Casinos are always looking for new ways to reach customers. So it’s no surprise that they’ve embraced Twitter, the popular social networking application that lets anyone tell the world, in 140 characters or less, “what’s happening.”
Casino tweets range from straight-up promo offers (TI Suite Sale $50 F&B + 20% Off Spa / Also $61 Strip View w/free breakfast) to single-sentence press releases (Celine Dion is returning to @CaesarsPalace and will be back home at the ColosseumatCP 3/15/2011!) to actual interaction with followers (Hey #vegas tweeps, come introduce yourself this Saturday night! #stationsocials).
On one hand, it’s great that casinos are connecting with potential customers, whether it’s by smoke signals or Short Message Service. On the other, just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should. Does all of this tweeting, retweeting and following actually add anything to the bottom line, or is it just sound and fury for the sake of sound and fury?
Even if the sample tweets above seem like gibberish to you, they make sense to plenty of people online. According to Hunter Hillegas, whose Rate Vegas website is a rallying point for Web-savvy Vegas visitors, the benefits go far beyond having another avenue to push offers through.
“Many tastemakers, journalists and other early adopters are active users of Twitter. This lets the casinos get closer to these people in a way that just isn’t as practical through other means,” Hillegas says.
As with any other advance, some are jumping in without looking back, while others are more tentative. Those who do it well—Hillegas singles out Planet Hollywood and Wynn Las Vegas—put a human face on their property, responding to requests, complaints and praise with finesse. Others adopt a less personal approach, broadcasting existing PR campaigns and ignoring critical comments.
“Simply re-tweeting praise from other users,” Hillegas says, “creates an echo chamber of little value.”
A recent personnel move highlights Twitter’s increasing prominence on the Strip. Brandie Feuer, until recently known to 12,000-plus followers as @phvegas, saw her Twitter star rise during her tenure at Planet Hollywood. She won the 2009 Trippie editor’s choice award (if you must ask, they’re like Oscars for Vegas casinos) for “Best Twitterer” for having elevated casino marketing tweets to an art form.
After pioneering casino tweeting with Luxor in 2007 (and being chosen as one of the top 40 Twitter brands by social media site mashable.com), Feuer is a veteran in the budding world of casino tweets.
Recently, Feuer left Planet Hollywood for the Tropicana to become the property’s director of marketing and innovation, and the rapport she’s built on Twitter over the past couple of years helped make her announcement of the move something special.
Instead of firing off a Tropicana press release, Feuer broke the news in an exclusive interview with vegastripping.com, the site that hosts the Trippies.
“It was great,” Feuer says, “to be able to talk about the move candidly with people I respect, and to get feedback right away. None of this would have been possible had I not been on Twitter.”
Feuer, who’s now tweeting as @VegasGalB, sees limitless potential in a channel that can create immediate one-on-one communications between casino executives, guests and team members.
“I think everyone who has something to say should use it,” she says. “At Planet Hollywood, the poker manager did a phenomenal job of connecting to poker players in a way that no one else could have.”
As more and more customers want to talk, it’s a good bet that Twitter won’t just be for marketers for long.