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8 Ways to define a strong Work Ethic?

This morning, I was listening to Gary Vee talk about having a strong work ethic, and that all successful people have, to quote Gary, worked their face off‘.

I was thinking about that. I don’t want to work my face off, if that means working 18 hours a day, every day.

I want to have time away from work, I want to enjoy all aspects of my life, and I want to be healthy physically, emotionally, and socially.

But I’m not lazy. I do have a strong work ethic.

So what do I mean when I say that I have a strong work ethic? What is my definition?

  1.  Each day, I complete whatever has to be truly done that day. This means that I have to be very clear about ‘importance’. (If I tried to finish everything on my ToDo list then I would never stop working; just like the washing up, those new Todos pile up as quickly as I put the old ones away.) So I am brutal about deciding what has to be done that day and I will work late into the night if necessary.
  2. Each day includes the weekends and holidays. We work with Player Development teams across the three time-zones. And Casino Hosts work on weekends and holidays; they don’t all take off on July 4th, or Dec 25th, or Dec 31st. So my work ethic does include being available to our support team, and to our clients, when they truly need me, 24 x 7. Notice the word truly!
  3. I do everything that I don’t want to do. There are many things, large and small, that I don’t want to do. Like a toddler! I don’t want to! But I have learned to recognize that feeling, let myself be unhappy, and then buckle down and get them done. If I procrastinate and put them off, then they are living in the back of my mind and making me miserable. If I step up and get them finished, then they are gone. (I didn’t expect so many positive aspects of Yoga. I think the regular practice of Yoga trains the mind to understand the emotion, and then move beyond it.)
  4. I am fearless. Part of a strong work ethic, is to be able to ‘do what needs to be done’ regardless of one’s fear. Back in my 20’s and 30’s, I used to live with a lot of  fear, and I made a mess of so many situations. But now I live by the rule ‘Challenge your limits, don’t limit your challenges‘. If I fail at something then it doesn’t matter because certain people still love me. And, of course, if I make a mistake then I will say so, and own it, because integrity is key in business.
  5. I am disciplined. Four months ago, I decided to start writing articles and books, and sharing much of what I have learned from working with some fabulous Player Development professionals over the years. I decided to write one article a week; and here I am writing this. I don’t always “want to” but I do it, because that is my weekly discipline. And I managed to write my first book, Casino Host Goals: a Strategic Approach to Player Development, by carving out one hour a day for what seemed like forever!
  6. I am organized. I maintain three Todo lists. One is for my personal life, one is for Harvest Trends now, and one is for Harvest Trends future. Each morning, I review each list (and yes, these are hand-written on paper, using my Dad’s Parker Pen and real ink. People are often amazed that I don’t use a software tool but, because I knock these things out, they don’t grow into long lists.) I pick 3 items to be completed today; that way, there is plenty of room for the other tasks that pop up during the day and must be knocked back. I think of incoming tasks/emails as if they were ping-pong balls, and I am an Ace table tennis player! I want to knock those little white balls back over the net as they arrive, and not have them all land on the floor around my desk.
  7. I am constantly reading, listening and learning. To me, part of having a strong work ethic, is to work on myself as much as my ‘job’. I multi-task this into my life. For example, I listen to motivational speeches while I am getting ready in the morning, or if I am working on a task that does not require much mental attention. And I am always, always, always thinking. I will see an article on a completely different industry and I will be thinking about what it means to Player Development. So, yes, I am a little obsessed in that way!
  8. I work a lot of hours. And yes, I do work a lot of hours. Ha ha! But I don’t work my face off so I won’t become a billionaire and that’s just fine.

How do we transform the Gaming Industry, Gary Vee?

Jmovies2

Jimmy Compton, PD at 7 Clans, started a conversation in the Player Development Association about millennials and what will attract them to Casinos…

…I reluctantly went to the Cinema last night (Book Club) for the first time in 5+ years.

Why reluctant? I hate having to get there early to be sure of a good seat alongside my friends, and to avoid being stuck between strangers. I don’t want to drink a soda in the evening, I want a glass of wine. And I hate having to scrunch into my seat to let people go by.

