When is New, really New?

Lots of discussions in the past week about what constitutes a ‘New’ player and when to assign them to a Host…

… It makes sense to me that a valuable new player should receive a phone call within 24 hours if they had a large ‘enough’ Theo on the day that they enrolled. These top players expect personal recognition and to feel special; it isn’t good enough to wait for the Direct Mail program to catch up with them.

This is especially true if the new valuable player lives in a local market. If they live locally, have just enrolled, and played high then they are either new to the area (and you want to grab them) or they are mad/bored with the competition and they are checking out your property (and you want to grab them!)

But does it have to be a Host? Why can’t someone in the Players Club reach out, with a script, and thank the new player for enrolling, and ask them how they liked the Property?

My point in these discussions all week has been that there is a big difference between making sure that a new valuable players receives a warm welcome, and assigning the player to Host with the expectation that the Host can groom the new player and ensure their loyalty. We don’t really know from just one day of play whether the guest has got high potential and will become loyal. It takes two or three trips to see what is happening.

I think we have to watch them for the weekend, or for a week, and see how they play over a few days. Do they make two 200+ ADT trips, or one 400+ trip, in the course of five days? If so, they have are showing a pattern that makes them worth assigning to a Host. (These numbers depend on your situation of course)

In fact! If we just focus on the Theo on the day of enrollment then we can miss someone!

Let’s say I show up at your Resort Casino late on Friday. I enroll, play a little, grab something to eat, and go to bed. My Theo on my enrollment day will be too low to warrant a phone call. I get up on Saturday morning and play like crazy on Saturday and Sunday before I leave for my 3 hour drive home. If your casino is only focused on the enrollment day, then I will slip through the net.

Do I deserve a phone call on the Sunday morning, you bet I do! Before I even leave the Property, before I even stop playing, it would be great to get a call. ‘Jackie, I want to welcome you to the Sandy Palace Resort Casino. I hope you are enjoying yourself?

This phone call could be made by the Players Club team using a pretty straight forward report from IT that spots me (unless you are using PowerHost, which definitely will!)

Do I deserve a Host? Can I be groomed? Well, that is a different question.

If I live halfway between you and your competition, it is probably worth assigning a Host to see if I can be tempted away from the competition. If I am just a random individual with a 2 hour drive time then no, it’s probably not worth it. I can be kept interested by the Direct Mail program if it is finely tuned to retain new players.

Is there a right answer? Of course not, these are all just strategies that we experiment with and see how they work. But! We do have to have PD strategies and not just rely on the Direct Mail program to scoop these people up.

Does your Resort Casino have a strategic approach to New players? Take a look at Casino Host Goals; a strategic approach to Player Development.

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Are you Getting Fried by your Phone?

I have made a lot of changes over the last year, to live a healthier and happier life. I was feeling pretty smug but then I went for a walk with my Natural teacher, Betty Sue O’Brian, and she was horrified to see my ‘unprotected’ iPhone.

My iphone needs protection?

“Dear Jackie, I just want to tell you something you may not know about your phone.

  • Your phone emits radiation and the Government measures this.
  • Whether it is on or not, your phone is always emitting radiation because it is always communicating with a cell tower.
  • You should pretend that your head is the size of a basketball, and the phone should never enter the ball area. Don’t sleep with the phone near your head.
  • Turn off celiular data when not using it.
  • Do not sleep with your phone or ipad charging in your room! You’ll get a better night’s sleep and avoid over exposure.  Charge it during the day and keep it at arms length during the night.
  • Get protection especially if you have an iphone”

Turns out that you can find out the SARS (Specific Absorption Rate) rating of your phone. My iphone is much worse than the Samsung phones. .

SAR is a measure of the RF (radiofrequency) energy absorbed into your body from the phone. The US legal limit is 1.6 and the iPhone is right up there whereas Samsung is half as much.(Check your phone at https://www.rfsafe.com/sar-rating-comparison/)

It also turns out that you can buy protective cases as well as better headsets. Again, take a look at www.rfsafe.com

I decided to share this with you, and please forward, because in PD we have a phone glued to our body at all times, 24×7. This is not wooh-wooh made-up stuff, it is measured and regulated by the FFC. You might want to check it out and, meantime, keep that iphone at arms length whenever you can.

There is something new to learn every day! Perhaps you already knew this, and I am just behind the curve?

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Everyone is different; or are they?

As a player development professional, you know that everyone is different and yet so many people seem to fall into certain ‘types’.

