But before that first roll of the dice, the savvy Sin City traveler should be aware of another set of relevant numbers: 38.9 million, 18,000 and 133 million. Those figures represent the number of people who visit Las Vegas each year, the annual number of Las Vegas meetings and conventions, and the total number of memberships that loyalty marketing researcher COLLOQUY says Americans hold in gaming industry rewards programs.

Flashing lights

“Since the Great Recession of 2009, ultra-competi­tive casino and resort operators are practically elbowing each other out of the way to make each visitor feel like Las Vegas royalty.”

All this math could make the individual tourist feel like, well, a number. But that’s about as wrong as asking a blackjack dealer for a hit on 17. Especially since the Great Recession of 2009, ultra-competitive casino and resort operators are practically elbowing each other out of the way to make each visitor feel like Las Vegas royalty.

Resort casinos, in fact, are doubling down on the loyalty programs from which they derive data to enhance relationships with their best customers and identify the services and offerings that make a difference to each individual.

Rewards: Goals and trends

The goal is to create a memorable, positive experience that provides incentive for the customer to return more often and spend more freely. Two key trends are the expansion of rewards beyond the gaming tables and “portability,” an industry term that means guests can earn and redeem points across a resort’s brands, venues and properties in Las Vegas or elsewhere around the country.

Las Vegas resort operators are rapidly extending the opportunity to earn points for spending on rooms, restaurants, shows and retail purchases. Programs that limit earning and redemption to gambling are going the way of the Desert Inn, Dunes and Stardust—Las Vegas landmarks that have been demolished. A new Vegas is upon us.