Are they? Really? One of our most popular blog posts is “6 Tasks You Shouldn’t Find in a Casino Host Job Description.” It is popular because hosts being hosts doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. How do I know? I’ve lived it.
When I got my first casino job, as a host, I was often very busy, but not driving revenue for the property. That wasn’t the role of a host in those days (in many regional markets, anyway). I was what my boss at the time called “Mr. Mikey,” meaning I drew names and announced promotional winners as often as every hour some days. I handed out paper drawing entries. I worked at the Plateau Players Club. I ran slot tournaments and paid the winners. I ferried comp slips around and I chatted with people at slot machines. I didn’t do a lot to drive revenue in the sense you think of today.
Years later, when I became responsible for a host team of my own, the scope of their responsibilities began to shift to what you expect is the norm. Instead of sitting at a table handling Blackjack tournament registrations, the hosts were being asked to drive revenue in conjunction with the marketing machine, utilizing the personal touch. It was difficult to prioritize the activities of the team to enable them to be successful in this new role without finding a way to shift some responsibilities elsewhere. Ultimately, it took two additional people to do the promotions and events tasks that the hosts had been handling, but the revenue the team drove more than made up for the extra labor cost.
Interestingly, balancing a host’s priorities is a more common challenge in 2014 than you might expect. Today, there are hosts who sit at a desk and return “Why didn’t I get coupons?” calls or enter hotel reservations into the computer system. Hosts give away cars and do jackpot announcements. Hosts get called to resolve service issues for players who aren’t likely to ever be hosted. They “pit clerk” so they can make an informed comp decision. But they’re not driving revenue. Not like they should. Your hosts should have a fairly narrow focus.
Even if there are extraneous tasks that the property really needs them to handle, anything that keeps the hosts from connecting with (and driving more play from) your best players should be kept to a minimum. If you are short-staffed at the Players Club, talk to your counterparts about cross-training some of their part-timers as back-up club reps instead of using a host. If you don’t have a dedicated promotions team, rotate marketing staff to minimize the impact of drawings and giveaways when it’s likely to be prime casino floor hunting time. If those aren’t viable options, talk to HR for help with a long-term solution instead of relying on the hosts to do tasks that really don’t help them achieve their revenue-driving potential.
Long story short, the hosts ought to be spending the vast majority of their time focused on communicating with and driving visits from your best players. Identify the players, whether at risk, new with potential, or recently lost. Produce a snapshot of their worth, then show your boss the number. Let him know how much higher that number can be if the hosts can be protected from distractions. Work together with your boss and team leaders in other operational departments to establish some boundaries to enable the hosts to focus on their work. Set the goals, monitor them relentlessly, keep the team on track, and move the needle.
More than ever, your Player Development team can have an impact on your property’s bottom line. It’s not necessary to increase your reinvestment (in many cases) to retain most of your very best players. It is, however, necessary to differentiate yourself from your competitors in some way to give you the edge when your guests are deciding where to wind down next time they want to play. It’s Player Development’s role to provide your best guests with a resource to clear the way to an enjoyable and rewarding casino experience. Doing this well with as many of your best players as possible is beneficial to the bottom line.
Your hosts need to be free to provide their personalized service to as many of your players of highest worth as possible. In order to make it happen, you have to get everyone on board with the notion that they are hosts. They’re not Managers on Duty, not Customer Service ambassadors, not promotion attendants or pit clerks. Hosts. On the floor. On the phone. Driving revenue.
Then they can move the needle.
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