Gifts that keep on giving

As the COVID-19 shutdown restrictions slowly begin to ease and the roadmap to venues reopening starts to take shape, it is critical that you keep communicating with your customers to keep them updated with what it all means for them and your venue.

MAX will regularly share tips on how you can keep your customers informed, plus things you can be doing to engage with your members in positive, interactive and reassuring ways during this COVID-19 shutdown.

Today’s Tip:  

Birthdays and anniversaries should still be celebrated, albeit a little differently this year. Continue to send automated emails to your members, however instead of giving away a venue voucher, consider uploading bonus points to their account which can be used once your venue reopens fully.

Update the copy within your email so it is relevant to the current situation, keeping the message light-hearted and positive.

If you are currently providing takeaway service, use the birthday occasion as an opportunity to promote your menu. As an added element of surprise and delight for your valued members, offer a discount on their birthday meal delivery.

If you would like assistance with suggested copy for your emails, please email us at max@tabcorp.com.au

Take care, stay safe – and be ready.

Getting to the Point

At MAX, we understand the importance of staying connected with your customers during these challenging times. We want your patrons to continue seeing your venue as a community partner and understand that, while not physically for now, hospitality venues can provide an important sense of support and togetherness.

MAX will regularly share tips on how you can keep your customers informed, plus things you can be doing to engage with your members in positive, interactive and reassuring ways during this COVID-19 shutdown.

Today’s Tip:  

To help show your members they are valued, we suggest turning off points expiry during the closure and reinstating any expired points upon reopening.

Additionally, consider extending the expiry date on already issued venue vouchers so that any expired vouchers can be used once your venue is up and running again.

It’s important that once these changes are implemented, you communicate them to your members. MAX can provide you with copy guidelines, which you can personalise with your venue details and send out through your CRM platform.

For those customers currently operating a loyalty system with us, if you need assistance actioning the points expiry, please email us at max@tabcorp.com.au

Take care, stay safe – and be ready.

Go virtual this Mother’s Day

At MAX, we understand the importance of staying connected with your customers during these challenging times. We want your patrons to continue seeing your venue as a community partner and understand that, while not physically for now, hospitality venues can provide an important sense of support and togetherness.

MAX will regularly share tips on how you can keep your customers informed, plus things you can be doing to engage with your members in positive, interactive and reassuring ways during this COVID-19 shutdown.

Today’s Tip:  

Connect with your customers virtually during key occasions and give them ways to make the occasion special at home. With Mother’s Day approaching, use this as an opportunity to surprise and delight your members. 

Run an online competition asking members to write in and share memories of their favourite Mother’s Day lunch. Pick 5 entries to win a hamper delivered to their homes, contact free.

If you are currently providing takeaway service, this is the perfect opportunity to promote a Mother’s Day lunch or dinner delivery to allow your members to keep enjoying your menu at home, whilst spoiling Mum in the process.

If you’d like more information on how MAX can help keep you front of mind with your customers, email us at max@tabcorp.com.au

Take care, stay safe – and be ready.

2020 MAX AHG Expo – Announcement

As the major sponsor of the 2020 Australasian Hospitality and Gaming Expo, we are sharing the news that this year’s event has been cancelled due to heightened concerns and risks posed by COVID-19.

We fully support this decision, as the health, safety and welfare of all involved in this event and the broader community takes precedence.

As a result of this decision any associated activity planned around the AHG Expo will also be cancelled, including:

•          Customer hospitality functions – Big Picture breakfast and Customer and Partner Event

•          On-stand Expert Chats and Product Demonstrations

•          Training Showcase

•          Business Briefings – the MAX Upfronts

Those that have registered for these activities and events will be contacted directly.

We are currently considering the possibility of rescheduling some of these activities and events, including exploring the option to deliver them digitally. As further information becomes available they will be communicated accordingly.

MAX is proud to support a sustainable industry and we are committed to working closer than ever before with our customers and industry partners.

We thank you for understanding and continued support.

If you have any specific queries, please email max@tabcorp.com.au

Does your gaming floor match up?

People talking

Have you ever wondered whether you’ve got the right mix of gaming machines or are investing enough in gaming staff to deliver a quality service? While the winning formula in each club is likely to be unique, it is beneficial to understand how you measure up to industry benchmarks – especially if you’re in New South Wales.

Daniel Mitchell

Chances are you’ve heard the terms ‘business intelligence’ and ‘big data’ being bandied about, and for good reason – there is a wealth of research that shows that data-driven decision-making improves business outcomes.

