6 Things to Look for in a Casino Host New Hire

The truth is, it’s not an easy thing to quantify what you are looking for in a Casino Host, particularly if the candidate in question has never been a host before.  Read this summary, to see if you agree, and then and click to download the interview questions.

A People Person

When you interview any host candidate, the thing you are looking for is a natural tendency to be a “people person.”

Ask questions about specific customers the candidate remembers and why.  This sort of question works whether you are interviewing someone who has been a host before or not, even if the background of your candidate doesn’t include customer service.  Recent college graduates should have some sort of work experience (summer jobs, internships) where they had to provide a product or service to someone.  That is what you need to tap into to determine whether they are truly attuned to people as individuals.  If they are not, keep looking!

A Positive Attitude

Taking any new job can make someone anxious.  Taking a new job where one is responsible for the needs and wants of a casino’s very best players is daunting even on a good day.  An angry high roller is of critical importance and a host using a negative approach is likely to fuel the fire; then nobody wins. Devise some interview questions specifically geared to identify whether the prospective host is one who sees things in a positive light most of the time.  Ask about a difficult situation with a co-worker or customer and how it was resolved.  Whether the candidate solved the problem on his or her own or if it needed to be escalated, how he or she tells the story will give you some insights into a “glass half-full” mentality (or not).  If the glass isn’t at least half full, this candidate isn’t the one you want.

A Willingness to Learn

This attribute extends beyond the ability to learn how your property expects hosts to handle the company’s assets.  Willingness to learn includes gleaning and utilizing information about individual players and their preferences, how to handle conflict on behalf of a guest, navigating computer systems and how they are integrated, plus a myriad of other intricate details necessary to manage such a dynamic marketing role.  Ask about subjects the candidate enjoyed in school and why; inquire as to training programs the individual has experienced and what he took away from them.  Also, assess computer literacy during the interview; a host in this day and age who isn’t comfortable tackling a new interface is assuredly going to be at a disadvantage.

A Go-Getter

Some of the most charismatic hosts have a fatal flaw: they require external motivation. These hosts are great with guests, they can talk with people from all walks of life, and they are fierce advocates for their players when the need arises.  All great attributes for a host, right?  Right!

Interestingly, not all hosts are great at tracking and reporting on their own activity, providing justification for questionable comp decisions, following up on guest phone calls or other correspondence, or completing guest-related tasks such as reservations and confirmation contacts.  It only gets done on deadline through much pulling of hair and rending of garments…and that’s due to you hassling them repeatedly to get it done on time.

You want someone who can engage and follow through.  Ask about how the interviewee handles follow-ups, requesting long-term assignment examples for recent grads and specific work examples from non-host candidates.

Sales Ability!

We have moved way beyond the host being in charge of Happiness. All of your team should be able to sell. It’s not just about the Player Development Executive bringing in new high-rollers. Every casino host must be able to sell your property, your F&B, your hotel, your Events and more. So even if you don’t expect a Junior Host to bring in new players, you expect them to be able to sell excitement to the guest. Explore their natural ability to convey enthusiasm and probe for related experience in selling just about anything. Of course an experienced host should be able to give you some idea how many room nights or tournament seats she is able to fill in a telemarketing session.

A Sense for Confidentiality

Some of the best hosts I know have a different critical weakness: they share too much.  Whether it’s personal information about themselves or dissatisfaction with something in their professional life, a host who burdens a guest with unnecessary information is not one you want.  Just as one shouldn’t tell a guest “that’s our policy,” one should also never say, “I can’t believe they won’t let me give you…”

To screen for this, ask the candidate about a time she experienced a disappointment due to a policy or guideline in her past and how she handled it.  Another, less subtle, way to find out about the candidate’s tendency is to ask about a situation where rumors and over-sharing had an effect on her  customer service or job performance.

A Passion for Life

Most importantly, a good casino host is likely to become a person for whom Player Development will become a way of life.

To find that attribute in a candidate, and determine whether or not the passion in his life might grow into a love of Player Development and casino marketing, ask the tired old question about what he dis/liked about a past job or activity, but add a twist.  Ask what she thinks would have made her like it more.  Ask her what she would’ve changed if she were in charge.  Find out why the role was or wasn’t a good fit and why.

