Today Thunder Valley Casino and Resort, located just 30 miles east of Sacramento, CA, is a full-fledged AAA Four Diamond resort destination lauded for its accommodations, entertainment and large selection of slots and table games. In addition to offering over 250,000 square feet of gaming space, the resort is home to a luxury 300-room hotel, world class spa, 14 restaurants and bars and three award-winning entertainment venues – including a 5,000 seat Outdoor Amphitheater.
The United Auburn Indian Community-owned casino resort has evolved and grown since its opening in 2003. When RPM was selected as its agency partner in 2013, the property was facing increased competition with the opening of a new casino resort in the Northern CA gaming market.
With RPM on board, the team had set goals to protect Thunder Valley’s market share, which included repositioning the property, revising the media mix to reach its target audience, and breathing new life into the Thunder Rewards loyalty program with new creative and branding. The results of those efforts are paying dividends, with the casino resort thriving even in the face of new competition:
Double digit growth for new loyalty card sign-ups
Expanded audience growth, including millennials, which is outpacing all other generational segments
Increase in non-gaming transactions, including significant gains in retail outlets
Development of sub-brand-within-a-brand campaigns (The Poker Room at Thunder Valley, High Steaks Steakhouse, the only AAA Four Diamond steakhouse in the area, Illusions, the area’s only ultra-lounge
As Thunder Valley sought to once again up its game, the resort casino’s website was a prime opportunity to connect with its audience, drive loyalty, and spur growth for its diverse offerings. Once again, Thunder Valley looked to RPM.
The engagement started by understanding and analyzing Thunder Valley’s audience and how they would engage with the site and ensuring a user-centered design that would minimize steps to complete transactions, such as hotel bookings and ticket purchases. Ease of use was paramount and the RPM team set about determining sequences of interaction and ways to streamline and simplify the user experience, such as the ability to discover key promotions, events and experiences.
With an objective to digitally recreate Thunder Valley’s brand experience, the website redesign utilizes all the striking elements and luxurious touches that perfectly illustrate what it means to “Live Out Loud.” Stronger calls to action and visual cues direct users deeper into site, and responsive design ensures a consistent, easy experience regardless of device.
The site architecture and links make pages easy to find and navigate, while search engine optimization (SEO) ensures that search engines can crawl the site more easily and find pages, which improves organic rankings.
“The new website has exceeded our expectations,” says Kathy Hickman, Vice President of Marketing. “In the next two to four years the Northern CA gaming market will become even more competitive and Thunder Valley will have a lot at stake. RPM has played, and will continue to play, a critical role in developing Thunder Valley’s plans to ensure our leadership position.”