I’d rather sit at home and obsessively watch Gary Vee videos on YouTube with a glass of Tempranillo. (More of Gary Vee later…)

What a surprise! My friend had purchased our tickets on-line and we had assigned seats. There was a bar in the foyer! And my seat was as comfy as a first-class airline seat, and even reclined. If you are thinking ‘of course’ then you can appreciate how long it has been since I went.

After the movie, I started to relate this experience back to Jimmy’s questions and to our Casino industry…

The Cinema of my youth had lines around the block and could cram the audience into small seats, narrow rows, and a large auditorium showing one movie. ‘Going to the Movies’ was THE exciting outing, and the Cinema did not have to compete with other forms of entertainment; in fact it closed down a lot of live entertainment.

Now we have so much choice of entertainment and even from the comfort of our own home. So why go out at all, and why pick the cinema? Why go out, and why pick the casino?

I was impressed how the cinema has been re-envisaged and transformed. Smaller auditoriums, multiple choice of movies, comfortable seats, alcohol, and assigned seats.

How are we going to re-envisage the casino experience? I don’t mean add more amenities and provide free wifi. How will we transform the casino experience?

How do we capitalize on Gamers that will go online and book a time-slot in an amazing 3D technology experience with their friends, and pay for additional virtual experiences while they play? Isn’t the Casino the natural venue for all kinds of amazing 3D and VR technology that is too big for my front room?

Where are the fun robots that roam the floor and you can interact with them? Not to replace the staff – but to add some buzz!

How do we tie into the anticipation of the new Marvel film and not wait for a themed slot machine emerges? A millennial will not be excited about a Marvel slot machine. But they might have come to an event with costumed actors who will pose for photos, while you play the free trailers on big screens. Perhaps you install a small but amazing auditorium and groups can rent the space?

I went to see the Book Club which is aimed at the 50+ female market that maps really well to the demographic of a slot player. How do we get small groups of women to come to the Casino and re-live the movie in a VIP event? Set up an area with video clips playing from the Movie and serve wine and Tapas?

It’s not just about millennials. Why did I go to the Book Club? Because of video clips on Facebook that were targeted at me based on my gender and age. Everyone is on social media, and staring at their phone.

Which leads me to Direct Mail; I know that you go home, throw away your physical mail, and then pick up your phone. Part of this transformation of our industry will be to abandon the postage stamp, and throw ourselves fully into Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube, and whatever comes next. Is your casino doing that? I don’t mean dabbling in social media, I mean throwing away the postage stamp, and going 100% into social media.

And if Player Development is supposed to be a 1:1 relationship with the guest then social media is even more important! But do you have handcuffs on how much you can use Instagram and Snapchat as an Executive Host?

(Someone should please invite Gary Vaynerchuk to speak at G2E! Gary Vee is making his fortune explaining to industries like ours that we are completely missing the boat on social media. Here’s an intro. Put up with the profanity and listen to the end.)

And how was the Book Club? It was good but it failed to take full advantage of some amazing actors.

And will I go back to the Cinema? Absolutely!

****
You can join the Casino Player Development Association (C-PDA) via Linked In. Connect with me and I will invite you.

Join the Casino Player Development Association!

You are interested in Player Development so join the new, and growing, Casino Player Development Association (C-PDA)!

Together, we will:

  • Provide a support mechanism for all Player Development  professionals.
  • Share education, ideas, challenges and solutions.
  • Find out about new opportunities.
  • Promote Player Development as a Profession.

The C-PDA has started as a group on Linked In. This is just the first step in building out a professional association, so you will get in from the start.

On LinkedIn, please connect to JZ or Jackie, with a note that you want to join the C-PDA, and we will invite you into the Group!

Jatonia Ziegler (JZ), PlayerSoft

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jatonia-ziegler-938403a/

Jackie Parker, Harvest Trends

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jackieparker/

Be a part of PD Nation!

Download Casino VIP Host Interview Questions

Do you need some questions to ask a Casino Host during the interview?

(If you haven’t read this related article, then take a look at 6 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A CASINO HOST NEW HIRE The interview questions are based on the ideas in this article about what to look for when hiring a Casino Host. So read the article to see if you agree to why you would ask these questions.)

You can download this in MS Word format and change it to meet your situation:

Host Questionaire MSWord

Or you can download in PDF format if that version of MS Word does not work for you:

Host Questionaire v1

P.S. Do you want to become a Host, and  you are doing research?  Take a look at this information.

