Focus on QCI: Guests can choose how they use their points with QCI Player

February 23, 2024 8:00 AM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • John G. Brokopp, CDC Gaming Reports
February 23, 2024 8:00 AM
  • John G. Brokopp, CDC Gaming Reports

When Fred A. Buro, CEO and CMO of Pala Casino Spa & Golf Resort, reached out to Quick Custom Intelligence (QCI) to create a new customer facing digital experience for the property, QCI delivered by not only reimagining the manner in which guests are rewarded—they reinvented it.

The revolutionary product is QCI Player, unprecedented technology which empowers guests with the freedom of choice that is extended to loyalty program members of private sector businesses, such as credit card companies, but never before experienced in the gaming industry.

Andrew Cardno, Co-Founder and CTO of QCI, revealed that QCI Player was given life in response to explaining why casinos extend free (added) play offers to guests when they have points. Why are they not extending point offers?

“It is the question Fred Buro asked when he came to us over a year ago,” Cardno said. “He said that he had a vision of what a digital experience should look like. I could see that he had something really different in mind. We invested in the depth of our technology stack to meet his needs and built something that is really new to the industry.”

Cardno characterizes QCI Player as being the Southwest Airlines points model of the casino industry by making points something people really want to value and interact with. Instead of free play, he explained, it is a new way of engaging with customers.

“Guests can buy free play with their points, something our technology makes very easy for them to do,” he continued. “Or they can say they would rather use their points for a restaurant reservation, a hotel room, or other amenity. The points have value, and if you think about it, that is how all other loyalty programs are structured.”

Cardno reasons that if casinos have free play and they also have points, why not have one thing? It is all about the points incentive.

“Think about the casino industry over the past two decades,” he continued. “Properties have evolved from casinos to full-fledged resorts including beautiful hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, spas, golf courses, and much more. Yet, casinos still offer guests free play.

“What if the guest says that they don’t want free play, that they would rather go to the spa? The response up to now has been a separate comp. What they are doing is making a decision for the guest about what they want to do in their resort. With QCI Player, we can say ‘Here are your points. Do what you like.’ Points are now the currency that guests spend in a resort.”

Cardno wonders how the industry missed this one. He explained that QCI built a digital experience through integration and complicated data investment to do something very clever with points and to make them work for guests in a different way, while at the same ensuring it is secure and capable of even greater value with sophisticated add-ons.

“It took the vision of Fred Buro to do this,” he continued. “He wanted to do it. He’s ‘the guy.’ This amounts to a total collaboration with the tribal nation. They needed the innovation, they wanted somebody to build it, they came to us, and we delivered the capability. They are the innovator here. We are just the technology partner.”

Pala Casino Spa & Resort, located in the Palomar Mountains in Northern San Diego County, California, has deployed QCI Player as Pala PURL, enabling guests to access their player accounts via their mobile devices to instantly redeem their points for free play, concert tickets, hotel rooms, restaurants, and much more.

In emphasizing QCI Player’s power to offer free play in a completely new way, Cardno acknowledged that free play is “the single biggest thing we do in the industry in marketing.”

“No free play offers?” he asked rhetorically. “That’s a bold statement. But it never would have happened without Pala. I could have never done this. It took a tribal nation, Pala, to make this really innovative concept a reality.”

Cardno summed up QCI Player technology and its value to casino marketing with this analogy: “Instead of sending out a free play offer of fifty dollars, an offer of 5,000 points is extended to be used by a certain date. You have never seen that before, right? A point offer that expires but is redeemable for any resort amenity.”

“It is about the resort, not just the casino,” he added. “The industry is not just casinos anymore. Why are we deciding how a guest should spend their promotional dollars? This is the age of choice. Why are we telling guests how to spend their money?”

“We are doing the deployment at four other properties,” Cardno concluded. “Adoption has been very good. We are very excited about our partnership with Pala, plus we will be live with QCI Player for debut at the upcoming Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention (April 8 -11) in Anaheim.”