Intercard shares COVID-19 reopening strategy
Reward top spenders
As international amusement operators prepare to reopen their facilities after the COVID-19 shutdown, Intercard’s Jerry Heinz has shared some valuable tips on how to bring back their best customers.
Heinz has been in the hospitality and amusement industry for over 20 years, having spent the last seven years as Asia-Pacific sales manager for cashless system provider Intercard. His work in these industries has allowed him to visit over 30 different countries, hundreds of FECs, theme parks and arcades. He’s met some of the most talented industry professionals in Asia, India, the Middle East, and North America. His advice to operators around the world is this.
“Each country is unique but the current COVID-19 crisis has hit every country hard and everyone has shared the incredible burden. Until now a country or region would have their own specific challenges that had to be overcome be it weather related, economics or political but COVID-19 created a true global event that everyone is experiencing together. One of the most important questions FEC operators should be asking themselves right now is how are you rewarding your top spenders?
“Having travelled 150 hotel nights a year with hundreds of thousands of air miles accumulated, I have become truly knowledgeable on frequent flyer programs, elite status, or memberships and their many benefits. I am sure many of you are, like me, receiving promotional emails with offers from all the companies that you usually work with. These programs are making sure I am not forgetting about them and it’s working.
“While hotels, airlines, theme parks and FECs will take a little longer to get back to normal than other industries, those that are staying in touch with their customers will reap the benefits once the crisis lifts. This is a proven tactic used by the biggest brands. The amusement industry is all about “guest experience” and by rewarding your customers you are adding to that positive experience and ensuring their return.
“Now is the time to reach out to your guests, keep them engaged and keep your business part of your customers’ top-of-mind awareness. If you are successful in doing so you will be one of the first activities they do when they can leave the house.
“With so many options for people to spend their entertainment dollars, it is important to add value and reward your most loyal customers. This has worked extremely well for the travel industry. Here are some tested and true ideas to consider.
- Offer an invitation-only re-opening night for your top 100 or 1000 customers (based on spend in the last year.)
- Set up memberships to reward top spenders, i.e. Silver Member, Gold Member, Diamond Member
- Promote sales now with added bonus cash. Offer customers who purchase game cards now a bonus to use when your location opens. The cruise lines are pushing this type of offer right now (e.g., book a cruise now for 2021 and it is a huge discount and extremely flexible). Try to get the money now for future play.
I truly believe that the industry will thrive again in the future and remembering your top spenders will help guarantee that.