When I started my gaming career, I was first hired as a casino host. In those days, we mostly walked around the gaming floor looking for quality players we could sign up for the players club and chatted up the guests in the high limit areas. Later, when we began mining the database to identify better players and assign them to the hosts, the Player Development function turned into more of a phone-based activity. The evolution of the Player Development program is still going strong, and I believe we need to land somewhere in the middle of these two activity types in order to be most effective.
Today, many casino hosts have lists provided to them by the database team, so they work their way through phone calls and mailing lists, often never meeting their players in person until they’ve communicated a handful of times. Some hosts have worked in PD for a number of years and have developed their own “book of business” – hard-won high-level players who call when they want to gamble. A handful of these hosts are independent operators, who can send their players to any number of casinos instead of representing just one property. It is my belief that any good casino host will understand (or seek to learn) how to “cut in” to a good player, establish a rapport, and move away from dependency on the database team to build his or her book of business.
So, how does that work? How will I find these mythical “good players”? How will I know whether they’re really worth my time? I have provided a few of the best places to look below.
- Go to the busiest slots areas on the gaming floor and talk with the players there. See who has your property’s highest players club tier, watch the action as you visit, take some names and look those folks up to see how consistently they play well.
- Talk to the slot attendants and see who they recommend you meet. They’re not always right, but they know who sits at a machine feeding it all day and they can tell you who you missed.
- Make friends with table games shift/floor supervisors. They can quickly tell you who bought in for big money and where those players are now if they’re still in house. Want to know who blew a lot of cash in a hurry? Because these important and busy employees have to do the paperwork related to the biggest losers, they should be able to at least give you a name.
- Ask your guests for leads. Birds of a feather do flock together, so talk to your best players and give them incentives to invite their gambling friends to your property. Buying a round of buffets for 4 doesn’t cost very much and it makes your current player look important to their friends. If the play is good enough, make it the steakhouse instead…and everybody shines.
- Learn what affinity groups are near your property and find ways to introduce yourself. Do you host mostly table games players? Hit the links and distribute your business cards, because many golfers also love to play casino table games. Do you mostly handle slot players? Find the local bingo parlor and grab a dauber, because you can learn which bingo enthusiasts go to what property while you play. Do you have lots of guests from one particular ethnic group? Do some research and find the community gathering place for that nationality, then offer to speak or distribute casino merchandise at a get-together.
Just like any other sales function, networking is essential to the casino hosts’ ability to build a stronger list of players and/or a book of business. Finding players with high potential can be a challenge, but developing this skill will make you a more valuable employee and help you achieve your theoretical targets.
Do you have successful tactics to add? Please feel free to comment!