All the buzzwords and jargon thrown around by consultants may be intimidating, but there are simple approaches to data analysis that can often yield important insights.

The Astute Quarterly Industry Benchmarks report – based on the New South Wales (NSW) market – is a classic example of a simple but effective approach. It’s a relatively easy process to compare a venue’s performance with industry benchmarks to determine how it is tracking relative to its peers.

The APDM indicator

By far and away the most common benchmark used in gaming machine performance monitoring is average daily profit per machine (ADPM). The overall ADPM figure across all clubs was $155 for the last gaming machine tax year (the year ended 31 August 2017). A more in-depth dive shows significant variances across venues, with more than two-thirds making an average profit per machine of less than $100 per day.

Astute provides the ADPM figures on an aggregated basis across a range of categories including venue size and gaming machine manufacturer and denomination – allowing the venue to zero in on and identify specific areas of under or over performance on the gaming revenue front.

It’s important to remember that, despite the terminology, ADPM is really a revenue rather than a profit figure and therefore represents the contribution to the club’s bottom line. That’s why it is necessary to take benchmarking a step further and compare performance not just for revenue but also for the cost and profit domains.

Some costs need to be accounted for, not the least of which is gaming machine tax. Approximately, 20 percent of the ADPM goes straight into NSW Treasury’s coffers.

Why benchmarking matters

Clubs should also be benchmarking wages, promotional and other direct costs associated with generating gaming machine revenue. This is an area where the Astute Quarterly Industry Benchmarks report becomes an indispensable tool; it facilitates simple comparison across these metrics, which typically aren’t available elsewhere.

By subscribing to the Astute report, venues can determine not only how their gaming machines are performing in terms of the revenue they generate relative to their peers, but also how efficient the club is in converting that top line revenue into bottom line profit. An interesting fact is that within the Astute Benchmarking group the bottom 25 percent of clubs are marginally more efficient at doing this. This may strike as odd. It’s not that there aren’t economies of scale at the top end of town, but rather higher marginal tax rates quickly erode these advantages.

Regardless of size, venues can benefit from using benchmarks to ensure that they are running an efficient gaming operation that brings in more money to support the club’s core purpose: to invest in better community facilities or make donations to local charities and sporting groups.

Benchmarking can also assist in answering more detailed questions venue managers or directors may have about their gaming machine operations. The Astute report shows the distribution of gaming machines according to denomination. It may surprise some clubs to know that multi-denomination gaming machines are second only to the 1c gaming machine when it comes to their proliferation on gaming machine floors.

Benchmarking can also be used to work with gaming machine manufacturers to optimise performance. For example, the club may identify that a particular gaming machine manufacturer’s cabinets are performing below the industry average for that supplier, but that all other manufacturers are performing above average. The supplier can then determine a plan, such as game or denomination conversions, for boosting performance. This way the venue can ensure it is getting the most out of the floor space it dedicates to a particular brand.

In closing

Good employer/employee relationships also come about when employers ensure their staff have the right environment, knowledge, materials and equipment to perform the tasks expected of them, says Santolin.

Typically, once club boards and management get a taste for using data to drive their decision-making processes, they inevitably continue down that path and begin employing more sophisticated business intelligence practices. To avoid frustration down the track, it pays to invest in a product suite that can evolve with the club’s increasing demands.

There is nothing more aggravating than discovering a convoluted process to generate gaming statistics to compare them with the industry benchmark. To avoid that, look for alignment between the club’s benchmarking service and its gaming system.
It’s hard to overemphasise the importance of benchmarking. Having the appropriate tools and resources to know how your gaming measures up is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.


Daniel Mitchell is ClubsNSW Manager – Gaming Policy.
For more information or to request a demo, please email sales@ebetgroup.com.

Getting it right

Indoor club

MAX Head of Venue Performance, Riccardo Callegari explains how to make the best choice when implementing new games for your gaming floor.

Choosing a game to add to your gaming floor is a crucial decision for your venue. This article sets out some information and considerations to assist you to make the best choice for your venue.

Key Insights

  1. Looking at performance data from other jurisdictions is one of the most effective tools
  2. Speak to other clubs or hotel operators to gauge their expectation of what is and isn’t working in the market
  3. Try different denominations as a test to help clarify player preference

Industry Performance Data

One of the most effective tools is to look at performance data from other jurisdictions, but this also needs some consideration behind it. You need to consider the following key indicators:

  • The install base of the sample data.
    If the number of machines is quite low and the turnover is quite high, you may find that the venues included in the sample data are high turnover venues, which may make the data misleading.
  • Where the sample data comes from. Is it a good cross-section of clubs and pubs that would help you to make a better decision?
    The data contained in these reports is quite valuable and reliable.
    The other point to remember is that only those who pay for a benchmarking tool are included in the data, so it may be skewed to larger venues that can afford to participate. Smaller venues may not see the benefits of continuing a subscription. All in all, the data contained in these reports can be used as a good guide to choosing a game that will work.