From your practical experience dealing with guests, you know that some people need excruciating details why they cannot have an upgrade and other people are happy with your simple ‘No’. Some types of people get very emotional with you about the change to the Buffet, and other people will tell you in a flat monotone voice that they have just lost a loved one.

As you go through your shift, you adjust to the different personality types and clearly see how they adjust and react to the world around them. It is not about how you see the situation, it is about how they see the situation.

Have you ever taken a personality test? Myers Briggs is a widely used example. Not that any one of these personality models is absolute but you will learn more about how different people absorb information in different ways and react in different ways. Follow the link down below to see a lovely illustration of the 16 personality types in the Myers Briggs model.

Why would you care? Well, for two reasons. As a player development professional, you specialize in influencing human behavior (which we call ‘sales’) and so you need to study people with a passion. And a business professional, you have to interact with your manager, and with your peers. If you know yourself, and you realize that not everyone sees the world the same way, then you will be more open to others and experience less stress.

We often think of a personality test as describing the person but we are really exploring how they perceive the world and make decisions. In player development, we need to know how people perceive their world and make decisions on where to play, what to play, how long to play, and why to play.

The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator classifies people in four dimensions. For example, I am classified as an INTJ. Here is what this means to you, if I am your coded player:

I – Introversion. INTJ expend energy interacting with people in social situations (whereas extroverts gain energy). In the Casino, I don’t want to spend a lot of time with you. I am happily alone at the slots trying to recharge from a day of dealing with others. Say Hi but don’t hang around. (You might not relate! You are probably an Extrovert.)

N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INTJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities. This means that I ‘get it’ when you say No.

T – Thinking preferred to feeling: INTJs tend to value objective criteria above personal preference or sentiment. When making decisions they generally give more weight to logic than to social considerations. So I won’t get all emotional with you. I won’t take your Comp decisions personally if they ‘make sense’ to me.

J – Judgment preferred to perceiving. INTJs tend to approach life in a structured way, planning and organizing their world to achieve their goals. This means I want to know how to get what I want; tell me how to get to Platinum.

As an INTJ, I am considered ‘the architect’. It costs $46 to take the official Myers Briggs test but you can try one for free at the same site https://www.16personalities.com

So, go online and take a test and see if you agree with what it says about you! I place a bet that you are an ES-something: a Consul, Entertainer, or an Entrepreneur. But if you are an I-something then you might be in the wrong profession because people will wear you down as an introvert! Here is the link to see the 16 personality types. Enjoy.

Building your Emotional Bank Account

Just like a good golf swing, we should always follow through to the end!

When I was interviewing PD Managers for my latest book, The Strategic Host, I was struck by how often the PD managers emphasized this point.

Here’s a typical example of a quote:

“As a player’s host, you are his ‘inside man.’ You should be able to get him a room or dinner reservations or show tickets or registration for a tournament or other event without him having to do more than ask you to take care of it. Afterward, relentless follow-up is required. Always return a guest’s call as soon as humanly possible and always do what you say you will do. If you’re making reservations, call back with a confirmation that the task is complete, no matter whether the reservation is for today or in three weeks.”

You might enjoy reading the book Seven Habits of Effective People. The author, Stephen Covey, uses the metaphor of an Emotional Bank Account to describe “the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship”.

Simply put, if I do five favors for my neighbors then I have made five deposits in my emotional bank account with them. If I mess up and reverse into their mailbox, I have to make a large withdrawal! But, if I had never done any favors then I would have gone over-drawn. If you are consistent with your follow-through then your guest will forgive you if you make a mistake.

(The same applies with your manager and your peers. Keep making deposits in those emotional bank accounts and you will have a cushion in your favor for when you make mistakes.)

Follow through! It reduces stress as well because there is never anything left undone for you to worry about.

Picking up the pieces from the DM Program

Nick Ippolito initiated a conversation on Linked In about the Direct Mail program and how a Host can get stuck with a guest that is unhappy with their offers.

It is not easy to craft a direct marketing strategy that meets the goal of driving more trips without having bad side effects on some guests. Have you heard of the Law of Unintended Consequences?

In our imaginary world, the Sandy Palace Casino has a simplistic approach and bases offers on ADT (average daily theo) over the last 3 months.

The Consistent Player. Colleen plays every Friday night because that is how she relaxes at the end of her stressful week. She has a budget in mind and plays consistently. Each Friday, her Theo is around 300 so her ADT = 300. The Direct Mail team sends her an offer in hope that she will add an additional trip at 300+. In reality, she takes that free play and uses it next Friday. She won’t ever add a trip.