Ask questions about what the candidate does when he or she isn’t working, too. You cannot become overly personal here, but look for the thing that makes the candidate’s eyes light up.  If it’s something related to being a good casino host, then you’ve got a good one.  If you can’t find the thing that makes his eyes light up, maybe you want to keep interviewing.

And click to download the interview questions.  You can download them in MSWord and change them to meet your needs.

Are you reading this because you are applying to be a Casino Host? Then click here for more helpful information on how to Become a Host


International Player Development

Here is an interesting article for two reasons.

If you are new to Player Development, then Trudie Yau calls out some of the key skills and activities that are key to being successful.

And if you are ‘in the business’ then it is interesting to read about her role in international player development; based in the UK, Trudie drives international business to the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Trudie’s title is Director of Player Development EMEA.

Click here to read the interview

(EMEA means Europe, the Middle East and Africa. So Trudie develops business from across the world and directs players to the Cosmopolitan.)

This article was published in Casino Life Magazine.



Cancer? Don’t run away. 5 Ways to Support Your Guests.

The majority of your coded players are in the age group where they experience the onset of serious diseases; cancer, stroke, heart attacks etc. And if is not your guest, it may be their spouse, or parent.

Why am I talking about this in an article on PD?

Because, as a player development professional, you are focused on building loyalty in your players.

This means that you have to take a strategic approach when your coded players are facing a serous life-challenge. Don’t just make a note that they are dealing with their husband’s cancer and decide that you won’t be seeing them much for a while. Come up with a plan of how you are going to stay in contact in an empathetic way, and let them know that you are ‘there for them’.

The elements of your plan include:
1. Make phone calls
2. Buy a card
3. Approach them if they do come on property.
4. Call if you missed them on property
5. Perhaps some fruit? or flowers?

1. Make Phone Calls! You need to still make phone calls. Many people ignore patients and caregivers because they don’t know what to say. But that only makes them feel worse and very isolated.

Decide how often you are going to call and stick with your plan. Don’t run away because you are afraid of what to say or because you are afraid to intrude. I was talking to a Host in the mid-west yesterday about the need to still call occasionally but not with an attempt to sell them on a trip.

So what is appropriate? You can still use the same 7 reasons to call that we talked about before. Call to say Happy Birthday, call when their team wins, and call when something changes on property that makes you think of them. “Hey Julia, I thought you yesterday when the Bears won. I hope that brought a smile to your face at a difficult time. I am just calling to let you know that I was thinking about you.”

What to say?

  • “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.”
  • “I’m sorry to hear that you are going through this.”
  • “I’ll keep you in my thoughts.”

What not to say?

  • Let’s get you into the casino so you can forget about it for a while.
  • What exactly is wrong?
  • Who is the doctor and what are the next steps?
  • My friend/mother/neighbor had that disease…
  • I am sure everything will be fine
  • How can I help?

2. Buy a card. Reach into your own pocket for a card and a stamp. Spend a few minutes picking out something with appropriate words; or just a plain card with a beautiful picture of nature. Don’t just sign your name! Include one of the phrases from above such as “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.”

3. Approach them if they do come on property. If you do see them on property, or any one of their friends or family, then be sure to approach them. Say Hi, look them in the eye and say “I am so glad to see you here. I want you to know that I do think about your/your wife etc. I hope you can relax with us for a while.” Use your body language and facial expression to show that you care. Again, don’t avoid the topic, but don’t ask what is happening next, and don’t share your own stories. People don’t want to hear about someone else’s condition.

4. Call if you missed them on property. If you see them on a list of yesterdays players, or another Host mentions that they saw them, then grab your phone and place a call. I don’t care that you just talked to them the other day, still make that call. “Hi Julia! I see you were here yesterday. It was my day off so I am sorry that I missed you. I hope you had a good time?” And close with the by now familiar line of “I will be thinking about you.”

5. Hold off on the fruit and flowers.  It might make sense to reach into your pocket and send fruit? (Don’t send sugary cookies to a cancer patient) But be careful that this does not come over as a ‘Get Well Soon’ message because that is inappropriate in a serious situation. And flowers? It probably makes more sense to wait and see if this situation ends with death because flowers are more appropriate then. Again, if there is a bereavement for anyone close to your player, then send them a sympathy card. “I am so sorry for the loss of your sister. I just want you to know that I am thinking about you.”

