Harrah's New Orleans appoints LGBT, Ethnic Marketing Director
Out & About
is reporting that hotel and casino Harrah’s New Orleans has appointed Richard Brower as director of LGBT and ethnic marketing.
Most recently, Brower worked for the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association as strategic development and marketing director.
Harrah’s New Orleans
, a Caesars Entertainment Corporation property, is a hotel/casino in New Orleans with about 450 rooms and suites, about 2,100 slot machines and more than 100 gaming tables.
Speaking with DailyVista, Brower discussed his plans for developing authentic marketing campaigns that will resonate with LGBT and minority communities.
DailyVista: What are some of the most exciting aspects about your new role at Harrah’s New Orleans?
Richard Brower: There are a lot of exciting aspects right now from both a business perspective and from a marketing standpoint. I’m excited because we’re reaching out to new customer bases and talking to different communities about what they’re doing and their needs in the gaming industry. We want to create a product that reaches new and different people. It goes beyond that, too, as far as community outreach and HR issues go. Now, at the company, we have somebody focused on these different markets. It gives us more validity and visibility in these different markets, and opens up tons of opportunities.
DailyVista: When did you begin in your new role? Have you had time to establish any short- and long-term goals yet?
Richard Brower: My start date was towards the end of February so it has been about a month to maybe six weeks now. Basically, the property does little outreach to African Americans, Asians and the Hispanic/Latino market, but we’ve been dedicating more towards the LGBT community. My immediate focus is on the LGBT market, figuring out what we can do as an organization to help elevate our position with those consumers and then ramping up into those things.
With the African American community, we want to figure out what events to sponsor and how to get more involved with the community and what products work best for them. We want to take a multifaceted approach for each segment. It really involves working with the local communities and positioning Harrah’s New Orleans in the city and at the national level to all kinds of consumers, gaming professionals and travel professionals. We want to show everybody what we have to offer.
DailyVista: Are there other marketing channels that you will be focusing on?
Richard Brower: I’m definitely focusing a lot on social media. It makes sense because that is where a lot of these people are and it is such an effective marketing tool. You can really cater your message to the people that it is designed for.
As we enter these new markets, social media is super beneficial. It creates a dialogue with the consumer and puts the message right in front of them. They can also give us feedback about why they come to Harrah’s or not, and what amenities they would like to see. It really opens things up for learning and discovering what consumers and potential customers want to see. I really want to focus on social media, and then there are the more traditional outlets in these different communities like sponsorships and print advertising that will help position us as well.
DailyVista: How important are sponsorships at the local, regional and even national level for expanding awareness among LGBT and minority audiences?
Sponsorships are going to be very important. The LGBT community has a lot of struggles, whether it’s politically or culturally. They understand the importance of businesses and people who are fighting on their side, whether it’s for social acceptance or whatever reason it may be. We plan to partner with different LGBT organizations, and our parent company, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, in Las Vegas is already doing a lot in terms of sponsorships from a corporate standpoint. They work closely with Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund
, for example.
On the ethnic side of things, we’re doing a lot of community outreach, including having somebody on staff that just handles this area. We just held the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) “Ball in the City” here at our theatre and casino. Getting with different communities in these ways are super important to our business. We’re not the type of company that places an ad in a gay publication because we want to show you that we want your money.
We have a diverse workforce here at Harrah’s New Orleans. As we enter new markets, we’ll learn about new ways to reach out through the people working here on staff and talking through social media. It’s going to be really great figuring out how to reach different communities in these authentic type of ways.
DailyVista: Are your efforts pretty localized or will you be reaching out nationally, too?
Richard Brower: We have many target markets that we work on. New Orleans is one of those cities that is a very distinct destination for travelers from all over the world. Our audience is split almost 50/50 to local people and people from other regions and markets. In the first year, it’s going to be more strategic. We’ll be focusing on markets like Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami, to see if we can get people from those places.
We want to see what works and what doesn’t, and then we may venture into other areas. We have Caesars Entertainment working with us, too, which gives us a lot of opportunities to team up with other properties like Tahoe to reach people out west, and with the Atlantic City properties to reach people in the Northeast.
DailyVista: Does Harrah’s New Orleans work with any multicultural and/or LGBT focused agencies, or will you be developing all of these initiatives in-house?
It’s a little bit of both. We do a lot of that stuff in-house. I came here from the Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, so I have a lot of knowledge to help guide strategy. From a corporate strategy, we’ll go through them (Caesars Entertainment) and work with different agencies. For instance, we work with Rivendell Media (Mountainside, N.J.), which helps with LGBT outreach. So, we do a little bit of both – we work with different agencies and we do some in-house.
DailyVista: Is Harrah’s New Orleans open to strategic partnerships that can help reach the LGBT community, and other customer segments, as well?
Richard Brower: We’re definitely interested in that. We’re a very big player in the New Orleans community. Since we have a hotel attached to the casino, we work with other hotels to help book rooms. We know what is happening, and we work closely with other restaurants and bars, even though we have our own, and other brands to bring the community together. We’re definitely open. We have the mentality of working with people versus being very separated.
Harrah’s New Orleans works with New Orleans-based The Ehrhardt Group
for its public relations, according to the casino.
According to The List database, Caesars Entertainment Corporation contracts many firms in addition to Zenith Media, such as Chicago-based BBDO West
The Nielsen Company reported that Caesars Entertainment Corporation allocated $45 million towards national advertising in 2009. About $17.8 million went towards outdoor ads, about $8.1 million went towards cable television ads and about $5 million went towards Internet ads.
Harrah's New Orleans
228 Poydras Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Director, LGBT & Ethnic Marketing
Vice President, Marketing