Since joining the team at Harvest Trends, I have discovered that there is, sadly, no need for me to keep in regular contact with some of the vendors and their reps who made my life easier over the years. This point was made clearer to me as I walked through the expo hall at the Southern Gaming Summit in May and the Casino Marketing Conference in 2014. Even though I am no longer a customer to some of these folks, I was pleased to see some familiar faces at the booths.
Many of these people were instrumental to the success of some pretty big VIP events and player loyalty programs for which I was responsible, as their companies went above and beyond to ensure that everything went as smoothly as possible for my team, my guests, and me. They don’t know I’m writing this about them. They didn’t ask for this, nor did they have any input into this post. They are, simply put, people and businesses who provided me great products and/or services and will, I’m sure, do the same for you. The business name for each is also a link to the company’s website. They’ll open in a new browser tab, should you have interest in any of them.
All-Star Incentive Marketing
All Star provides a wide variety of gift and giveaway items to its clients. From high-end handbags to 4″ tall live plants, if they don’t have it already, I’m sure they can find it for you at a reasonable price. (…and if they don’t find it at a reasonable price, they will tell you what it will cost and offer alternatives!) At my last property, we did a couple of highly successful events with All Star at the ready. They assisted us with a “choose-your-gift” event for our top rewards club tiers that exceeded all expectations. How? The initial list of items was quite impressive: good value for our spend and high perceived value for our guests (like Vera Bradley, Sunbeam, and Bluetooth). Then, once the selections were complete and event plans had been finalized, our sales rep came to the property to assist with the order-taking. The guests got to touch samples of the items available, ask questions about them (Tim was really great with this part!), then choose which one they wanted to order for pick up (second trip!) on a pre-determined date. I don’t know if this is something he does for all his clients, but Tim’s presence had a calming and reassuring effect on my nerves. He was super professional and super polite. I wouldn’t hesitate to do the exact same event with him again.
In addition to this fantastic giveaway, All Star came to us with some innovative ideas for point redemption programs, VIP and “regular” player giveaways, and everyday promotions and events. They were always honest with us about what we could expect in terms of price and delivery, supported their products without fail, and were responsive to our requests for more information or ideas. They even sent some of their executives to our property to meet with our marketing team in order to establish a stronger working relationship with us. It’s that kind of customer service that makes me recommend this company.
Integrity Events helped me book entertainers for my showroom and New Year’s Eve event for a couple of years. From corporate events and private parties with energetic cover-performing groups to big arenas with nationally known entertainers, these folks can help you find the right act(s) for your event or venue, and they can even help you with production services if you need them. Lori was our contact, and she was fantastic.
Lori made it possible for me to book a couple of big-name artists I wouldn’t have been able to afford without her assistance. How? She knows her stuff and saw opportunities that I would have never known existed. She presented me with deals and options and straightforward advice that made my job so much easier than I could have ever imagined. Her advice and suggestions were spot on, she never lost her patience with the decision-making process (that often took longer than I wanted it to) at the property level, and she did everything she could to provide us with the best entertainment value possible.
Entertainment is what Integrity Events does, and just like the name implies, they give you the honesty, respect, and service you deserve. No matter what sort of event you’re planning, if it’s big enough to need live entertainment, Integrity Events is a great resource for finding the right act.
As part of a cross-training exercise at my last casino property, I was responsible for traditional marketing for a few months (instead of “casino” marketing). I had to oversee direct mail, advertising, promotions and events (again), property signage and messaging, and I took on an increased role in analysis and planning during that time. Pixus was instrumental in my success during the training period, and about five years later, the property is still using my biggest Pixus purchase: a 6’x6′ magnetic game board.
I had contacted them initially to inquire about some signs we’d ordered from them. Because I wasn’t their primary contact at the property, I wasn’t receiving notifications from their shipping folks. While I was on the phone with Edna, she asked if there was anything else we needed, and she connected me with a sales rep (whose name I don’t recall) who sent me information on a handful of products they thought we might find useful. As a result of this, I had some PhotoFab pumpkin pies made to alert buffet guests to a giveaway that was coming up, they produced a giant banner for my front entrance because our in-house large-format printer was down, and the magnetic game board they suggested has been in regular rotation since we bought it several years ago.
No matter what you need printed (even if you’re in a big hurry), no matter how big or small, and no matter what medium you choose, Pixus can get it done to your satisfaction. They impressed me more than once.
Specialty House of Creation
When I arrived at my last property, I learned that they usually purchased bungee cords approximately a quarter of a million at a time from this company. They traveled, literally, on a slow boat from China, and they were the best ones I’d seen at the price point they’d negotiated. (The slot machine bungee was my favorite.) One of our shipments was subject to a customs delay, and the folks at SHC alerted us right away…with a solution! Instead of just e-mailing their contact to tell her the bungees were going to arrive several weeks later than anticipated, they followed up with a call to ask how long our on-hand supply would last. When we did the math and realized we’d run out of bungee stock before the delayed shipment arrived, Specialty House’s team suggested several alternatives which were readily available to imprint and ship, and at prices that didn’t make our finance team shout at us.
Once in 7 years we ordered bungees from another supplier instead of from SHC. That was all it took to convince me. The shipment we received was of inferior quality and the company we bought them from was apparently disinclined to even apologize for what we felt was a poor substitute for our usual product and follow-up service.
SHC carries a wide variety of promotional items, from keychains to t-shirts and everything in between. If you can put a logo on it, they have it– or they can get it. They’ve been supplying casinos with stuff for years…and everyone there is so much fun to talk with, you’ll feel like you’ve been their customer for years after only a few minutes.
Micro Gaming Technologies
At my last property, when we decided to stop handing out paper entries (and move into the 21st century with our promotions), MGT was the vendor we chose to provide us with automated drawing software. While I wasn’t intimately involved with the selection process or the installation, I was mightily impressed with the finished product. My teams and I had to use MGT when we conducted drawings and announced promotional winners, and it was a very user-friendly and transparent experience. The guests, who had some reservations about the change to electronic drawing drums, quickly came to appreciate the convenience and clearly random selection process for determining drawing winners. Having the winners’ names appear on screens throughout the property eased our ongoing problem with communicating this important information to folks who were in the buffet line or who had visited the racetrack, and the associates in finance and analysis really liked the fact that we could quickly report on the number of participants and provide information related to the promotions in a much more timely manner than we’d been able to do before.
When we had issues of any kind, Bill and/or Wright were only a phone call away and were able to quickly resolve the problem in most cases. They trained our staff thoroughly, provided ongoing support that gave us confidence in the product, and updates were always handled professionally with our fantastic IT team. This kind of experience with a technology vendor can be difficult to find, but MGT delivers good service for a great product.
Who are some of your favorite vendors for casino marketing products and services? Tell us all about them in the comments section.