 

 

 

What’s your style? Delta or Virgin Atlantic?

Do you dress like the traditional Casino Exec, or do you add your trademark polka dot tie or scarf? Is there a correct and only way to dress, to behave, and to connect with the players?

I fly across the Atlantic a couple of times each year. The Delta crews are immaculately groomed with a permanent soft smile, and a calm, quiet way of moving around the cabin. To the British side of my brain, this is cold and impersonal but I believe they are so well-drilled and competent, that they would handle any emergency mid-flight.

By comparison, the Virgin Atlantic crews appear relaxed, even casual, and share personal stories and jokes as if I were a friend.  Yes, they wear a uniform but it will have a jaunty adjustment and perhaps a small personal addition. To the American side of my brain, they can appear dis-organized and I worry that they would not find the defibrillator in time!

(In the US, we expect customer service to be delivered with the quiet efficiency shown in Downtown Abbey. In contrast, the Brits know that anyone delivering customer service will be as personal and jokey, as if they had just met you in the pub. Despite the stereotype of the British ‘stiff upper lip’, the British guest may find the Delta crew to be aloof, and the American guest may find the Virgin Atlantic crew to be unprofessional.)

I always enjoy these contrasts in the culture of the flight crews as I hurtle in a silver tube between my native land and my adopted USA home. It reminds me that there is no right or wrong way to dress and behave. But! It is very easy to put off a guest who has a rigid expectation of any kind. So, you might want to experiment with lightening up, or tightening up, your style to see what response you get. (While still being sincere to your true nature!)

You may say that your style is fine because your numbers are great and your players all love you. But what does your manager think?

Are you the manager? Have you told Jenny to change her wardrobe, and have you asked Andy to cut out the jokes?

I remember a Director of PD with excellent numbers, and high customer ratings, who was refused a promotion to VP because the GM thought their style was unprofessional. Had the GM ever said anything? No!

As managers, we can believe our expectations are so obvious that any individual who does not conform must be deliberately defiant, or stupid. But no, as a manager, you must be clear if you are expecting Delta, Virgin Atlantic, or any other airline! And, as a PD professional, you should be sure to ask your manager if you are meeting their expectations.

At the end of the day, you only have one Captain of the crew, and they control your flight path to promotion!

****

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Lovely Reminders to Ask Questions

The phrase Emotional Intelligence is thrown around a lot in articles about Player Development. The intelligence to accurately recognize another person’s emotions through their words, body language, and facial expressions. And the intelligence to respond appropriately with our own words, body language and facial control. You can see how appropriate this is to hosting Casino guests. (And if you want to try your hand, then take this quiz!)

Of course, there are tremendous cultural variations in our behavior, that can completely throw off one’s Emotional Radar. I am British, I’ve lived in the US for over 30 years, and I am back in England to take care of my 86 year old Mother after a stroke. As I walk around the town and navigate the shops and the Hospital, I realize every now and then that I have done something slightly inappropriate! I have a strong enough Emotional Radar to pick up on their reaction, but I don’t know my mistake because I have forgotten so many details about how to interact in this culture! Even though I visit twice a year.

However. There is another important component of dealing with others, and that is Respect. I’ve seen how my Mother was treated in the Hospital and now how she is being treated in the Rehabilitation Home, and that is with a great deal of Respect. So the attached picture from Facebook really struck a chord with me. Take a look at this lovely way of using photographs to distinguish between how a person is seen, and how they see themselves.

Many of our most valuable Casino Guests are in the demographic of these pictures (and 20-30 years older than our Hosts!) These guests will greatly appreciate our respect as we take the time to ask about their lives, to hear their stories (perhaps repeated), and thank them for all they bring to this experience of being alive.

(This picture is from https://www.facebook.com/lifeisamessage/photos/a.1744618715782170.1073741846.1432141293696582/1744618822448826/?type=3&theater)

Hustle beats Talent when Talent does not Hustle

I drove past one of those bright yellow signs with black lettering and it read “Hustle beats Talent when Talent does not Hustle.” It really caught my attention and I looked to see what kind of business it was. A Dentist! Now, I am not sure I’d want to go and see a Dental Surgeon that was relying on their Hustle over their Talent, but I still like the phrase.

