2/18/2020

MGM Resorts: What Happens in Vegas Is Late for Valentine’s Day

In New York City, you know Valentine’s Day is coming when your favorite restaurant sends emails one to two weeks in advance touting their “Lover’s Duet Meal” or something similarly hokey. These meals usually involve a prix fixe menu at about 20% more than the usual price, with an implicit promise that you wrap up quickly so you can get on to the, um, next thing with your significant other and the restaurant can get on to their next paying couple.

“Reservations are a must,” they tout. “Book early!”  💋😘😍

Around February 10-12, the local grocery chains advertise chocolates and stuffed animals at a discount price. Places that wouldn’t have fresh flowers on any other day suddenly have red roses by the register. Even the neighborhood bodega somehow gets in on the act, placing red balloons for sale next to the lollipops or Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

Then February 14 rolls around. You’ve made your plans, bought your flowers, written a card with a silly message, torn up the card, and written a new card with a loving, memorable message. On the way home, you check your email.

“Love is in the air at MGM Resorts,” the subject line reads. The subhead: “Let us help make Valentine’s Day unforgettable with some delectable restaurant choices, spa specials and creative experiences.”


MGM Resorts Valentine's Day email
Sent afternoon of February 14

This is a Fail for Timing. The email was sent on February 14, 1:27 pm Pacific Time. (On the East Coast, that’s 4:27 pm.) By that time, it’s a bit late to plan an event in Las Vegas to reconnect over a couple’s massage or pet the captive dolphins at Mirage. And it would be nearly impossible to land a reservation at a Vegas Strip restaurant with dining options that are sure to impress. 

Valentine’s Day is a holiday where expensive splurges need to be advance planned. Ideally, an email of this type should be sent 1-2 weeks prior to the holiday with a follow-up reminder email sent 3-4 days after the first email. That offers at least an adequate amount of time to book a flight to Vegas and a helicopter excursion to the Grand Canyon. (Even then, though, you’ll need Vegas-level luck to get a dining reservation confirmed.)

Here is an example of a Valentine's Day email I received, well timed a week prior to the holiday.

Dee's Restaurant, Queens, NY
Local restaurant email
smartly sent February 7

Lesson:
Consumers make holiday plans prior to the holiday. Time your marketing communications accordingly.

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