Casinos have spent a lot of time perfecting their marketing techniques to attract new and an increasing number of customers. However, today they are being confronted with a new and different target audience on whom these techniques do not work – millennials. Who is this generation and how can land-based and online casinos become more millennial-friendly?
Who Are Millennials?
Millennials are also known as Generation Y. There are no precise start or end dates for this demographic cohort, but the range of birth dates given is usually between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s to early 2000s. They reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century, ergo their name. They make up a quarter of the population, which means they have considerable spending power. They are also one of the most diverse generations, with many coming from mixed family backgrounds both in terms of ethnicity and family composition. At least half consider themselves to be politically unaffiliated and nearly one-third religiously unaffiliated.
What Are The Characteristics Of Millennials?
While each individual is of course different, millennials tend to share some common characteristics. One of the main ones being that millennials are super connected. They grew up with technology and use it for everything – communicating, news, sharing memories, shopping, gaming, and more. Between smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other smart objects, millennials are connected 24/7. Staying connected feeds their cravings for attention, praise, and reassurance.
When it comes to making choices about consuming, they turn to friends, families, and online reviews rather than traditional advertising. They want to see real-life experiences with brands and be part of a community. Often, they are using their social media presence to interact. This desire for involvement and inclusion goes hand-in-hand with their team-oriented upbringings. Many took part in team sports and activities while kids. Being part of a group was an important part of their childhood, so they look for more of the same as adults.
Millennials look for work/life balance as much as possible. Rather than constantly striving to move up and earn more money, they would rather have more flexible schedules to spend time with friends and family. However, this doesn’t mean they are lazy. In fact, millennials are ambitious and achievement-oriented. They seek new challenges at work and are not afraid to question authority. They wish to do work that is meaningful and from which they can learn.
How Can The Casino Experience Be Adapted?
So what can casinos do to catch millennials’ attention and hold it? The key is to use technology and to use it well. Out-dated websites and machines will only lead to frustration, whereas smooth-running current technology will keep them interested.
With millennials’ hyper-connectivity and desire for attention, social media plug-ins are an absolute must. Generation Y users should be able to easily share their experiences with their community. Just as they share food pictures on Instagram, reviews on TripAdvisor, and YouTube videos of their latest shopping hauls, they will share posts about their latest win and the casino perks. And research has shown that all of their sharing has a big impact on their social group’s thoughts and decisions. A well-placed social media post by a millennial can make or break an entire marketing campaign and/or a brand.
New games should be offered that look and feel more like console video games than traditional casino games. These skill-based games have goals that millennials can aim for. Land-based casinos should invest in machines which are reminiscent of the video games players grew up with and are playing now. It is easier to approach a machine with which you feel comfortable than one you know nothing about. It is also important that some team-oriented games are offered. Players can work together to build their strategies and achieve their goals, something that can be much more fulfilling than a “everyone for him- or herself” game.
Casinos need to stay up-to-date with the latest technology. As mobile connectivity also means that millennials may choose to play in online casinos more than land-based, options such as virtual reality are good to integrate. Live dealer casinos allow some of the interaction millennials look for, but virtual reality is a way to further expand upon the gaming experience. Being immersed in a 3D environment and interacting with it provides a stronger connection to the game. And while virtual reality is often considered to be an isolating technology, keeping a player alone in his space, the future will change that. Games such as VRChat are already moving towards a shared virtual space in which players connect with one another. Imagine sitting down to play poker on an online casino and “seeing” your fellow players as if you were actually sitting all around the same table!
All of these things can provide millennial customers with the excitement, discoveries, and experiences that they crave. Making these changes and more can help casinos open their doors to a new audience.