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Level up guest experiences with a personalization game plan

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Level up guest experiences with a personalization game plan

by Carrie Moeller and Erica Skelly


In the gaming and hospitality industry, personalized guest experiences go a long way. We think it’s more crucial than ever.  

Not only is personalization fundamental to building brand affinity for guests, but it also simplifies a path for guests to complete tasks during their visit at a hotel, restaurant, or casino. Establishing this familiarity and consistency results in both brand retention and customer loyalty. 

But, the path to personalization for companies can be difficult to navigate. Gaining a deep understanding of your company's needs and capabilities is key to prioritizing the right approach. At Horizontal, we partner with our clients to guide them through this process with a phased crawl, walk, run approach to personalization.  

Crawl, walk, run – A phased personalization approach  

The idea of crawl, walk, run is not reflective of pace, but more as creating the foundational building blocks to create best-in-class, connected experiences.  

No matter where a company is in their personalization journey – from basic tactics like push notifications for room check-ins to advanced tactics that incorporate a CDP for game-based and concierge services – crawl will be the foundational starting point. 

Step 1: Crawl 

If you haven’t started to personalize, the crawl phase could include a readiness assessment and in-depth discovery to understand the details of your gaming or hospitality business. This phase defines parameters that your brand already has available to build within, such as tech stack, owned channels, data sources and more.  

We find brands are ready to begin personalizing within a single channel, such as a website, email or app depending on what holds the most value for the business. Deploying basic personalization within this channel is based on key available data inputs such as geolocation, visitor and/or click behavior giving brands a great starting point to begin gathering learnings and understanding the impact of personalization.  

After you have established your personalization goals, the next step is to create a multi-level, multi-phase roadmap.   

In order build out your gaming or hospitality business’s roadmap for success, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of where your business is heading. For example, is it a fully connected experience? Or is your final destination simply connecting your website and email architecture allowing for key messages to trigger cross platform?  

Once crawl phase personalization use cases are implemented, they are monitored, measured and potentially modified based on business impact before moving into the next phase of work. 

Step 2: Walk 

This phase is defined differently for all brands, but generally a brand can move beyond their crawl phase when they’ve found success with their current personalization tactics and/ or have expanded to additional data sources or tech platforms.  

This could mean moving from activating on a single channel to multiple channels or expanding from site-based data sources only to utilizing many nuanced data sources across the organization. To facilitate this can require sophisticated technical platforms such as a CDP (Customer Data Platform) to centralize data streams and/or a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to connect with customers. 

Either way, the walk phase continues the work essential to building out a successful personalization strategy. 

Step 3: Run  

The move from "walk" to "run” continues to lean into data and insights to advance personalized rules into an omnichannel experience, adding additional channels and technical capabilities. In this phase, machine learning, patterns and profiles, and artificial intelligence can be introduced to determine the next best action for guests.  

The run phase continues until your guest’s experience is completely connected and operating in a personalized manner that drives efficient results across the board. 

Below is an example of what this might look like for a single personalization tactic across crawl, walk, and run phases within gaming and hospitality: 

Personalization Tactic: Encouraging gaming/ hospitality guests to visit more of their locations 

Crawl: Start with geolocation data only 

Identifies other properties within a defined mile radius and provide personalized offers or content to promote the next-closest property 

Walk: CRM Customer Booking data added  

Confirming if a customer has / has not booked and where across hotel, dining or show reservations, further opening up an opportunity to serve this audience with more specific messaging about those experiences  

Run: CDP connected real time post visit survey data added 

Evolving the tactic a bit further to ensure the most relevant content and offers are presented to increase multiple location visits 

As you can see, the available data directly impacts the feasibility of each phased approach.  

This example helps demonstrate the complexities that can accompany standing up a personalization tactic and reinforces the importance of having a reliable partner to support you along the way. 

As your company moves through the crawl, walk, run phases of personalization the results will get more defined and more meaningful to your company’s ROI due to the maturing data available. 

At Horizontal, we can help guide you through each phase of work successfully. Are you ready to start building your crawl, walk, run roadmap and achieving your personalization goals? Give us a call! 




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