With many cities following shelter-in-place orders because of the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses have been forced to close their doors. This does not mean that businesses are left to only sit back and wait for orders to lift. Instead, businesses should consider proactive measures to connect with their community, raise brand awareness and focus on how to bring in customers once the pandemic subsides.

  1. Connect Socially to Customers

Social media is a valuable marketing tool for all businesses, regardless of the product or service offered. Not only does social media allow companies to publicize information about their products and services, it also offers companies countless ways to connect with the public, improve customer relations and strengthen the brand. Moreover, regular posts and the use of images can significantly increase the visibility of a company.

Companies may want to consider creating a social media page or increasing activity on existing social pages. This could include, for example, developing promotions to drive business when shelter-in-place orders are lifted.

  1. Support Communities

Businesses that are able to support local communities, financially or by communicating support through social and business channels, should do so for the right reasons. Customers want to be proud of the brands they support so it makes sense that giving back to the community would increase brand loyalty. It may also attract new customers. For example, businesses could run fundraising campaigns where, subject to a maximum amount, the sponsor company matches the donations of their customers. Campaigns like this give people the opportunity to maximize their donations and is a great way to expand brand awareness.

Other ways to support local communities are to donate medical supplies, food or goods to those most impacted by the pandemic, such as frontline workers, charities and schools. Some companies have offered free virtual services for a limited amount of time to schools and charities. Many companies have already stepped up by donating millions of face masks, donating food to hungry families affected by unemployment, and offering free educational and health services.

  1. Update Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions

As businesses develop online ways to connect with their customers, they should also consider updating the privacy policies and terms and conditions of use for their websites and mobile apps. Privacy policies explain to your customers how you collect and use their data. It is imperative that disclosures are accurate and allow users to make informed decisions on whether to use a business’s website. Terms and Conditions of use govern how users can behave when using a particular service. For example, if a company decides to allow users to post on forums within their website or app, then the terms should prohibit abusive language and give the company the right to terminate the violating user’s account.

  1. Prepare Safety Procedures for Conducting Business after the Pandemic

The ability to “social distance” is compounded by the confines of a particular establishment. It is tough to “social distance” within the closed confines of a small restaurant, bar or casino, but this is something that owners and management will need to address. Possible measures include reducing the amount of seating and merchandise, and placing everything in the public spaces further apart. That said, such measures will impact the bottom line. Accordingly, it will be incumbent upon management to re-configure the layout of their floor space in a manner that balances revenue and the new expectations of consumers following the COVID-19 pandemic. Management will need to establish sanitization stations throughout the premises so that customers and staff can easily clean their hands (which is an easy and straight forward task). They must also ensure that all equipment such as slots, tables, cards, dice and chips for casinos, is regularly cleaned (which is a less straightforward task).

  1. Strategize to Optimize Re-openings (open everything at once, or limit openings)

While companies are anxious to re-open, those owning multiple properties that are located within close proximity of each other will need to carefully strategize which properties to re-open and when. These decisions are based on the forecasted number and type of visitors expected over the upcoming months. For instance, if a casino owner expects to cater primarily to local players in the immediate future, then it may make economic sense to open one of their local casinos first (as opposed to one of their high-end properties that primarily caters to international “whales”).

The key for addressing all of these items is to work with legal counsel to avoid pitfalls. Thinking ahead about how to address procedural and legal challenges can go a long way in staying legally compliant without compromising business objectives such as driving brand awareness and creating memorable consumer experiences.

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP attorneys have been at the forefront of all major gaming and promotional trends, and actively work with clients in the industry to build and protect their enterprises. If you are interested in exploring these items, please contact authors Karl Rutledge at krutledge@lrrc.com, Glenn Light at glight@lrrc.com, or Mary Tran at mtran@lrrc.com.

Authors

Karl F. Rutledge
Karl F. Rutledge
Partner, Chair - Commercial Gaming Group
krutledge@​lrrc.com
702.949.8317
Mary Tran
Mary Tran
Associate
mtran@​lrrc.com
702.474.2666

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