I left Las Vegas yesterday afternoon after five days in town for TUCON 2012 and drove back to Los Angeles where I live. The evening sky was amazing and the desert was gorgeous from the luxury of my air-conditioned car.
It didn’t hurt my mood to know that I didn’t gamble a single dime. I left with my dignity and wallet intact. That’s remarkable when you consider that Las Vegas was built for and by the gaming industry. They have far more experience in getting me to play than I have in resisting. I’m not against gambling (for those who can afford it), either.
So how did I beat Las Vegas? I beat Las Vegas because I didn’t stay at the luxurious Aria Casino and its ultra-modern design that says, “You must be a high roller if you’re here. You deserve to roll the dice.” I stayed instead at the Westin, where I could bring my dogs and earn my precious loyalty points.
You see the Westin doesn’t have the sophisticated systems that make Las Vegas what it is for the majority of its visitors. In the big hotels, and the Aria in particular, they know who you are as a Las Vegas tourist, not a hotel guest. The hotel is just a place to stay…a convenience necessary to keep you on site. They reward you for coming back and know your tastes and history with them. That allows them to amplify your experience and to offer ‘consolation prizes’ when you don’t win at the craps table.
Las Vegas uses big data and loyalty in some of the most cutting edge ways, even during this time of accelerated technology. The major casinos figured out long ago that it takes knowledge of the guest and the many ways to use dinners, shows and other enticements to make your trip more fun than simply winning or losing at roulette.
And they do it all real-time. They can respond to potentially negative experiences in the blink of an eye and do things most industries simply can’t do. They can correlate an enormous number of discreet pieces of information as events occur and figure out the best way forward for everyone, especially the guest.
I beat Las Vegas by not losing a dime, but I didn’t have the experience that I could have had, either.