The catch-phrase that transformed Las Vegas' failed attempt at becoming a 'family destination' back into its original 'Sin City' image is now taking another turn. "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas,"
was not only a brilliant ad campaign slogan, it also became a pop
culture mantra used every time someone wanted to alert someone else
about keeping things on the DL.
Social Media has not only introduced the world to real-time search and lightening-speed 'breaking news' reports, it has forever transferred the control of brand messaging from ad execs to user-generated content. If Vegas ever thought its secrets were safe on the strip, today's odds-on favorite is no longer the 'house' - its everyman who knows how to play the social media game! Today the dark-horse favorite is more likely found in the Twitterstream than on the Strip!
In a recent Las Vegas Sun report, a gambler ranted on South Point Casino's Facebook Fan page, "Please folks...do N-O-T gamble in this casino. They run some of the TIGHTEST machines in Las Vegas. I LOSE almost E-V-E-R-Y time I try playing at South Point."
Hotels in today's social media milieu no longer need to only worry about taking care of a guest during his stay, they need to be able to engage with potential customers before they even arrive at the hotel. In a recent blog post titled "Top Ten Hotel Brands A Tweet Above The Rest," I explored the interaction that ten top hotel brands conducted with their guests via Twitter and found that those who carried on two-way conversations with their online clientele were the most successful.
One memorable tweet from the Marriott Hotel chain demonstrates that even if considered one of the largest hotel chains in the world, sometimes a little humility goes a long way.
Nuno Valinhas, Tiara HotelsNuno Valinhas, e-commerce executive of Tiara Hotels & Resorts based in Lisbon, Portugal asserts that Tiara's strategy in the social media environment is "to get outside...to be visible... and to try to reach more and more potential clients. Beside our offline Marketing campaigns and actions, the social media networks enable us (with a cost of ZERO) to somehow influence and engage more people to get to know our brand/name as well as our hotel, and their locations."
In Vegas, today's best social media practices are new to the gambling destination that is still in many ways, very old school. Liz Bentson writes in her article for the Las Vegas Sun, "New technology isn’t necessarily an easy sell for the casino industry, an admittedly conservative business where managers have relied on decades-old marketing techniques, more recently borrowing ideas from other industries."
Sally Gaughan, South Point's DirectorSally Gaughan, South Point's director of Internet marketing responded to the negative slot machine comment (above) by pointing out that the resort's Facebook fan page was to allow "people a place to talk about the South Point," where they could be "genuine" with their comments. Filtering the message was something ad execs were good at in the days when Sinatra and the Rat Pack ruled Vegas. But in today's world of Trip Advisor's "instant critique" mentality, its best to let the chips fall where they may.
If a resort receives a negative comment in a very public posting on a very popular social network, its a warning to the management that they best get their house in order, before the odds start stacking up against them. Because what happens in Vegas happens all over the country, and the critical eye of social media is recording every roll of the dice! Best to hold on to those chips. You may need to call in that marker when it will do you some good!