19 April 2005

The Value of Data - Part I

There are occassions, after we have completed a brand audit, that the client looks up from the report and says, "but we already knew this." We then go into a lengthy explanation centred around the knowing-doing-gap.
Data is critical. But how you use it is even more critical. Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, knew that the demographic breakdown of its visitors was changing. But it didn't know to what extent. So the LVCVA commissioned a study. The results confirmed what they already knew. Demographic trends pointed to a younger, and more importantly, more wealthy and educated visitor. The traditional image of senior citizens wandering around playing one armed bandits with a tub of coins was misleading. The study showed a 400 basis point increase in the percentage of visitors with an annual income of over US$40,000. More telling, the fastest growing segment was in the 21-39 age group.
The study also showed that the average visitor was spending US$544.93 on gambling, an increase of 11% over the previous year. More interestingly, the amount spent on shopping went up 27.9%. Even the amount spent on shows went up 11.7%, important statistics when planning future developments based on proposals that look to draw more than gamblers.
The study also reported on the ethnic breakdown of visitors. This showed a significant increase in Asian visitors to that of the same level as Hispanic visitors.
Further data included reports on users of the monorail, (up to 8% from 4%), fewer people walking (40% compared to 56% in 2003. Interestingly from a branding point of view, 97% said they decided where they were going to stay BEFORE they left home. Moreover, 39% used the internet to plan their trip, up from 32% in 2003.
The information gleaned from the report, helped shape the designs of the next generation of casino developments that include mixed-use developments with lifestyle branding but no Egyptian or other type themes. LVCVA had a rough idea what to expect from the report. What it gave them was the data required to make decisions to influence the future developments in the city. In other words, LVCVA looked to the customer to see what they were doing and then built their brand around the requirements of their customers.
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