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How Caesars personalises experiences for over a million visitors each year.

PGA TOUR logo

How Caesars personalises experiences for over a million visitors each year.

+20x

ROI in first year

+2%

CTR in initial Target
segmentation

>50

A/B tests annually

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“At Caesars Palace, the intention is that every guest should feel like a Caesar when they’re here. It isn't one man's palace. There's no apostrophe in the name. This is about everyone having their own amazing experience.”


Jeffrey De Korte
Vice President Advertising & eCommerce, Caesars Palace

Upping the ante



The entertainment business is built on experience. In Las Vegas, as well as the other holiday-worthy locations of Caesars Entertainment properties, this is especially true. From the sensational live shows to the thrill of winning the jackpot, the way customers feel is directly related to the bottom line. 

Before customer experience became a field unto itself, the gaming industry wrote the rules that are foundational to digital marketing today: treat customers like royalty. Understand their desires. And surpass their expectations. As one of the most iconic casino corporations of its kind, Caesars knew this better than anyone. But they also knew that their customers were changing. 

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Sinatra, Bennet and Liberace helped put Caesars’ namesake hotel on the map when it opened in the 1960s. Fast-forward six decades and customers are demanding far more than the latest musical act. With 15 brands, 53 properties worldwide, 200+ nightlife venues and 300+ food establishments, the scale and complexity of marketing for Caesars was as sizeable as the Roman empire itself. Considering Caesars’ glamourous history versus the futuristic fun offered by competing brands—roller coasters, molecular gastronomy, rooftop golf, just to name a few—the company decided to place a big bet on experience. After all, each of their 115 million guests every year was expecting the holiday of a lifetime, no two alike.

“The customer experience has evolved and our need to message to those customers has evolved,” says Jeffrey De Korte, Caesars’ Vice President of Advertising and eCommerce. With over two decades working at the intersection of eCommerce, digital travel and brand marketing, De Korte has stepped into a dynamic role that pays off on his experience at the forefront of digital marketing in the 90s. At Caesars, De Korte is responsible for the full range of advertising and eCommerce across all Caesars properties. “Now, we’ve gone beyond the gaming programme into the breadth of experience you get from staying at a Caesars Entertainment property. We need the tools that allow us to curate those messages to our guests.”


Every holiday starts with a click


Without a focus on experience, businesses run into the danger of becoming transactional. In the U.S. alone, Caesars has 38,098 hotel rooms. The equation seems simple at first: get customers to book, stay, leave and hopefully book again in another year. But at a Caesars, Harrah’s or any other of their properties, focusing on just the hotel room is missing the point. The experience begins as soon as a customer’s holiday planning does. And it never ends.

Managing experience from the start of the customer journey is no small task. While hotels have a concierge and restaurants, a maître d’, the responsibility for a customer’s digital experience falls to marketing. But to manage the volume of digital interactions, marketing teams need a highly specialised toolkit. As De Korte points out, “Technology allows us to create experiences at a scale that founders of our hotels never would have imagined.”

A typical buying journey for a Caesars customer takes just over a month, with a typical stay of just 2.5 days. The opportunity to form a meaningful connection, therefore, comes predominantly before a guest ever sets foot on one of their properties. For organisations like Caesars, the task at hand has already moved past digital transformation, says De Korte. Now is the time to “leverage those digital capabilities and channels to enhance the guest experience, improve our business and create more efficient ways for us to deliver the product we have in exciting ways.”


Caesars uses these Adobe products:

Analytics


Analyse online and off-line behaviour to get a full picture of the customer journey.
 

Experience Manager


Combine digital asset management with the power of an enterprise-ready CMS.
 

Experience Platform


Connect all your known and unknown data in real time to deliver personalised experiences at scale.


Building an experience empire



Working with Adobe Experience Platform has helped De Korte and his team do exactly that. Their first task was to better understand the Caesars audience. With data sources from across digital and physical touchpoints, they needed to unify customer information to get a big-picture view across audiences. From there, Caesars created customer segments to differentiate amongst audiences, from high rollers to bargain hunters and beyond.

That’s where personalisation came in. The interests, expectations and spending habits of Caesars customers are as diverse as the many visitors they have each year. A bargain-hunter booking a last-minute room has different communications needs from a return visitor looking to stay in a villa. Rather than risking proposing the wrong offer to the wrong customer, Caesars uses Adobe Experience Manager to draw the winning hand every time.  

Today, Caesars is focused on content optimisation and analytics to make each experience personal, interactive and memorable. Running over fifty A/B tests a year in their booking engine has allowed De Korte and team to make impressive improvements. “We had great returns on that,” says De Korte. 

“We're able to deliver the interactive experience and visuals on our websites utilising the content we have in our digital asset manager, with the powers of Adobe Experience Manager to host the page and Adobe Target to do the personalisation. We recently added Adobe Experience Platform to help us to understand the customer we’re speaking to. It’s revolutionary.”

