MGM Resorts Upgrades to Integrated Customer Data

Casino Owner Worked with Adobe, SapientNitro and Teradata in Data Overhaul

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MGM Resorts International's Bellagio
MGM Resorts International's Bellagio

MGM Resorts International's Excalibur hosts a rowdy dinner show featuring jousting knights on costumed steeds, Mandalay Bay is billed as an aquatic playground, and the Bellagio's grounds are studded with massive fountains.

Up until recently, the firm's data-management systems associated with each of its Las Vegas hotels and casinos were as distinct as its portfolio of properties dotting the strip. Compounding the data sprawl was the fact that different types of data were stored separately -- a restaurant purchase showed up in the food and beverage system, an apparel purchase in the retail database, a concert-ticket purchase in yet another database. Even websites associated with each property employed different terminology making it difficult to standardize and integrate the information.

At the end of 2013, the company embarked on a project with the help of SapientNitro and Adobe that would corral the once-disparate customer data and digital content assets housed across a variety of databases and technologies under a single platform. Ultimately, that data overhaul would help MGM have a more holistic view of customers, better target offers while guests are still visiting, optimize the information seen by customers viewing resort sites on desktop and mobile, and customer service representatives more information about customer preferences.

In fact, its current promotions for Guns 'n' Roses tickets and resort packages allowing customers to choose from a variety of offers would not have been possible were the system not integrated.

It took what Senior VP-Digital Officer John Bollen called an "a-ha moment" to get there. At an all-hands-on-deck meeting with digital strategy teams from all of MGM's properties, execs spent a lot of time discussing their individual brands. Then they realized what they should be asking is not what they want for their singular brands but what the guest wants, said Mr. Bollen.

MGM Resorts International brought in SapientNitro to assess the needs of guests, map out customer journeys and determine the best tools to improve ROI in three areas: hotels, entertainment and dining. Part of that process entailed determining the value of what MGM refers to as "the golden record," essentially the master record showing how much a guest spends with the company.

The casino owner chose Adobe's Marketing Cloud to operate its upgraded digital asset and content management, multi-channel content delivery, campaign management, performance analytics and guest data management. Today, the data flowing through the marketing cloud platform is integrated with MGM's M life loyalty program and its proprietary guest services engine.

MGM uses the Adobe platform to surface information that makes sense based on a customers' history and location and other criteria, ranking content based on guest interests, time and location and device type. If someone is searching the Bellagio mobile site while in Vegas, said Mr. Bollen, the company promotes events and dining. "We don't really need to sell you a room anymore -- you have that."

Historically, MGM viewed its guests and their golden records in relation to their use of lodging or casino gaming services, while in reality some valuable customers may never stay at a property or wager on a casino game, and instead just shop or dine. But because the firm owns more than 20 resorts worldwide and several on the Vegas strip, it was a good bet that even those not playing blackjack or staying in their hotels would end up spending money at an MGM property, said Julie Hoffmann, executive director of digital and consumer experience at MGM Resorts International. "We know they're going to visit," she said.

Putting the upgraded system to work most recently, MGM has aimed offers for sold out Guns 'n' Roses shows on April 8 and 9 in Vegas to its M life loyalty program members as well as non-gaming customers who had previously purchased entertainment tickets to things like UFC fights. The promotion lets people choose from a variety of offers packaging tickets and lodging at an array of resorts such as the Mirage, MGM Grand or Monte Carlo.

"We used to be myopic about whether you're gaming here or staying here," said Mr. Bollen. "You don't want to send a gaming customer to a hotel offer; you want to send a gaming customer to a tournament," he said.

To get to that golden record metric, MGM evaluated spending in its property management, food and beverage, entertainment and gaming system data stored with its data storage firm Teradata, which helped extract the data and merge it by matching email addresses or other pieces of information. Before, that information was evaluated and used to target future offers only after a guest had gone home.

"That process of extracting, it really showed us the importance of loyalty and it really started to change the way [we identified a guest as] a loyalty member," said Mr. Bollen. Now because the data is integrated, M life members can be rewarded based on non-gaming related purchases that were not tied to their profile before.

"Before we had this organized we were looking at that data about your last stay…that was all data in the rear view mirror," said Mr. Bollen.

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