A massive number of paper payslips were being generated for 8000 Echo Entertainment Group employees until the NSW and Brisbane casino operator rolled out a mobile app in January 2014.

The Group owns The Star casino in Sydney, Jupiter's on the Gold Coast and in Townsville, and The Treasury in Brisbane.

The new app, called My Echo, allows staff to check what time they are rostered on to work and their fortnightly payslip using their PC, smartphone or tablet. The solution was provided by Colab, an Oracle consulting firm. My Echo uses Oracle's mobile platform.

Aside from getting rid of paper payslips, Echo Entertainment Group scheduling manager Luke Fleming said there is significantly less data entry for human resources (HR) staff.

"There is easy access to information. Rather than staff having to pick up the phone or having to wait until they come on site to get access to information, they can do it from anywhere, anytime," he told CIO Australia.

"We used to receive a lot of phone calls about what time people were starting their shifts. Staff can now log on and see what time they are working. In terms of [staff] phone calls, we have reduced that number by 1000 phone calls per month."

Fleming added that if employees are sick or can't work on a certain day, they can swap shifts with other staff members using My Echo.

Now that the app has been in place for casino staff since January, Echo Entertainment Group hospitality portfolio manager, Sarah Robinson, said that it may look to expand My Echo into other parts of the business.

"We're looking at areas of the business where people have to return to their desks to approve documents," she said.

An example is casino floor managers who need to be onsite to keep an eye on staff and patrons, but who currently have to return to their office to sign off documents.

"We're going out to the staff to see if they would be interested in having one touchpoint to go to, where they can access multiple areas of the work on their own device," Robinson said.

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Customer offers

Staff aren't the only focus for Echo Entertainment's CIO, Kel Telford. Another area of innovation is increasing the use of targeted offers for patrons who enter one of its NSW or Queensland properties. "In the future, we would love to know that a patron is now on the property and likes to eat at one of our restaurants such as Fat Noodle," he said.

"We already have the technology we are putting in place for wireless Internet and mobility strategies. We have put in a data management system so we get a single view of the customer.

"Between our bars, restaurants, hotels and our gaming floor areas, we want to make sure that if we go out to a customer, it is the same customer we are sending that particular offer out to."

Telford said the company did not want to risk offending patrons by sending out a restaurant offer via email or SMS message for a steak house when the customer is vegetarian.

"We have to clean up the data and make sure that the offers we send out make sense to the customer," he said.

In addition, the company can't advertise certain aspects of its main gaming floor outside of the casino area, presenting additional challenges in how it positions services to customers.

"To meet the Australian Privacy Act legislation, we need to make sure that customers do want to receive information from us. As long as they have opted in to receive emails from us, we can provide offers directly to them," Telford commented.

Following the Privacy Act amendments passed in Australia in March 2014, all of the Group's staff had to revisit their privacy training.

Under the legislation amendments, the Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim can seek civil penalties of up to $340,000 for individuals and up to $1.7 million for companies in the case of a serious privacy breach such as customer data being leaked online.

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Building loyalty

VIP customers are a big part of the business. In May 2013, former CTO, Rob James, told CIO Australia that The Star casino in Sydney has a car parking level for VIPs which can only be accessed with a personalised security card.

The casino can then notify the VIP's host when he/she has arrived. And if the card contains information about a VIP's favourite drink, they can tell the bartender to get the beverage ready.

Aside from its onsite loyalty benefits and targeted offers, the Group continues to build on its relaunched customer loyalty program.

Echo's loyalty offering is based on consumers collecting points when they spend money in any casino, bar or restaurant area across the Group's property portfolio and now encompasses more than 200,000 active members.

The company hopes the program will drive increased customer frequency and more benefits to existing members, while attracting new guests to the properties.

More recently, Echo has introduced real-time rewards balances, and rolled out a loyalty shopping program last year. According to its 2013 financial year report, the program has also been extended across its Queensland sites.

"Customers can collect those points and play on the gaming machines or go to our loyalty website, Absolute Shopping, where they can purchase vouchers or consumer items," Telford said. They might like to use their points to stay at The Treasury in Brisbane or Jupiter's' on the Gold Coast."

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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