As a Host, you are unlikely to hear from Colleen about her offers because they are consistent.

The Penalized Player. Robin plays on Fridays and Saturdays with her best friends. She also has a budget in mind and her Theo varies from 300 to 350, so her ADT would be 325, similar to Colleen. However, Robin decides to take her free play offers and her F&B coupons and make an extra trip on Monday and Wednesday evenings on her way home from work. She eats for free, doesn’t play for long because she has to get home and maybe puts an additional $25 into the slots after she has burned through her free play. Robin is now penalized by her behavior because she has dragged down her ADT from 325 to (300+350+25+25) / 4 = 175. In January, she just plays weekends and receives February offers for 300+ ADT. In February, she adds her small trips on Monday and Wednesdays, and her March offers drop because they are based on 175+ ADT.

As a Host, you will hear complaints from Robin because her offers will vary based on her behavior from month to month. As an ethical Host, keeping the casino’s business objectives in mind, should you really coach Robin on how to play ‘to beat the system’?

The Disappointed New Player. Bill is unhappy with the competition and he comes over to try the Sandy Palace. You are assigned to groom Bill because he is a 300+ player. Bill plays for a few weekends and he is pretty happy with his offers based on 300+ ADT. You keep working on building a relationship with Bill and he decides to move his play from the competition to the Sandy Palace. Overall, Bill now brings a lot more total Theo. But, unfortunately, like Robin, this means he is also bringing some smaller trips to your Property and suddenly his offers drop in value and he is mad and threatens to go back to the competition. Especially as the competition now considers Bill to be a ‘fader’ and they will bump their offers up to lure him back.

I believe your role is to share what you hear about specific players so the strategy can be improved but do not present your feedback in a critical way. The relationship between Direct Marketing and Player Development needs to be a constructive give and take.

That said, you can talk to your manager about what you see as the adverse side effects of the program and empower them to speak to the Marketing manager with detailed examples. We are all in this together!

8 Tips for Cold Calling

Part of your job is to cold-call players. There is a big difference between engaging a person with your eyes and smile, and placing an outbound call to someone who might not want to hear from your right now. The trick is to mentally climb down inside that phone and stand right in front of them!

In a recent post, we talked about 7 Reasons to Make a Call. Now, let’s explore 8 Tips on how to make those bound calls:

Make a Plan. Be clear in your mind about your Reason To Call, and the outcome you want to achieve. Are you calling to touch base, to get information, or to close their commitment to an Event? What are you going to say if they decline? How will you respond if they are irritated at the interruption?

Be Ready For Voicemail. Decide ahead of time whether you are going to hang up or leave a voicemail. If you are going to leave a voicemail, then plan what you are going to say so you are not recording any ‘Ums’. Write this message down so you are ready to roll when you are dropped into voicemail.

Rev Yourself Up! You don’t want to get into the phone with over-the-top crazy enthusiasm! But your voice and words had better convey some passion about what you are describing. Literally standing up is a good idea because your voice has more energy if you are not slumped in a chair. Plus, you will tend to walk about and be more animated.

It’s Not About You. Put yourself in a mindset that begins and ends with the player’s best interests at heart. If you can focus on how you are trying to help them, they will hear that tone in your voice and respond well. Even if they are not interested in your information, they will be grateful that you cared. For example, they may say, ‘I am not interested in this concert but please keep me in mind next time.’

Compare these two approaches…

“Kim, we are having a great Fireworks event and I would love to book you in….” (all about you)

“Kim, I am calling because I think you would really enjoy this Fireworks Event. I know you get a lot of mail and I didn’t want you to miss this offer. Are you going to join us on Saturday for the fun and excitement?” (all about Kim)

Grab Their Attention. Don’t start with a tentative ‘Am I interrupting you?’ because they will think Yes! Even if they don’t say so. Use their name and quickly get to what you hope will interest them. Practice your opening line and hook them with something interesting. ‘Kim, this is Sam, I have something really cool to tell you…’

Make Them Feel Special. Use their name, mention the names of their family and friends if you have those Notes, ask open questions and listen hard, and be sure to thank them for their time. “Kim, before I go, what happened with the car problems. is everything taken care of now?”

Pace Yourself It is exhausting to make a lot of calls plus you will start to be bored with repeating your ‘pitch’ so be realistic about how many calls you can make in a row. Pace yourself and make 5 a day for 5 days instead of 25 calls on one day.

Stay hydrated (with water not caffeine), eat a light lunch, stretch, stand up to call, walk around the outside of the building at lunchtime, take the stairs for extra exercise, and breathe deeply before you call to focus yourself. All of these techniques will convey healthy energy in the quality of your voice.