“Life Happens”… And it happens to your coded players. Step up and acknowledge them as best you can. But don’t cross over from Empathy to Sympathy (which we also talked about before) because it is not your job to get wrapped up in their life. This is why you should not say ‘How Can I Help?” because you really cannot help them in their personal lives. So don’t set yourself up for a request that you cannot meet. Your job is to acknowledge their reality and stay in touch.

I hope this helps you with some tough situations. Drop me a note at jparker@harvesttrends.com with any other ideas that we can all share.
Jackie P.

Use your Eyes! 5 ideas about Eye Contact

You are in Player Development and Casino Marketing so you already ‘Use Your Eyes’. This morning, I read a short article on Why Meeting Another’s Gaze is So Powerful. I always enjoy reading the research/theories behind what we intuitively know about how to interact with others.

1. We can use eye contact to convey a warm welcome to players, and our appreciation to our fellow employees.

2. If we avoid, or forget, to make eye contact with the Front Desk or Slot Attendant, then they can judge us aloof.

3. We have to hold our gaze for the ‘right amount’ of time to be not be creepy (3 secs max).

4. We can look in the mirror at ourselves and practice dilating our pupils for differing effects.

5. Finally, we all know how to ‘read’ other peoples eyes so your guests can intuitively read your emotions; which takes us back to the need in PD to sincerely enjoy others and want to make their day just that little better because of You.

John Fournier, Senior Executive Host at Harrah’s New Orleans, posted an excellent piece on Linked In this morning suggesting that if you are feeling bruised from an interaction with a difficult/demanding guest, then pick a random un-hosted player and go and give them some unsolicited attention. You will feel their appreciation and it will restore your faith in human interaction!

So, today, ‘Use Your Eyes for the Greater Good’. Even when you are rushing from one place to another, you can keep your head up, your heart open, and use your eyes to make contact and share the love!

You can sign up for these articles at playerdevelopment.casino

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Holiday Tips!

Tips for the Holidays!

It is time for the Holiday Season and you are really really really busy!

But it is not too late to make plans for adding some Wow for your players!

  • Cards! We have talked about this before. Go buy some cards, pre-sign them, and have them ready to hand out. You can often buy small ‘gift tag’ size cards that are cute.
  • Write your Gift list! Who are your top 5 players that deserve a personal gift from you? I am not talking about a marketing program; I am talking about you reaching into your own pocket. It doesn’t have to be expensive: a Starbucks card, a deluxe cookie, or a bonsai tree. If you know something about them, and you should!, then pick out something appropriate like a Yankee candle. Or a bonsai tree!
  • Chocolate Always Wins! Go to Walmart or your local Dollar Store and pick up mini-red bags and fill them with Hershey’s Kisses in red and green. Or buy up those bags of Chocolate Coins!
  • Plan to Call! You should always be looking for reasons to call the people who have not played, and the people that you have not spoken to. It can be embarrassing to make a cold call to an Inactive player but this is a great time to reach out with an easy excuse. You can call and wish them Happy Holidays or you can remind them of what is going on at Casino over the New Year. You don’t have to sell anything or book a trip – just express good will. So pull a list of 40 people and make a plan to call 8 a day for the next 5 days.
  • Yes it’s the Holiday Season and not just Christmas! This is the perfect opportunity for you to include all of your players. You don’t have to risk profiling people, making mistakes, and being offensive. But, educate yourself on the Holidays and rituals that are not your own. Set aside 30 minutes to google ‘all the holidays in December’ so you will pick up on what your guests are referring to, and be ready with your responses.
  • Focus on the New Year. In every culture, this is the time of year when we anticipate the end of Winter and the opportunity for new life in the New Year. If you are in a multi-cultural market then focus on the similarities across all cultures and pick out cards and small gifts that focus on gratitude, joy, and hope. That’s why the chocolate coins work! They express a hope for bounty and they express your thanks.
  • Be The Show! The Casino experience is all about Entertainment. Embrace the season, let your guard down a little, and have some fun. Let your guests see your lighter side.
  • Did I mention that you should Plan to Call! The Holidays are infamous for being a lonely time for many, and stressful for others. So make a list of Inactives and commit to calling them… it will build loyalty and drive some trips in January to get you started on your 2019 goals!

Happy Holidays, Jackie P.