All in all, the data contained in these reports can be used as a good guide to choosing a game that will work.

Use your Network

The best way to obtain a well-rounded view of what is working and what isn’t is to use your network. Speak to other club or hotel operators to gauge their expectation of what is working in the market or what is yet to be released as the next big thing. Use industry events or tradeshows to speak to sales reps. Gaming company representatives should be used as a good source of truth for what’s working in the market. The best representatives will not only recommend their own product, but have a balanced approach for any venue on what their competitors’ products are doing.

Games Catalogue

“They’re the people that come in every day and play the gaming machines, have a drink and buy a meal. So, as a leader, you have to pose the question to your staff: how do your strategies help the customers and, ultimately, the business?”

Sit down with your sales representative one day and go through their games catalogue. It would be interesting to see the progression of games models and how clones of games have evolved. As soon as a manufacturer brings out a cracker game, most often very soon after that there will be a similar game, with a similar maths model and all that’s changed is that there will be a slight tweak, some different symbols and eventually a family may be formed.

It also pays to see which games are available from previous years. What’s old is new again and you may be able to offer your players an old favourite again.

Experimentation

It pays to have a ‘whole of venue’ approach on your gaming floor. Try different denominations, as a test to help clarify player preference.

Look at all the manufacturers that are available. Try not to focus on the star performers at the time. You need to have a balanced approach, as what goes around comes around, and be forward planning for the next great game to be rolled out.

The Value of Feedback

Using Net Promoter Scores is a valuable way to collate customers’ feedback but it is how you use that feedback that matters, says MAX’s Head of Customer Insight, Kasia Witon-Wanstall.

In a service industry, the customer’s experience is vital. Seeking and encouraging feedback from your customers is an important way of checking in and ensuring your service is still relevant.

“You need to be asking your customers [for feedback] constantly,” says Kasia Witon-Wanstall, Head of Customer Insight at MAX. “Giving customers an opportunity to provide feedback is the most powerful thing you can do.”

However, according to Witon-Wanstall, the way in which you collect and use that feedback also plays a crucial role in how it can benefit your business.

“Some people make it hard for customers to complain. I don’t understand the point of that,” she says. “Complaints are an opportunity – it means someone is still giving you a chance to keep their business.”

For Witon-Wanstall, Net Promoter Scores – a system examining a customer’s loyalty to your business and their willingness to promote it to others, is a valuable tool in finding out what’s working and what isn’t.

“It taps into [the fact] that we, as humans, wouldn’t ever recommend or attach our name to something that wasn’t, in our opinion, good,” she says. “That frontline loyalty question gives us a firm point of where we stand with our collective customers, and then the ‘why’ gives us some indicators of areas we need to improve.”

Witon-Wanstall believes using Net Promoter Scores gives more weight, letting you know how many people feel that way and how strongly it makes them feel.

“What you say is going to influence the person that asked,” says Witon-Wanstall. “So, in a consumer space, we care about ratings and what you’re going to say and then we want to know why you’re going to say that.”

If a customer goes to the trouble of making a complaint on a website, the recipient of that feedback should be on high alert. However, it’s important to gain awareness of day-to-day issues that go unreported. Unless a customer’s experience was really terrible, they may simply forget, which doesn’t help your business.

“They’ll remember they don’t want to go back but they won’t remember why and that’s a problem,” says Witon-Wanstall. “Asking someone two months later won’t uncover these micro-moments.”

If a time-poor customer has to jump through hoops to complain or answer lengthy surveys, they will simply not bother.

“We talk about Net Promoter Scores and loyalty as the key indicators of what’s happening with customers and what they think of us,” remarks Witon-Wanstall. “It’s meant to help guide your business and identify areas to improve.”

Witon-Wanstall believes it’s also important to be specific about which part of your business requires feedback: “Ask the customers [specific questions about a part of the business] when they’re consuming that part of the business.”

Feedback has to be easy and non-confrontational for a customer, in order to provide you with valuable information. Without this information, it makes it increasingly difficult to satisfy customers and compete with other venues.

As Witon-Wanstall says, “What’s worse than bad feedback? No feedback!”