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Casino Marketing
by Steve Karoul

Hi-tech tools for the new casino marketing executive

I may be dating myself, but I remember when the most modern technological tool for a good casino marketing executive was a good Rolodex card file. Well, times have changed. There is nothing wrong with the Rolodex. In fact, I still use one as a back-up to all of my new modern PC computers, Lap-tops, Notebooks, electronic organizers, etc. Over the past few years I have become addicted to purchasing the newest, fastest, smallest or most flexible new technology tools as they come onto the market each year. Some of my friends think I am crazy and others just scratch their heads and ask if all of my new technology tools are really necessary. My answer is always the same, "Yes and No."

The real issue is what do you need to work as efficiently as possible. To me, a good Casino Marketing Executive needs to constantly be in touch with his players. I am sure that almost every casino marketing executive has a mobile telephone today. My previous article on Contact Management Programs generated some good responses from executives that want to maximize their potential. Contact management programs on a PC allow you to "manage" information about your players, their families, their likes and dislikes, and as much other personal information that you think might be helpful for the future. We all know that it is impossible to memorize all of these details. Many casino marketing executives work 25 hours per day and often travel quite frequently to visit their better players as well as meet new players. Therefore, many of the details in your Contact Management Program are very important to you and need to be portable. This leads us to one of the newest technology tools called PDA's (Personal Digital Assistants).

To me, this little miracle gadget is a must for any truly organized marketing or sales executive. You can basically carry all of the critical elements of your office with you in a miniature computer about the size of a wallet. There are numerous models available to choose from. For my comparison test, I contacted the following manufactures: Casio, NEC, 3COM, Philips and Franklin Electronics. It would be difficult for me to test too many more and I felt that these five brands offered a pretty good comparison of most of the features available on the market today. My contact letter to the manufacturer's stated that I would compare each of the units to enable our readers to make more objective purchase decisions based upon their individual needs and preferences. However, the only company that responded to my request with a two week loaner was 3COM. They shipped me one of their new Palm III Organizers. Therefore, I will use the Palm III as my example of what a PDA can do and how it can benefit you in your casino marketing efforts. I also want to tell you that I was extremely impressed with the Palm III. I have used many other electronic organizers over the years and this is one of the best. It offered everything and more that I would want or need to operate more efficiently.

First, don't let the Palm III's small size fool you. This little unit is only 4.7" tall by 3.3" wide, weighs 6 oz. (batteries and all) and will fit in your shirt pocket or purse and is powerful enough to keep you totally organized no matter where you are or where you go. You can store up to 6,000 of your best players addresses and telephone numbers, 5 years of appointments, birthdays or anniversaries, 1,500 to do items or personal reminders for follow up such as who to contact for special casino events, gaming tournaments, or casino collections, if legally allowed, 1,500 memos and 200 e-mail messages. With the optional modem and HotSync you can even retrieve your E-mail from your office PC. By themselves, PDA's are a great way to keep yourself organized. But their real power lies in how well they work with your desktop PC. The Palm III allows you to almost instantly exchange and update information both ways, between your organizer and your PC. They use HotSync technology. Drop the Palm III into its cradle, press the HotSync button and you're updated between your PC and your PDA. Enter the data in your PC and very easily download it to your PDA. The Palm III even has remote HotSync capability. Therefore, if your secretary updates your PC for your schedule or new address information or whatever, you can use their optional PalmPilot Modem to perform HotSync operations over standard telephone lines, from anywhere your business trip takes you. You're always updated. You can even synchronize to download your PC e-mail to your organizer while on a business trip which I found to be very helpful. Read and write responses at your convenience, then synchronize again to upload to your PC and send. So your little miracle gadget gives you a Date Book, Address Book, Mail, To Do List, Memo Pad, Expense Reports, Calculator, Security, Games and HotSync technology all in your shirt pocket or purse. The Palm III also has optional software links (sold separately) to popular Contact Management and E-mail programs as well as being compatible to Microsoft Outlook Express and other programs. The PalmIII also has great "search" capabilities to help you find any cross referenced entries such as appointments, memos, address information, etc. for the same person.

Most of the PDA's offer the same basic functions. Some are compatible with Windows CE, may have more or less memory, may have voice recording capabilities, and may have rechargeable batteries or other variances. However, from my first experience with the 3COM Palm III, I must admit that I was very impressed with its 2 MB of storage, infrared transfer, HotSync technology and its many versatile functions. The street prices average around US $350 to $399. In my opinion, this is a must have tool along with your GSM mobile phone and satellite pager. My advice is to take a little time and check out several different models of PDA's to see which one suits your needs best. Now there is no excuse for not being able to keep in touch with your players or your office from almost anywhere at any time for any reason. In fact, you can almost carry all of your important office information such as betting limits per game, casino comp policies, bank transfer information, and any other important casino information that you may need. Remember, if you don't keep in contact with your customers, your competition will and if you don't have access to correct information you may lose a very good player unexpectedly. Players expect good marketing executives to always be prepared to properly answer their questions. After all, how much detailed information can you really remember in your head. Understand? Good.

Good luck.

Date Posted: 30-Jun-1999

STEVE KAROUL is a recognized authority and consultant in the area of international casino marketing as well as an Associate Editor for CASINO WORLD MAGAZINE. Steve covers the Asian markets for CASINO WORLD MAGAZINE in the areas of Travel, Leisure and Gaming. Steve Karoul may now be contacted in the Philippines at Tel. (63-47) 252-1342, Fax 252-1343 or E-mail: sjkaroul@svisp.com.

 
 
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