the reality is always very complex, and it is possible that, If a decline occurs, it is due to many other factors, not just the expansion of the online gaming offering. I envision a future where online gaming is an opportunity for land-based operators who know how to take advantage of it, except for those businesses that have spectacular physical locations or are protected from competition via legislative barriers, casinos will be omnichannel or they will not be, the business model of the future It is hybrid, and industry professionals should be hybrid, it is up to companies to train their collaborators so that they can move fluently between different verticals and constantly invest in innovation, and in the organic improvements of their models of management. We must take advantage of all the momentum derived from new technologies to update the land-based channel.