We can have all the talent in the world but it doesn’t count for anything unless we roll up our sleeves, get to work, and hustle!

This probably struck me hard because I was on my way to a County planning meeting to try to persuade them to make a zoning change so that I could start a new business. I had not thought of myself as hustling, but I was! Putting myself out there and trying to make my vision become a reality.

At Harvest Trends, we have to hustle to get the word out. We might have the best solution for Player Development and we might have passion, but unless we hustle through our marketing efforts then no-one will ever know.

And Player Development professionals have to get out there and hustle every day. A Host can have all the talent in the world; a wonderful way with people, a natural charm, a grasp of every detail of how to analyze and grow a player, and an encyclopedic knowledge of everything gaming.

… but Hustle beats Talent when Talent does not Hustle.

I usually talk about the Strategic Host and the need to take a strategic approach to Player Development. The need to have a PLAN of how the Strategic Host is going to achieve their goals by dividing up their time and acting consistently on the right priorities.

Yes, we have to use our Strategic Talent to analyze our goals, divide up our players into different ‘types’ or ‘segments’, and decide how we are to go about growing their trips and play.

But it is the Hustle that makes us execute our plan!

It is the Hustle that forces us to make those out-bound calls to missing players, to make sure we send 30 letters each and every week, and to start each shift with a list of 3 Key Todos for that day. It is the Hustle that leads us to network with the Pit Boss, the F&B Manager, and the Front Desk so that we can pull strings for our guests. It is the Hustle that gives us the courage to ask our Manager, “Where can I improve?”

Let’s take our Talents and add some Hustle this week!

Drive, and, Host Defensively!

I want to share a story that has been rolling around in my head about Casino Host ethics, integrity, and not crossing the invisible lines.

In the last article, 6 Reasons People Gamble; and Why a Host Should Care, I wrapped up with this thought: ‘Are you a friend? Of course not. Don’t get too friendly or you can easily cross a line that leads to no end of trouble for you.’

An Executive shared an old story with me regarding a Host who crossed a line and ended up in trouble. It involved a Host becoming ‘too friendly’ with some guests and going off-premise to join them for food and drinks. Because, of course, the Host could not drink on property. An F&B Manager was aware of this, and even ended up joining the group off-property! The story did not end well, and it raised all kinds of HR issues about Who Said What, and Who Knew What, and What Really Happened.

In my own professional life, I have found myself in a bad situation where it was all about ‘My Word against Their Word’ but it was a fellow employee and not a customer. If you are the employee and ‘they’ are the customer, then you are immediately less likely to be believed.

And even if you are believed, there is still the terrible PR issue of the customer’s complaint. The Casino must take responsibility for your actions, or perceived actions, and the Casino must clean up the mess. So, you are going to be in big trouble.

Let’s go back to this story.

tsaThe F&B Manager should have known better because a Manager must be even more Squeaky Clean than an individual contributor.

The F&B Manager should have told the Host to cut it out and, if the activity continued, the F&B Manager should have told the PD Manager.

As the TSA poster says, ‘If you see something, say something”.

Both the Host and the Manager should have thought a little more deeply about why they cannot drink on their own Property. It is not to be mean. It is because alcohol removes inhibitions and even if the employee can hold their drink, it doesn’t mean that the customer can. You drive defensively, watching out the other idiots who may run a light, not give a turn signal, or text and drive. As a Casino Host, you must work and live defensively, watching out for customers or fellow employees who might cross a line and drag you with them.

  • How might it look if you are drinking off-property with a VIP customer?
  • How might it look if you are up alone in the Penthouse with a group of guests drinking? Take someone with you!

Here’s the brutal reality. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, it matters how it could be interpreted.

Of course, on property, you have the added protection of cameras so if a customer, or employee, accuses you of impropriety then Surveillance might be able to pull the tapes. Off-property, you don’t that extra layer of protection.

And what about off-hours? Does the Casino own your entire life and so you cannot go bar-hopping or dancing? Well, for one, it probably depends where you live and how likely you are to run into your Coded Players! And what about friends? Can the Casino tell you that customers cannot become friends? Lovers? Of course not, and of course it is going to happen in some cases.

