Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Margaritaville Casino bets on iPhone to drive loyalty program enrollment

The new Margaritaville casino taps mobile to drive loyalty enrollment

Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant is enlisting mobile devices to create better relationships with on-premise customers while simplifying the process for enrolling in the casino’s loyalty program.

The casino in Biloxi, MS – which just opened last week – is equipping employees with iPhones and iPod touches so they can sign up new guests for the casino’s player’s club anywhere on the casino floor. The mobile devices replace the traditional player’s club booth, where new players would normally have to wait in line to sign up for the program.

“The biggest advantage is customers don’t have to stand in line waiting to sign up when they could be playing a machine,” said Larry McCoy, vice president of sales and business development at Playersoft Technologies, Ramona, CA.

“Customers can walk in and go straight to a game and someone can come to them where they are and sign them up,” he said.

Margaritaville is using Playersoft Technologies mobile enrollment sign up system on the iPhones and iPod touches.

Enhanced interactions
By removing the traditional booth location, Margaritaville hopes to create better customer relationships by enabling employees to interact with customers on the floor.

Casino’s player’s cards enable guests to accumulate points as they play that can be redeemed for free games, food and other rewards.

Margaritaville also allows players to use their points to enter a quarterly drawing for much larger prizes.

Guests with a player’s card typically insert it into a slot machine as they play. With the iPhone and iPod touch implementation, employees will be able to see if someone does not have a card in the machine, walk up to them and ask them if they would like to join the player’s club.

Those interested in signing up can hand an employee their driver’s license, which is swiped through an attachment on the mobile device to record the information. The employee then swipes a preprinted player’s card and the card is assigned to the driver’s license in the tracking system.

The employee then hands the card to the guest, who can start using it immediately.

The mobile enrollment platform also features an offline mode, giving staff the opportunity to reach out to players at offsite events.

Margaritaville joins a growing list of casinos, retailers and other merchants who are placing mobile devices in the hands of employees to improve the customer experience.

A recent report from Motorola Solutions found that 16 percent of retailers currently have a mobile checkout systems and 42 percent are currently piloting or starting trials within the next 36 months. The majority of these efforts are focused on using mobile POS for sales associates on the store floor for line-busting (see story).

“The iPod touch and iPhone are so small that you can put it in your pocket,” Mr. McCoy said. “Any larger and it becomes cumbersome and people don’t want to be walking around carrying it.”