LAS VEGAS (AP) — Baby boomers are suckers for appeals to their narcissism. Generation Xers can't stand their parents. And millennials want to feel like do-gooders.
These aren't tired stereotypes. They're lessons marketing consultants say the Nevada tourism industry needs to start using if it wants to pull new customers into casinos.
Marketing consultant Chuck Underwood urged a room of executives and officials to think more critically about their patrons during the annual Nevada Governor's Conference on Tourism on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Visitor volume in Sin City has only recently bounced back after cratering during the recession.
Gambling revenue has been slower to rebound, and the tourists that do come to town are still spending less. A record number of visitors came to Las Vegas in 2012, but each one spent an average of just $1,021 per visit. In 2007, visitors spent an average of $1,318.
The tourism conference, held at Red Rock Casino, focused on finding creative ways to lure new patrons.
Underwood, who heads a consulting firm specializing in generational branding, suggested that the gambling industry might be in for a rough several years.
Gen Xers are just never going to be as into casinos as their parents, he said, and millennials are going to be broke for a long time to come.
He had better news about patrons in their 60s and 70s, many of whom could be seen plugging slot machines on the gaming floor outside the conference room.
"With their zest for squeezing life of all of its satisfactions, baby boomers represent a golden opportunity for Nevada tourism," Underwood said.
He later cautioned against using a series of baby boomer trigger words, including "aging," ''mature" and "golden years," as men and women in suits scribbled on notepads.
Casino bosses are devoting increasing resources to luring younger customers.
MGM Resorts International, which owns about a third of the major Strip casinos, is spending $100 million to build a park outside of its New York-New York and Monte Carlo hotel-casinos.
Caesars, which owns another third of Strip properties, is planning its own outdoor shopping and dining "district." That project, Linq, is anchored by a 550-foot-tall observation wheel slated to open in 2014.
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