The point is that you must Host defensively. Tell your Manager as soon as there is any reason to do so. Just so they are not taken off-guard and, perhaps, they can re-code the guest. I remember being told “I cannot tell my Manager because this high value player is a married woman’. Well, don’t be having an affair with a married woman, let alone the best slot player!

And as for friends… We all have friends, and we might have friends that play in the Casino. But if your fellow Host meets a bunch of party animals in the Casino and follows them off-site to hang out with them… then those are not their friends! The motive was not friendship but a good time, and parties can go sour. If you See Something, Say Something!

It is all about perception and managing perception. Last night’s news was all about the revelation that Michel Cohen named Sean Hannity was a client. Sean Hannity says he was not a client. It is a ‘Him against Him’ story. But Sean Hannity has spent the week lambasting the FBI raid on Michael Cohen while pressuring Cohen to keep him out of the story. My point is that I don’t know the truth; I just know that Sean Hannity is now dealing with a major news story because he tried to avoid disclosing a minor news story.

Did the PD Manager know about the Host going off-property and whooping it up with guests? If so, they should have Said Something but perhaps they dismissed it as harmless or just gossip. By avoiding that minor conversation with the Host, the PD Manager was pulled into an HR nightmare.

If you See something, Say something! First to the person themselves and then, if necessary, to management. It may be embarrassing or difficult to speak to someone about their behavior, or a rumor of their behavior, but it will be MUCH worse when you get pulled into HR, or the Gaming Authority, to explain what you knew and when.

A Casino Resort has a dangerous mix of heady-entertainment, alcohol, hotel bedrooms, and Casino Hosts have the extra burden of having to be ‘nice’ to guests. So, Drive and Host Defensively!

Online class – How to Become a Casino Host

Take a short on-line training class in How To Become a Casino Host.

Poker_becomehost25pcUnderstand the job. Polish your resume. Prepare your answers. And Ace the Interview!

Use Promo Code HIAPD for 25% discount to only $12

And that includes one free review of your Resume. You can study the class over and over; there is no time limit.

Click here to see the Lesson Plan! Don’t forget Promo Code HIAPD for your 25% discount.

small ladyYou don’t work in a Casino? Take the class if you are in a customer-facing role with some kind of sales component. Are you a Realtor? Working in a Bank? Selling some kind of face-to-face product? Casino’s do hire hosts from other industries. This class will teach you how to transfer your skills into the world of the Casino Host.

10 Traits of Successful Hosts

Being a good casino host takes a lot of varied skills.

    • You have to be a god communicator, both written and verbal.
    • You have to quickly weigh circumstances and crunch numbers to make decisions, the results of which your players will take personally.
    • You have to develop real working relationships with people around the casino to help you meet your guests’ needs in addition to the relationships you’ll need to build with the guests themselves.
    • You have to be ever mindful of the policies, procedures, regulatory concerns, ethical considerations and other guidelines by which you have to conduct your business.
    • You have to think like an entrepreneur, to develop your book of business, while abiding with your casino’s rules for reinvestment.

Here are Ten Traits that will help you to succeed:

