In sports terms, Hard Rock is becoming "a complete player" in product marketing and not just one focused on attracting casino bettors.
"What we have with Backstage Pass is a complete rewards program that thanks all our guests for their patronage," Brian Bork, HR’s chief marketing officer, said from his New York office last week. "We recognize that much of the business is beyond gaming."
That’s not to say Hard Rock isn’t welcoming sports bettors, slots players, and table games enthusiasts. No, what’s apparent is the shift in Las Vegas from a casino empire to a global tourist attraction.
"There is so much more to Las Vegas than just gaming," Bork said. "Concerts, restaurants, our pools and cabanas, the nightlife are attractions we feel the customer should be rewarded for. A lot of people come to Vegas who don’t gamble. We want to create an atmosphere that is comfortable for everyone."
While gaming is what made Las Vegas, the earth is shifting. Getting rewarded for a Guns n’ Roses concert at the Joint or checking out the cabana scene by the pool is becoming as exhilarating as hitting a four-team round robin.
"Our levels in the Backstage Pass program are very attainable," Bork said. "And the rewards are incredible. Free concerts, VIP treatment, the finest in accommodations. That’s what we want people to know is available in means other than betting."
Of course, there still are bettors – the main demographic is age 25-40 at the Hard Rock – according to Bork’s stats. So the Backstage Pass plan was re-drawn from what had gone by the same name years ago at Hard Rock.
"Frequency is in your favor," Bork said. "If you are, say, from Chicago or Philadelphia coming out here, you can achieve platinum status perhaps in one trip."
Platinum is the third and final stage in the three-tier setup toward nirvana, which would be basically becoming an A-list guest without the celebrity name.
First stage: Customer level. It’s the starting point. Customers start at 0 and sign up to become eligible in attaining what is called tier credits.
"For every dollar you spend nongaming you get 10 tier credit points," Bork explained. "Slot players get 1 tier credit for every $1 in slots and 1 tier credit for every $2 in video poker. Your table games credits are rated by the amount you bet and length of time."
Second stage: Entourage level. Achieve 25,000 tier credits and you are there.
"At this point, you receive two free tickets for any show you want, priority access to the venue, two free bottles in drinks that go from $300 and up, prime placement in restaurants, our spa, salons and the pool," Bork said.
Third stage: Platinum level. You reach this point at 150,000 tier credits, but there are goodies along the way. An additional two free tickets for every 25,000 tier credits until reaching the top.
"At Platinum level you get 10 pairs of tickets (20 total), four free bottles, invites to all casino related events, golf tourney, blackjack and concerts," Bork said. "You become an A-lister."
That means you’re hanging with Ashton Kutcher, J-Lo, Nikki Minaj and Pit Bull. Perhaps even A-Rod or Sir Charles will be at bar.
"We’re getting a lot more customers since the new plan began March 21," Bork said. "Non-gaming attractions is something we felt was necessary to take a leadership role in. The Joint is what everyone knows Hard Rock for, but through Backstage Pass we are showing there is so much more to the experience here."
Other Backstage Pass perks:
• Preferred guest room rates (all members)
• Access to ticket presales for concerts and fights at The Joint (all members)
• Priority reservations for unique spa treatments at Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa (Entourage and Platinum Access level members)
• Complimentary access and priority entry to famed Rehab Pool Party/Beachlife Experience (Entourage and Platinum Access level members)
• Complimentary bottle service and priority entry to the Exclusive Vanity Nightclub (Entourage and Platinum Access level members)
• Two (2) complimentary concert tickets every 25,000 points earned (Entourage and Platinum Access level members)
• Personal Host services (Platinum Access level members)
The Miami Herald building, although still standing, no longer houses the newspaper operation. As of last week, the Miami Herald building is now owned by Malaysia-based Genting Group, the company that paid $236 million for the right to tear it down.
After paying an $11 million advance to a struggling Atlantic City casino it intended to buy, the parent company of the world’s largest online poker website was left with nothing for its troubles Friday when a judge ruled the casino had the right to scrap the deal.
New Jersey moved forward Friday with its plans to offer Internet gambling, issuing regulations on how the new online bets are to be handled. The state still has not set a date when Atlantic City’s 12 casinos may begin offering Internet bets.
Nevada regulators have approved Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.’s buyout of rival Ameristar Casinos Inc. The $869 million deal will more than double Pinnacle’s size.
Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort Casino faces daunting hurdles as it joins a crowded race for the lucrative destination resort business in Massachusetts. The operators of the biggest casino in North America are proposing a $1 billion, 300,000-square foot resort.
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