Should You Segment Your Slot Floor?
As operators, we don't want players wandering about the floor seeking their favourite product, much like a mall doesn't want consumers spending hours driving around the parking lot looking for a spot. That's why the sophisticated lots inform you where the empty spots are. It’s also the same reason why retail stores segment their products by category. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to shop at a grocery store where the different types of bread are mixed in with all the other products on various aisles?
Gaming floors are complex, and figuring out the optimal layout, game mix, pricing, and machine settings can be challenging. The complexities for an operator with 300 machines are not much different from those for one with 5000 machines.
In this blog, we will make a case for why you should consider segmenting your slot floor, along with some segmentation ideas. Every property is also unique, so as always, remember to utilize a strong understanding of your product and customer data to guide these decisions. Our previous post discussed how to effectively use analytics to optimize your slot floor. At Tangam, we believe in combining operational expertise with analytics and data to provide the best possible experience for your visitors while also maximizing revenue and profit possibilities from the floor.
We won't debate the advantages of carousels against straight banks or the ideal length of a bank in this post; that discussion will be saved for a subsequent blog. We'll first talk about how to utilize the floor space to its fullest potential by segmenting.
Why Segment Your Floor?
The straightforward answer is so that the customer knows where they are going.
As a customer, I certainly do not want to wander around the floor looking for my game. It would be fantastic if I had an app that could tell me where to find my favourite game, what the jackpot is, and if a seat is available.
Short of that, segmentation will keep customers with similar preferences together and give them the best options within reach once they are ready to move on to the next game.
What Are Some Options
Aside from the obvious smoking and non-smoking areas, let’s examine some segmentation categories:
1. New games
Unlike Table Games where customers generally shy away from new games, slot customers appear to be more willing to try the latest and greatest themes. With manufacturers releasing up to 100 new titles per year, customers have lots of choices.
Some operators like The Star in Sydney (where David previously worked), have a very successful “New Games Zone” with a few banks allocated to each manufacturer. Don't forget about great marketing and signage. Keep the content rotating and perhaps put the onus on manufacturers to keep the content updated.
Finally, keep on top of your analytics. Knowing what works and, more importantly, why—and where it goes on the floor after coming out of the “New Games Zone".
2. Themed zones
Once again, drawing a comparison to Tables, Table Game operators know that grouping similar products together delivers benefits. If I'm playing roulette and the tables are all close together, I can shift from one table to another without walking the whole length of the floor.
The same philosophy applies to gaming machines; if I want to play Ultimate Fire Link (UFL), I’ll walk to the nearest unit, and if that’s occupied, I’ll try to find other UFLs. It’s a simple example, yet many operators get it wrong. Keep the themed games together! If you run a large floor, create a similar environment in multiple areas.
Analytics will help you figure out the optimal number of games based on the demand in that space.
3. Similar mechanics
At Tangam, we have partnered with dozens of clients, and the result is the same regardless of the market, customers have a preference for game mechanics. Here are some high-level categories:
- Hold and Spin
- Perceived persistence (or metamorphic)
- Video reels with free games
- Video reels must hit
The adjacency of like mechanics can be used as a stepper (pun intended!) from zone to zone.
4. High-Value Zones
This is not about high-priced games, but rather determining which games your higher-value guests will enjoy. Bring these games together in a location that can be well serviced and provide superior amenities—access to washrooms, bars, dining, more elbow room, and chairs; the list goes on.
5. Oldies but...
Old machines generally fall into two categories:
- Oldies but goldies. These are machines with great games and a loyal following. Their numbers will diminish over time as they get cannibalised for parts, but they earn their keep and have a place on the floor. Create an area where customers know where the classic machines are. Align the amenity and music to the demographic likely to play these classic machines.
- Machines that have a little love and value and haven’t been replaced by newer machines. This could be due to resource or budgetary constraints, or perhaps, a bit of both.
We've seen operators designate a section of the floor as "where games go to die." This successfully creates a space that customers do not and will not enter, effectively rendering large floor spaces unusable.
Consider these three options instead:
- Place them on the outside edges of other zones, or as a filler between zones.
- Determine whether you really need all slots on the floor (we often see properties with way more slot capacity than their demand justifies). Check with the other departments if they can make better use of space for table games, ETGs, etc. Less is more. Spread out your machines you have to create a better guest experience.
- Utilize your data to create a compelling business case to justify increasing your new machine spend, and toss out the underperforming games.
Marketing invests a lot of time and money attempting to bring high-value guests, who are usually time-constrained, into the casino. Therefore, it is critical to consider what occurs when these customers arrive and do not find a seat at their favourite game, or their favourite product is too crowded for their comfort.
How much more marketing effort will it take to entice these high-value guests to return after a poor experience? What happens to patron acquisition costs when there is a mismatch between what marketing promises and what operations deliver?
By not having the right strategy and analytics software tools to manage your strategy, operators put all their marketing efforts at risk.
Segmenting the floor layout is synonymous with merchandising a retail floor space. Prudent use of a robust segmentation strategy enables operators to service demand in a way that is consistent with guests' gaming preferences while increasing profitability.
At Tangam, we deploy a wealth of operational best practices combined with data analytics to maximize profitability from the gaming floor.
Sign up for the Webinar
As SVP of Gaming Optimisation & Strategy, David Croft brings over 15 years of expertise in leading gaming strategy, analytics, and innovation across table games, slots, and ETGs. Before joining Tangam, David oversaw gaming product optimization at some of the largest chain operators in Australia including Crown Resorts and The Star Entertainment Group. At Tangam David's vision is to help partners drive gaming performance improvements by utilizing best practices in organizational structure and business intelligence tools for a better guest experience and increased profitability.
As SVP and Head of North America Business, Ari brings over 15 years of operations experience across multiple jurisdictions in North America including Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Ari oversees Tangam’s global client base and helps operators adopt yield management best practices.