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SAS® Analytics helps Foxwoods Resort Casino gain fuller picture of customer relationships

August 7, 2012 No Comments

Source: SAS

Foxwoods Resort Casino, North America’s largest resort casino, offers both a vast array of gaming options and endless possibilities as the ultimate resort destination. In addition to slots and table games, the resort provides unrivaled amenities for guests of all ages.  Foxwoods is recognized the world-over for its five-star hotels, world-class restaurants, renowned spas, awarding-winning golf, and exclusive retailers.
But off the casino floor, in the resort’s back offices, the company has built a sophisticated analytics infrastructure that leaves little to chance. Using SAS® Analytics and data warehousing technology from IBM Netezza, Foxwoods now has a far richer understanding of its customers’ preferences and greater insight into its operations – all at a far lower cost and greater speed.

How is the slot floor doing every day? How is the gaming floor performing? How are the nonsmoking tables compared to the smoking tables? The answers – which previously could take numerous weeks and many dollars to find out – are now coming in minutes and at a far lower cost.

Getting a clearer data-based picture
“When we first opened our doors, the challenge was to grow as quickly as possible,” said Michael Kutia, Director of Hospitality Systems. “Now, as the market has matured, new competitors have emerged and the economy has stalled, we need to be more competitive than ever – and that means knowing as much as possible about our customers. At first, we focused on analyzing our gaming data, but over time, executives from other areas have become justifiably vocal about seeing data from their perspectives. Our hotel people want the same kind of insights. Or our show people might want to know if country and western acts bring in more revenue than hard rock acts.”

Aiming to provide cross-business insights, Foxwoods created a data warehouse that is populated by numerous vertical automation systems from across the enterprise: hotel management, gaming, restaurants, entertainment and more. Using Netezza as the warehousing hardware, Foxwoods was able to load much more data from multiple systems – all at top speed. “We were shocked at how fast the SAS and Netezza combination was,” Kutia said. “Now we can integrate data from our various back-end systems that we could never do before. For instance, we can load our retail data and employee scheduling data to create reports about sales compared to staffing, which lets us maximize our staffing and optimize our customer service.”

“Of course, we’re not just a casino – we’re a gaming resort destination with many entertainment options,” said Roger Allen, Director of Database Marketing. “By knowing our guests’ preferences, we can better target our promotional offers based on their histories and preferred amenities. That helps us create tailored offers that earn customer loyalty. For example, if we know you like golf or country and western music, we can create offers that will have higher success rates. Running SAS against Netezza has proved to be a great success for us.”

‘With SAS®, it’s so much faster’
The company’s slot report provides crucial analysis, showing the performance of each machine – coin-in, coin-out. “Slots are huge component of our business,” said Kutia. “So we scrutinize this data very carefully. Are they in the right location? Is the machine attracting the right customers? Is one area performing better than another – if so, why?

“With SAS, it’s so much faster. I’ll never forget first day we ran the SAS slots report for our users. They saw the speed and their jaws just dropped. We were running the reports in minutes and enabling them to move that data into their spreadsheets for more analysis. The upshot is that we’re able to make much faster decisions based on fresh data. Our finance and marketing teams are more productive and IT is more productive.”

SAS is saving the organization more than time – it’s cutting costs as well. “We no longer have to pay vendors for an endless stream of reports,” Kutia explained. “That alone is saving us more than $100,000. And previously, a vendor might take months to develop a new report – now we get the answer in minutes.”

Not surprisingly, as the data warehouse delivers more data and more answers, the number of questions has increased exponentially as well. In two years, the number of staff using the system has risen more than fourfold, from 12 to 50. “Clearly, everyone in our organization has a great deal of confidence in the analytics we’re providing them,” said Kutia. “The more they see, the more questions they want to ask. Our goal is to be a leader through technology. Moving forward, SAS will be a critical part of that strategy.”


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