6 Key Steps to Getting Your Way!

How hard it is to change a policy at your Property? Here are 6 Key Steps to persuade executive management to accept your ideas!

A couple of weeks ago, I threw you the challenge of getting policies changed if they are getting in the way of guest satisfaction. And one of you came back with the question, “How do I get the policy changed when no-one listens”…

We had a long conversation via Linked In messaging and here are the gist of my recommendations. What else have you tried?

#1 Find out who has the authority to approve the change. If the approval goes all the way to the gaming commission then that is a lot of work. If the approval is the GM, or a VP of the department, then you have less work do to, to lobby for change. Either way, think beyond your immediate manager and find out who will be making the Final Decision.

#2 Get real! When a manager hears you talking about ‘we must improve service’, they think to themselves, well, we are doing something right because we are making money. And why spend more money on ‘better service’ just to make the same amount of money?

#3 Once you find out who has to approve the change, then think about it from their perspective. Does the change save money or help to make money? Nothing else matters.

You are probably thinking in terms of ‘improving guest satisfaction” or ‘reducing busy work for Hosts” or a vague sense that ‘this will get the guest to play more”. In order to push for change, you have to think like a GM and identify how this will save money or make money.

For example:

  • If you can improve ‘guest satisfaction’ then will they play up? Make more trips? Spend more F&B? These outcomes will all make extra money.
  • If the guest is happier, will it stop them from going to the competition? Then the change will save money because it will save the property from losing money.
  • If the change will make Hosts more efficient then the Hosts will be freed up to make more outbound calls and drive trips and make money.

Don’t focus on explaining your change, focus on highlighting the difference it will make to the Bottom Line i.e. revenue = income – expense.

#4 Take a stab at the dollars involved! You have to stick your neck out and try to estimate the dollars that will be made or saved.

  • E.g. this efficiency change will save 60 minutes per day per host which means 6 extra outbound calls per day which could drive 6*400 ADT trips = $2400 per day per host which is $X per year.
  • E.g. this policy change will keep guests playing at the slots for an additional ten minutes per day per guest which is 365 days * 200 guests * $x in Theo.
  • E.g. With this Gift Incentive program, we expect each Host to drive an additional $4,000 in Theo per month by adding a 400+ ADT trip from each of 10 guests, in return for an investment in a $50 gift. We invest $500 per Host and we make $3500 profit per Host. This is $X per year!

Change your pitch to “We could make $X thousand dollars a year by changing this policy in this way” and you have a good chance of getting some attention!

#5 Don’t be scared of putting numbers out there. If you create a model then they can change the numbers. E.g. If this policy change encouraged 5% of our 400 ADT players to make one extra trip per month then that increases revenue by 5% x number of 400+ x 400 x 12 months = $X.

If the manager says I think 5% is too high then fine they can change the number and see the result because you have done the hard part, which is to think about your idea in dollars and cents. You won’t get anywhere with management until it is a financial recommendation.

#6 Remember you are creating extra work for the manager if they take on your suggestion. They have to build a business case, arrange meetings to present the idea, and expend some political capital in making the case. If the change is approved, they have the additional work to rewrite the policy and explain it to staff. So, even if you have a great idea with some interesting dollar returns, the manager is still going to be reluctant to take on the extra work.

When you bring something forward, you need to do as much as you can to make it as painless as you can! Yes, create a Powerpoint that highlights the financial savings and return. Write a modified policy with your new wording. Include a slide that explains how the policy would be rolled out… Do as much of the work as possible and offer it up to the person as something they can take and run with. Plus emphasize that you are there to help.

Finally, if you feel really passionate about this change, then demonstrate your Persistence! You will learn a lot about the management mindset by trying to put this together. Use your PD skills, listen hard to what they tell you, go back with a revised approach, and don’t give up! PD them!

Feel free to message me on Linked In if you want to talk about a particular idea and how to go about it!
Jackie P


For more practical advise on how to improve your professional skills as a Casino Host or Player Development Executive, take a look at this book with advice from professionals across the US. The Strategic Casino Host is available from Amazon

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.

You can read PD articles at https://playerdevelopment.casino/ and also sign up to receive this email


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?

This article is from playerdeveloment.casino where you can sign up for a new weekly article without Ads.

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.

Casino Host Goals and Host CRM