Harrah's Dive into pool party scene makes a major splash

While Harrah's already has great brand recognition, the team needed journalists, bloggers, and consumer influencers to help draw younger crowds to the parties.

Harrah's Rincon Casino & Resort (Valley Center, CA)

I.d.e.a. (San Diego, CA)

Dive Dayclub launch

April-September 2013


Harrah's Rincon Casino & Resort hired I.d.e.a. in March 2013 when it began a $160 million renovation and expansion. The team seized the opportunity to raise the brand's profile among young adults by launching Dive Dayclub in July in tandem with the debut of the property's newly renovated pool.

"Our core gaming demographic skews to the 45- to 70-year-old range and we wanted to become more relevant to a younger demographic and complement our existing fan base," explains VP of operations and marketing Darrell Pilant.

"In Las Vegas, dayclub and nightclub revenue is almost on par with gaming revenue. The Hard Rock Hotel San Diego runs a dayclub called Intervention on Sundays, so we programmed our own dayclub on Saturday."

Adult Swim Saturdays featured popular electronic dance music DJs and ran from July 13 through September.

While Harrah's already has great brand recognition, the team needed journalists, bloggers, and consumer influencers to help draw younger crowds to the parties. Building an online community that would actively engage with Dive and share information was key.

"To become relevant to a broader audience, we needed influencers to have a great experience as soon as we launched and share that with their networks," says agency VP and director of reputation Carrie Jones.

Dive-branded Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages launched in June.

Local and regional news, lifestyle publications, and blogs were targeted. Hospitality industry trade outlets were also pitched. Media and bloggers attended a June 26 preview event. Invitations included a custom playlist and branded glass speakers that undulated water and colored lights to musical beats.

Core-gaming customers were treated to a private event for the pool's official opening on July 6. Local media and bloggers were also invited to enjoy a VIP press lounge and were hosted at other times throughout the season.

An event was held on August 25 for 120 Yelp Elite members, who enjoyed their own VIP area and sampled food and drinks from a new restaurant on the property. Forty-five participants posted five-star reviews on Yelp.

The team posted about 500 photos and at least one video on Dive's social pages every week. Attendees were encouraged to share photos using the hashtags #DiveDayclub and #DiveSoCal.

Facebook promotions included a Win a VIP Cabana sweepstakes - promoted in conjunction with DiscoverSD.com - and fan appreciation giveaways. A September contest kept excitement high as the season wound down by offering the chance to win free tickets, car transportation, and a meet and greet with DJ and Jersey Shore personality Pauly D (inset).

Pilant says Saturday nights drew more than 1,550 attendees, and as many as 2,700 on some nights, beating crowds at Intervention, which has a max capacity of 1,500.

"We weren't sure what to expect," Pilant adds. "Toward the end of the season we averaged about 2,200. We far exceeded our ticket, food, and beverage revenue expectations."

More than 55 stories appeared in outlets such as Forbes Travel Guide and San Diego Magazine.

Dive pulled in a combined audience of more than 13,000 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in just three months, compared to Intervention, which has drawn fewer than 10,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter in two years.

Dive will be back next year and the team is focused on the next stages of the renovation and a rebranding of the resort.

PRWeek's View
The launch of the newly renovated pool was clearly a perfect time for Harrah's to enter the dayclub market, and this team did an outstanding job of drawing and engaging a large, young adult crowd. It was smart to give media and bloggers a private preview and continue to host them throughout the season. It was also wise to give core gaming customers and Yelp Elite members private experiences. Media and blogger engagement helped draw consumers, and well-sustained, relevant social media activity certainly helped drive momentum.

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