In principle I like the idea of a customer loyalty program. In practice they could be better.  The Total Rewards has been irritating me this week.

I first got my Total Reward card on a trip to Harrah’s Tunica. A few months later they sent me and my wife a couple nights free.  Harrah’s got our business a second time and also encouraged us to make the 4.5 hour drive because of the free room.

Later that year, we went to Harrah’s New Orleans (loyalty card is working!).  Now this is a long trip for us. Again we got comps, this time for free meals and slot play every month. I guess if you live in New Orleans, this would be a good deal since you can go to the casino whenever you want. In our case, a free meal was certainly not motivation to fly back.

So a couple of weeks ago, we were in Tunica again. My wife and I were sitting on a total of 8 comps from Harrah’s all valid for the Casino in another state and no comps for the casinos in Tunica.  My wife and I lost out on some good deals and so did Harrah’s Tunica as we ended up at other casinos and buffets in Tunica.

Now I am guessing each Harrah’s casino can use its own discretion on how to reward its customers and part of that makes sense.  On the other hand, Harrah’s can look at our cards and glean all kinds of information that would make us all (casino and customer) happier.  Here are some things I’d like to see:

  1. Look at where the customer is located. Favor hotel rooms comps for those that live far away or stay at your hotel.  Favor monthly comps for those that regularly visit the casino or live nearby.
  2. Pay attention to those that frequent one Casino verses those that like to travel. It’s darn frustrating to have comps for the wrong casino. It is like having a coupon for a free Big Mac that your McDonalds tells you they won’t take.
  3. Keep an eye on couples and groups that gamble together.  In our case, we don’t need two hotel rooms. We’d rather have one room and $10 in free slot play (and it would save you money too).
  4. Start collecting feedback from your customers.  How about a “don’t like this comp? Tell us why.” link on the total rewards page?

In my next post, I’ll talk about how they can improve their iPhone app. That is what started this post.