And finally, practice practice practice. The drive to work is a great opportunity to talk out loud and imagine that you are making calls! Who cares what the other drivers think of your crazy antics.

7 Reasons to Call

You need good reasons to call your guests, stay in touch, and build the relationship. These are literally called Reasons To Call (RTC) by sales reps who make outbound calls to customers and prospects. With a good reason to call, you will sound enthusiastic and you can find an angle that conveys to the guest that you genuinely thought about them. This is the why the ‘Happy Birthday’ call is so easy to make.

Here are some other examples of good Reasons To Call:

Did You Hear? When your Resort Casino announces a new amenity, such as a golf course, you can call your guests that are golfers and ask them ‘Did you hear about our new golf course?”. The amenity does not have to be complete, in fact it is better if you can make a couple of calls. ‘Did you hear we are building?” and “Did you hear that we open in three weeks, let’s get you in’ and ‘We are open!’.

I Bet You Are Happy. You should follow the local sports teams and track which of your players are raving fans. When the team gets through to the next round, you can place the ‘I bet you are happy’ call and listen to them talk all about the game.

Did You See? We talked elsewhere about the idea that you should be tracking the Direct Mail offers. You can call and say ‘Did you see your $100 in free play next month? I’d hate you to miss your offer in all your mail. Let me know if you can’t find it?”

I Thought Of You. As you walk the Property, pay attention to the promotions, events and special offers. You can call and say ‘I thought of you this afternoon because we have a special Surf and Turf. Did you see it?” If there is a change in the slot mix in the High Limit room, or a commitment to always having a $20 blackjack table open, then you can call a whole list of people to say ‘I thought of you, did you notice the changes to the…’

What Did You Think? If there has been an upgrade to the cocktail bar with a really cool new layout and some stunning effects then wait a few weeks, pull a list of recent players, and call a whole list of people to ask ‘What do your think of the new cocktail bar? I’d love to get your opinion.’

Just Checking. If you are doing a good job of tracking your regular players, then you will notice when someone has not been in for a week. You can call with the ‘I have not seen you. Is everything okay? I just want to check that you are well?”

Welcome Back. If you learn that someone is going away, or going into hospital, then you make a note to contact them on their return. ‘I hope you had a great vacation! Tell me about Hawaii!” or ‘Welcome home, I just wanted to wish you a speedy recovery.’

Ideally, you keep notes on that guest, and how well they responded, so you can take a different approach the next time and add variety to the on-going conversation.

Get the Glow! (The Healthy Host)

It’s not enough to put on a smart outfit. You need to have the attractive healthy glow that comes from a healthy life-style.

If you are under 30 then you probably assume you will feel this energetic forever but unfortunately that is not true! Your long-term success and personal health will be dictated by the habits that you form now.

Do you find yourself doing nothing but work and sleep? If you let yourself become obsessed, then your stress level will go up and it will interfere with your judgement. If you don’t make a change, you will lose perspective, make poor decisions, and look and feel pale and sickly. So, plan your down-time and organize your life as well as your job.

Plan to rest! Part of being organized is to come up with ways to ensure you regularly disconnect, rest, and re-charge. You love what you do, and your job can easily be a 24-hour business for seven days a week. But you can burn-out and you certainly won’t deliver your best if you are exhausted.

Plan on having a meal even a quick one. Skipping meals and trying to survive on sugar and caffeine will destroy your productivity and problem-solving skills. It also affects your waistline!

Plan to get outside and get some air and sunshine. Can you walk around the outside patios, greet some guests and catch some rays?

Eat your fruits and vegetables! It can be hard to ‘eat well’ when you are running around all day long, and working difficult hours. But try to have something fresh with each meal; or make salads in mason jars on your day off, and take a salad each day.

Drink lots of water to keep your skin hydrated. Is water boring? Then find something that makes it palatable like adding some lemon juice.

By the way, coffee dehydrates you. I realize you might need the caffeine to get going but peppermint is a good alternative for a pick me up because Mint stimulates the brain. Plus peppermint is more pleasant than coffee breath!

Build movement into your daily routine. Park the furthest away from the building. Always use a staircase instead of an elevator. Park at the top of the parking garage and use the staircase to get up there at the end of your shift. Use the restroom on a different floor of the building and take the steps to get there.

Find a way to disconnect for as little as 20 minutes a day; leave the phone behind and go for a walk, go to the gym, listen to a motivational video, soak in the bath, or read an interesting novel. Set the timer on your phone for 20 minutes and then don’t touch that phone until it goes off. You will be amazed how long 20 minutes will feel!

