Mohegan Sun began its website redesign in the summer of 2012, but the chips weren’t exactly stacked in the casino and entertainment company’s favor. It was developing a new rewards program, called Momentum, at the same time. The two projects needed to launch simultaneously, says Mohegan Sun Internet Marketing Manager Ryan Lee, so the updated websites—one for each of its two properties—would reflect the loyalty program’s new features and to prevent having to roll out another major project on the heels of the relaunch.
Mohegan Sun also wanted to create more synergy between its Connecticut and Pennsylvania properties’ websites through elements such as branding and color schemes. Additionally, the sites’ design needed to better reflect the grandeur of the physical properties, Lee says.
Most important, Mohegan Sun wanted to create a seamless experience for users. Not only did the company have a separate website for each of its two properties, but each property also had separate sites for the general public and for members of its Player’s Club, Mohegan Sun’s previous loyalty program. Although the content for Mohegan Sun’s Connecticut location was managed through a home-grown content management system, the content for its Pennsylvania site didn’t have one at all; in other words, there was no central CMS.
“It was a bit of a mess,” Lee admits. “The goal was really to get this under one roof.”
Finding the right players
So, Mohegan Sun set out to streamline its online content and user experience. It used tools from interactive marketing agency SapientNitro for the website designs and templates, and used Adobe CQ 5.5—now Adobe Experience Manager—for content management.
Choosing the right partners can be a high-stakes decision for any brand. In many cases brands need or expect their marketing partners to have a deep understanding of their industry or business. In Mohegan Sun’s case, however, the fact that many members of the SapientNitro team had never visited its properties was a benefit, Lee says. Before work on the website relaunch started, the casino company’s marketers were able to immerse the SapientNitro team in the guest experience by having them visit the property without them having any preconceived notions.
“They need to understand what the guest experience is when they interact with the brand,” Lee says.
Avoiding a crapshoot
After selecting its partners, the Mohegan Sun marketing team spent more than a year determining business and technical requirements, including timelines, content types and guidelines, and log-in capabilities. The casino company also built its own in-house hotel booking system as part of the redesign.
Many of the websites’ changes revolved around content; specifically improving the user experience for accessing it. For example, all of Mohegan Sun’s event information—including comedy and musical performance dates—is now displayed in an entertainment calendar, which the previous sites didn’t have, Lee says. The event listings now contain metadata, also a new backend feature. The calendar allows the brand to cross-promote related events, such as musical groups of similar genres.
Mohegan Sun also streamlined the customer log-in process for Momentum members. Instead of having to log in to a separate site for members, those in the rewards program can now simply log in to the new site to view such information as their points total, whether they’ve qualified for a free stay, and events occurring during their stay.
“[The new site is] a much smarter environment from a guest perspective,” Lee says.
Mohegan Sun’s Pennsylvania and Connecticut overhauled websites went live in July and October 2013, respectively. Since launching its new websites, Mohegan Sun has experienced “aggressive growth” in transient online hotel reservations, as well as increased revenue from suite upgrades because it’s now easier to upgrade rooms online, Lee says. Furthermore, the additional online suite exposure has assisted in the growth of sales for Mohegan Sun’s butler-service suites, he adds, and the new ability to purchase room service add-ons during the online reservation and checkout processes has generated “substantial increases” for the venue’s food and beverage department. Plus, Lee says, Mohegan Sun has experienced increases in online event reservations and a higher level of guest satisfaction in terms of accessing Momentum account information. However, he acknowledges that the sites still aren’t perfect and says Mohegan Sun continues to make updates based in part on guest feedback received through surveys and online contact forms.
Finding its way across channels
Mohegan Sun determined that to create a truly seamless experience for its guests it would have to go beyond the online experience and extend into the physical space. So the casino company installed interactive directories, called Wayfinders, throughout its properties a few months after the new websites launched.
The Wayfinders connect to the properties’ websites, and all of their content is fed through Adobe CQ. The casino company created some additional contextual content based on the Wayfinders’ locations; for example, guests can look up a particular restaurant, check their proximity to it, and then view a walking path to the destination.
“It’s trying to close the loop for people and make their lives easier,” Lee says.
Optimizing its customer experience across channels wasn’t easy; throughout this project, Mohegan Sun faced its share of challenges. For instance, having the Wayfinders pull content from the websites makes SEO difficult, Lee notes. Adding extra keywords may work in content on the website, but can create an awkward and crowded experience on the Wayfinders. Furthermore, Mohegan Sun’s mobile site isn’t quite mobile friendly and doesn’t currently pull content from Adobe CQ, Lee says. So, the casino company plans to place its next bet on mobile.