“We recently added Adobe Experience Platform to help us to understand the customer we’re speaking to. It’s revolutionary.”

Jeffrey De Korte
Vice President Advertising & eCommerce, Caesars Palace

Real time, one step at a time

Always on the lookout for ways to make experiences more memorable and personal, Caesars is exploring possibilities around real-time personalisation. In an industry built on delight and serendipity, the dream of getting the right message on-the-spot is promising. As De Korte muses, “One of the promises of digital was that the minute I walked to the pool deck on the ship or the minute I walked into the bar or into the theatre, that the platform would know it's me, would know I like a martini with three olives and the server would have that in front of me in seconds.”

While technology hasn’t caught up with these ambitions quite yet, the reality of real-time is no longer a stretch of the imagination. But as De Korte knows, the right data and a powerhouse platform are crucial to turning this lofty vision into reality. With a centralised dataset, highly controlled response times and lack of latency, real-time personalisation and customer experience opportunities could be the next step in digital transformation.

“We're very excited about the prospect of Adobe Experience Platform and what it can bring us in terms of a real-time, customer data platform [CDP].”

For the moment, De Korte’s focus is on using Adobe Experience Platform incrementally and deliberately to prove the value of the investment with every step. Caesars started with Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Analytics to make strides with their web presence. The ROI was there. Since then, De Korte has been layering, product by product, all the way up to the full platform.

“We wouldn't be where we are now if we had not shown results when we started [with Adobe] three years ago.”




The power behind personalisation
 

While the digital world catches up to the vision of real-time, companies like Caesars are nonetheless riding the edge of technologies such as AI. For Caesars, the data that powers their AI comes from everywhere: website traffic, marketing analytics, hotel bookings, show ticket purchases and loyalty programmes, just to name a few. Because Adobe Experience Platform is backed by Adobe Sensei, its AI capabilities are already integrated and ready to use Caesars’ robust dataset.

This has made a profound difference in Caesars’ ability to provide tailored content at every touchpoint. Personalisation at scale is an operational challenge even when customer segments aren’t diverse. If Caesars was going to succeed in their marketing, a one-size-sits-all message wasn't an option.  With the AI in Adobe Experience Platform, Caesars knows automatically which customer segments they are communicating with. Whether it’s for a hen party or high-roller, Caesars can make unique landing pages, email marketing, digital ads and more in a fraction of the time.

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As De Korte says, “The promise of artificial intelligence and machine learning allows us to move from binary personalisation into more real time dynamic personalisation and merchandising of our offering.”

In a multifaceted business such as Caesars, treating every line of business with equal care is critical to the holistic customer experience. Personalised marketing lifts some of the burden of planning off the customer, especially in holiday destinations like Las Vegas where there are limitless options for lodging, food and entertainment. Marketers like De Korte can seize the opportunity to cut through the clutter with personalised offers. As De Korte says, “We're able to take data from the platform and expand our efforts beyond the room to include the other lines of business including show tickets, entertainment and dining. The goal is to enhance the experience, not to interrupt it.”

 

A white-glove experience, rain or shine


Caesars wants their guests to feel like royalty. With Adobe Experience Platform, their vision has taken on a viable reality. Every customer’s journey to a Caesars property is as unique as they are—and the impact on the business is clear. 

This became especially true in March 2020 when the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic started affecting businesses. The travel and hospitality sectors were hit harder than most due to new social distancing protocols and shelter-in-place measures across the U.S. With mandatory closures and a wary customer base, Caesars faced not only a loss of business, but a loss of connection with their audience. Travel and tourism across the globe had gone through a major shift. And the strategies and tactics that worked before were no longer viable. But with Experience Platform already up and running, Caesars found themselves in the best-possible situation to adapt to the changing circumstances. 

“There was not a better time for us to be this far along with Adobe Experience Platform,” said De Korte. “When we began this journey with Adobe, we were thinking about cross-sell and up-sell motions. COVID-19 completely changed all that. As we reopen, the health of our customers is the first priority and we’re focusing our company resources on getting the safety measures in place. We need to understand where comfort levels are in coming back and use that to inform how we engage. This is where the Adobe platform helps us now.”

With over 80 years of creating unforgettable experiences for their customers, Caesars has proven that they know how to evolve with the times. With help from Adobe Experience Platform, they are getting to know and serve their customers in an entirely new way. And the results are clear — Caesars has seen 3x growth in engagement with email campaigns created using Experience Platform. While every business is learning to adapt to the new normal, Caesars is already far ahead of the game. And not even a pandemic can stop them from providing white-glove experiences to their global customers. 

As De Korte says, “Now, more than ever, we need to have the most empathy for our customers and understand what is motivating them. We know that while there is some pent-up demand for travel, many will continue staying indoors. The data will help us to grasp these nuances. And when those people are eventually ready to return, we will be here and ready to give them a great guest experience.”


Let's talk about what Adobe Experience Cloud can do for your business.