Take your vacations! I promise you that your peers can take care of your players. You are not indispensable. You need to get away for a week at a time to re-charge.

As the saying goes “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”

The Organized Host

Life is much easier when you are organized because you don’t have the added stress of cleaning up your own mess. You tend to deal with everything just once and put it behind you.

  • If a guest calls in and requests the limo you send an email to your Manager as soon as you hang up; you don’t write yourself a note, stick it your monitor, and deal with it later.
  • When you run a VIP party, you make a list of everything that has to be done. After the event, you keep the list, a copy of the invitation, a copy of the email, and even the menu. When you run the next VIP party, you pull out the files from last time and you don’t have to start from scratch.
  • If a guest complains about their offers, you immediately send an email to Direct Marketing with the name, account number, and their complaint. You cc: yourself and put the email into a folder called Offer Complaints. If the guest comes back to you then you can easily find your email and assure them you followed up.

There are some key principles in all of these examples:

  1. Touch everything just once! When something comes up, deal with it right away or give it to someone else to solve. If you cannot delegate it, and it will take some time, then put it on your schedule and forget about it. schedule time on your calendar to work on it. Yes, literally schedule 30 minutes on your calendar to write that report for your boss.
  2. Move the Monkey! This is a great visual. If someone gives you a problem to solve then imagine that they have put a monkey on your back. Too many monkeys and you will feel crushed. So, as soon as possible, move that monkey onto someone else’s back!
  3. Don’t start from scratch. Whenever you do anything, assume that you are going to have to do it again and again and again! Organized people are actually very lazy people; they want it to be easier the next time, and they assume that there will be a next time. So, they keep all the information about how they arranged that VIP party. And they keep the memo from Accounts on how to resolve an obscure refund for a guest because what happens once, will happen agan.
  4. Put Things Where You Will Find Them. In your email, create folders labeled ‘Comp Exception’, ‘Refund Dispute’, ‘Limo Request’ and ‘How to Use Systems’. Drag emails into the folders and out of the in-box. Your in-box should only contain your current Monkeys that you are going to quickly move along before the shift ends. In your phone, keep the numbers for Guest Services, Front Desk, Housekeeping supervisor, and that helpful person in Accounts who can approve Portfolio adjustments. And your desk does not have to be tidy, but each leaning stack of papers should contain related items!
  5. And finally, Plan Your Day and work your list. Stop thinking about being organized as having a permanently clean and tidy home. It will never happen. Every day, you have to clean your body, feed the cat, prepare some meals, and brush your teeth. It is an endless cycle. In the same way, you accept that when you come to work, you are going to repeat the same tasks over and over again; so being essentially lazy, the Organized Host will try to make it easier and easier to issue the comp, track the hotel reservation, follow up on the dispute, and book the limo.

Does this sound exhausting? Do you lack the discipline? Does it even sound boring?

Well that is fine, and we all make our own choices, but if you decide to remain dis-organized then you will waste a lot of your time and energy and not meet your goals.

And you certainly won’t be promoted. Management sees you struggling to stay on top of your current responsibilities and they are certainly not going to give you any more!

Remember, organized people are actually lazy and they have figured out how to do the same job as you but with a lot less effort and a lot more results.

So, how do you make the change? You decide to take control of yourself and make the most out of your 24 hours within a day. You constantly look for ways to make the everyday tasks be easier. You decide to watch and learn from organized people. And you keep reading!

Money Can’t Buy Them Love

I’ve been interviewing PD professionals from across the country for my next book, The Strategic Host. I’ve been hearing a lot from Casino Hosts about the challenge of not having enough hooks, give-aways, comps, offers, freebies to be able to give their players.

But then I was speaking to Jim, a Player Development Executive. Jim said “If I know a guest is coming in at 9pm, then I am out at Valet Parking at 8:45pm, to be ready to greet them with a smile, every time. Every time.”

Wow! My neck flipped around. Jim took me back to the old-fashioned basics.

Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

High net worth gamblers can buy almost anything they want, but no-one can buy an experience and, to quote the Beatles, ‘Money Can’t Buy Me Love’. So Jim focuses on creating a warm and positive experience, and not on what he can give them.

Yes, the Casino has a limit on what we can give in comps, events, tickets, amenities. But there is no limit on the care and consideration that we can give the guest in the way we greet them, treat them, and follow up with them.

So now we all have a secret weapon! Give them some Love.

Casino Host Goals and Host CRM