AUSTIN, TX: MGM Resorts International, the hotels and gaming group, believes that "theming" the customer experience plays a key role in ensuring consumers remain excited and engaged when visiting Las Vegas.

Thomas Fanger, VP Multimedia at MGM Resorts, discussed this subject at MediaPost's OMMA @ SXSW event held during the 2017 South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference.

"We're more than just in the entertainment business. We're in the 'holy-shit' business … We want you to leave Vegas saying, 'Holy shit,'" he said. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: How MGM Resorts delivers "holy-shit" experiences.)

Drilling down into this notion, he suggested the base currency for the MGM brand is that guests at its properties have their needs truly met.

"It's all about the guest experience. If we can serve them the experience they're looking for, we can get them to engage – and, hopefully, spend a couple of bucks," Fanger said.

That process is assisted by developing "guest personas" – a form of segmentation helping each consumer feel like he or she is receiving the star treatment. "Everybody wants to be a VIP in Vegas," Fanger explained.

As an example of how this strategy plays out in practice, he discussed one way the firm turns its personas into meaningful messaging at its properties.

"Everybody comes to Vegas for something different. You're there to gamble; you're there to go to the spa; you're there to shop; you're there to get dinner; see a show; get a drink," Fanger said.

"We want to 'theme' the experience to what they're there for. From their mobile experience on the website to the television experience in the guest room, that can easily be 'themed' for what you're there for. When I say 'themed', I mean served up the right targeted advertising for why you're there."

As the sources of customer insight on offer – a list that could soon span everything from mobile apps to voice-activated technology installed in rooms – continues growing, the opportunities for true personalization are growing all the time.

MGM, Fanger reported, is working hard to find the significant signals contained within the "ton of data" at its disposal. "We are slowly, but surely, figuring it out," Fanger said. "But things change all the time," he added.

Data sourced from WARC