  1. Understand what your customer want – and Share The Knowledge! Think for a moment about the things you hear over and over again in conversations with your players.  These are common themes, and it’s likely that your players have discussed their feelings about your program with one another as well. Are they getting more free play from your competitors?  Since there’s not much you can do about that, remind them that you provide them extra “value” for their visits by making it easier for them to make room or dinner reservations.  Do they tell you that they don’t like your promotions?  Get specifics and pass them along to the pertinent associates in your marketing department in order to provide those folks the direction they need to make those promotions more appealing. Share what you learn in order to keep your casino ahead of the curve.
  2. Know how to say “no” and make it sound like “yes.”  This concept suggests that you can share with them what they need to do in order to get what they want.  Rather than shut them down as soon as they ask for something not warranted by their play, tell them how much they’ll have to play in order to earn the thing they want.  Remember to look at spouse play or other mitigating factors (how frequently they customarily visit, whether they likely visit competitor properties, recent illnesses or bad weather, etc.) in your calculations.  Then tell them how many points or trips or comps they will have to earn (or make) to qualify.  Put the ball back in the player’s court, so to speak, and then the “no” doesn’t have to be spoken.  Empower the guest to earn what’s necessary to have their wish fulfilled.
  3. Understand how your property’s direct mail program works.  This single accomplishment will enable you to more profitably manage your player list.  If the guest has hotel coupons that haven’t yet been redeemed, offer to make the reservation for them using the coupon.  (If your property requires that the actual coupon be surrendered upon check-in, remind the guest to bring it to the hotel desk.)  Understanding your mail program helps you better address player concerns when their offers change, too.  And you’ll get that question a lot.
  4. Don’t over invest. When the guest asks for a steakhouse reservation, look at their offers and determine whether they want this meal in addition to what their coupons provide and decide if the comp is warranted on top of the other offers they might redeem during the trip.  If they’ve got an offer for 2 (two) show tickets and they want 4 (four) seats for an upcoming show, look at recent play to see if the add-on is warranted.  (Maybe they had a big loss since the offers mailer…or maybe they didn’t.)
  5. Make breaking (or bending) a rule a last resort.  Once you’ve broken a rule to accommodate a guest’s wishes, you’ve actually established a new rule.  The guest will likely come to expect a similar accommodation in the future unless you tactfully communicate to him that this is a one-time only situation.  As other players hear about the special favor you’ve done (and they will!), some of them are likely to ask you for similar consideration due to their own extenuating circumstances.  It can be a slippery slope, so it’s probably best to avoid the trip down the hill.
  6. Pass along player comments to your team leader.  Whether you know it or not, your team leader is probably going to follow up on the information you share.  Often, managers and directors are so busy with the day-to-day tasks of their own jobs, as well as the occasional firefight, that they don’t get to talk with guests and learn what is important or vexing to them.  In your role as a host, players will often share their frustrations or delights with you.  Close the feedback loop by sharing this information with your boss in order to ensure the guests concerns are at least within his awareness.
  7. Always maintain confidentiality.  It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget who is around you when you are speaking with co-workers or even other guests.  If you are going to be talking about specific player patterns or proprietary company information, always ensure you are in an area away from guests as well as employees who do not have access to the information you are sharing.  Never reveal things like ADT ranges or levels, customer losses, company policies and procedures, or sensitive information like room numbers or addresses.  When speaking with a customer directly, use generalizations or anecdotes to share pertinent information without going into specifics…unless you are talking about that guest’s own play patterns.  Even then, only use points or another metric which the customer can plainly see for himself to make your point.
  8. Never let ’em see you sweat!  Even when you’re running around the casino like a madman on a Saturday night, take your time to walk through the gaming areas, keeping in mind that the guests may take a cue from your behavior.  Walk with a purpose, but like you own the place.  Even when you’re on your way to a firefight, take advantage of opportunities to briefly “touch” players you know and make a mental note to get back to them when you have a moment.  Be calm and plan your next move instead of being buffeted by the tides of a busy casino floor.  Better yet, plan your day ahead of time.  Build in a buffer to accommodate the unexpected, and you’ll accomplish more.
  9. Don’t come out of the gate with an offer.  When you approach those players on the gaming floor, or when you reach one by phone, don’t automatically offer free play or a buffet comp.  Player development is about relationships, and it isn’t your job to be Santa Claus.  Talk with the guest.  Learn why he visits your property instead of a competitor’s.  Find out why he doesn’t like the buffet or never brings his wife with him.  Make a connection instead of an offer.  When you do this via telemarketing, you’ll often find that the overdue or inactive guest will make a visit to your property within a couple of weeks even if you didn’t sweeten the deal with something extra in the way of perks.  Just having you as their host will often keep your property top of mind, so touching base will sometimes generate a visit on its own.
  10. Never forget who you work for and who provides the dollars in your paycheck.  These entities are not one and the same.   You work for the casino, but the players provide the dollars in your paycheck.  It can create a balancing act for you, because sometimes what the player wants is at odds with what the company says you can provide.  Making sound business decisions is the hallmark of a good casino host.  Therefore, you must always balance the guest’s needs with the company’s success.  Paying a player to patronize your casino is never a good idea, because you haven’t actually secured their loyalty…and that’s ultimately what your job really is.

It’s not a job for the faint of heart!