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Aspers Casino Group

Implementing a Loyalty Card system

Introduction

Aspers is a joint venture between The Packer Organisation and The Aspinall Group, two companies with an unparalleled record in the development of major leisure entertainment and gaming complexes.  Currently there are three casinos under the Aspers brand, with many more to follow.

The senior management of Aspers understood that the future success of the leisure, entertainment and gaming complexes casinos hinges on developing loyalty from their visitors and members;  the gaming sector is highly competitive, with significant value given away often to those members who do not demonstrate loyalty to the brand.  Building on the knowledge that a loyalty concept could be introduced into this sector (as witnessed a few years ago when Gala Coral Group implemented a loyalty scheme) Aspers engaged us to work with a loyalty strategy consultancy to design and deliver the infrastructure.    This loyalty scheme is known as “Aspire” and has two tiers: “Base” and “Gold”, reflecting the value of rewards built by each member.

The requirement

We were required to develop and deliver three workstreams out of a total of five:

  1. Business Requirements
  2. Marketing communications
  3. Operational change requirements

The challenges

There were a number of challenges facing us:

  1. Aspire was to be introduced into and tested in a brand new casino that was due to be opened in four months, so all operating systems, workflow processes and functionality had to be designed and live in as much time.   Once Aspire had gone live for a couple of months, it was to be introduced into the remaining casinos.
  2. Operating within the legislation on gambling, in particular where any mechanic could be construed to encourage or incentivise gambling, especially in problem gamblers.
  3. The base IT operating systems could not be changed in time to accommodate all of the requirements and functionality of Aspire, so workarounds were required to deliver the scheme.

What we did

1.Workstream 1: Business Requirements

The objective was to specify the changes required to the operating systems behind the gaming tables, slot machines, cash tills, etc so that new code could be written or existing code adapted to ensure that the scheme could go live and offer significant rewards to members of the loyalty scheme.

Each loyalty mechanic was dissected in terms of the processes involved in being able to acquire that reward, e.g. earning bonus points for attendance on non-peak hours.  The processes were then further described in the form of detailed flow process diagrams, from the moment a member entered the casino and swiped in to the moment they exited, in addition to the actions in between.  For some mechanics, there were as many 35 different logical steps in order for the systems to recognise the qualifying activity that would generate the reward.

A total of 60 intricately detailed flow process diagrams were designed and then discussed with the IT developers, who used this document to determine which of the processes their systems could operate without recourse to expensive, time consuming revision of code.

2.Workstream 2: Operational Change Requirements

The introduction of a loyalty scheme into the casinos meant that staff members required induction and training on the new scheme:  from understanding the nature of the loyalty scheme so that they could explain it to members, through to undertaking new processes at point of contact with the member, e.g. swiping cards for points balances, adding points to balances, etc.

Taking each loyalty mechanic flow diagram, we then designed detailed flow diagrams documenting each step of the operational process that each member of staff would be required to undertake.

We then designed internal marketing materials for Aspers HR staff to distribute to the staff during their weekly briefings: this took the form of FAQ guides, aide-memoires and briefing papers.

A card based loyalty scheme creates data, so we also designed an optimal team configuration to support the analysis and reporting requirements, creating a Marketing Analytics function within the company.  Since analysis of this type had never been undertaken within Aspers there was no realisation of what could be achieved, so we designed prototypes of regular and ad hoc reports, specifying the data extracts needed to undertake the work, the analytical method to be applied, as well as the outcome and application of such analysis to the organisation.

3.Workstream 3: Marketing communications

There was no central marketing function within Aspers, with all marketing communications undertaken at a local level.  Since the loyalty scheme was to be a national initiative the communications needed to be consistent in tone of voice, graphics, message and imagery.  Our solution was to develop and design Loyalty Card “member journeys”, with a separate track for each loyalty tier.  Each communication within each track had a specific objective, derived from initial analysis of and observation on casino guest/member behaviours, e.g.

  • To inform – advise of new events, occasions
  • To encourage repeat visits – additional rewards for increased attendance
  • To increase repertoire – rewards on other concessions within the complex, e.g. restaurant, beauty salon, etc
  • To surprise and delight – additional rewards and bonuses for Gold Aspire members

We ensured that Aspers could sustain the activities by developing a detailed marcomms project plan for the central PR and Brand team to follow so that they could implement the activities while hiring a team of marcomms specialists.  Against each activity we recommended targets for response and ROI, along with the method for calculating the effect of the communication.

The benefits

Aspers launched the Aspire loyalty scheme on time, at the opening of the new casino on Swansea and due to its success, extended it without difficulty to the casinos in Newcastle and Northampton.

With our help, the organisation saved budget and time through:

  • Utilisation of existing operational systems to execute the loyalty mechanics
  • Step-by-step implementation plans to expedite functions in which they had limited or no resource
  • The design of detailed plans on rewarding valuable members and gaining further engagement with the Aspire and Aspers brands.

We wouldn’t work with anyone else as we really don’t feel that there are any others within the industry who can deliver what we need. — Abi Thornton, Head of Listener Insight, Global Radio


Call Aszent on 07887 653595