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Situational Influences by Heidi Hamers

Situations can influence the casino player’s visitation and spending patterns. Situational influences result from time, circumstances, and location that affect the buying decision process. Buying a tire after a blowout on a highway is different than buying one when you notice you have a badly worn tire, for example. Visiting the neighborhood casino down the road is different than traveling to a nicer casino 2-3 hours away. Situational influences can impact any stage in the buying process and may cause the buyer to shorten, lengthen or end the process.

Situational influences include physical surroundings, the social environment, time perspective, the reason for visiting, and the players’ mood. Physical surroundings include location, gaming atmosphere, sounds, lighting, music, and so on. As marketers, we set the stage to create the “mood” for players to feel safe and comfortable playing.

Weather conditions have an impact on buying decisions. Even the threat of weather keeps players at home.

Social surroundings include interactions of others who are present during the purchase decision, such as friends, relatives, hosts, and other casino employees and customers. There is a certain peer or social pressure to behave in a specific way in a public place such as a casino, showroom, or restaurant. If you observe players, they even behave differently depending on the type of restaurant. Those in a quick-serve restaurant act differently than those enjoying a fine dining experience. Thoughts about who will be around are also a dimension of the social setting. I know players who play much differently when alone than when they play with their spouses. Your casino host can also set the tone or expectation of the player’s spend during the visit.

The time dimension also influences the casino buying process. Does the player have a lot of free time or are they time-constrained? Time-constrained players may want to play more volatile games than those wanting a longer gaming session. Other time variables include the time of day, day of the week, month, season, or holiday.

A buyer’s mood or monetary condition maybe a bearing on the buying process. With the recent stimulus check hitting accounts this past Saturday, many people were flush with cash, for example, and the casinos were humming.

How are you, as a marketer, controlling situational influences? Are you getting your share of the stimulus check? Is it intentional or was it a windfall?

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