Tag Archives: personalize offers

A High Roller Told Me

What things do casinos do that make their high rollers crazy?

I had the opportunity recently to become re-acquainted with a gentleman I’d met some months ago. His wife is my friend’s sister, and my friend kept telling me that her brother-in-law and I needed to have a chat about his casino experiences so that I could gain a deeper insight into the player’s mind. As a Casino Player Development pro, this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

This gentleman is the sort of blackjack player most any casino would be happy to have. He’s worth millions in gaming revenue each year, and he is fully aware of the fact that the odds are in the house’s favor. He’s a methodical player who is willing to play a higher minimum per hand in order to keep less experienced players off his table. Let’s put it this way: if he loses, it might mean that table games hits their number for the day, but if he wins it won’t tank the day’s drop. He is looking for the gambling plus a high roller experience that he can share with people who are important to him. If the value is there, he doesn’t so much mind leaving some of his hard-earned dollars behind at the end of his visit.

We sat down in his suite at a Mississippi Gulf Coast casino last week, and after I’d given him a quick breakdown of my experience and my current role, I asked him what casinos do that makes him crazy. This man delighted me by answering that question and then following up with examples of things they do right. I was delighted because many of the things he says are done right are all foundational concepts in casino player development. Basically, this high roller confirmed what I believed to be true about how a strong PD team can contribute to a property’s bottom line.

Since this was where we started the conversation, it’s where I’ll start:

What’s Wrong?

  • Casinos send offers in the mail that aren’t remotely of interest to the player. This player only plays blackjack, but more than one casino sends him slot free play every month. He’s not a tournament player, but his ADT is high enough that he receives multiple invitations to blackjack tournaments. He’d love it if you’d send him something that is meaningful to him instead, and he knows the information necessary to make that happen is in your system somewhere, if you’d only leverage it.
  • Rewards programs veiled in smoke and mirrors. As a player who keeps track of his spend, this gentleman already has a good idea what he’s worth to the casino, and he expects that his rewards will be in alignment with his worth.  It should be easy to tell a patron how many points he needs to earn to advance to a higher tier, whether or not he can receive a comp based on his play, and what his average bet and time played are in the system. If it’s too complicated for your employees to explain, it’s probably too complicated.
  • Being made to haggle over comps. To his point, this guest understands how the system works. He told me about an experience at another South Mississippi casino where he had to make a case for getting a pack of cigarettes comped. He was frustrated by this because he’d just dropped roughly $15,000 at a single blackjack table in a few hours and felt like he was being made to beg for a comp he had surely earned. FYI: He doesn’t go to that casino any more.
  • Employees who don’t have access to pertinent player information. When this guy asks for anything, he anticipates that he has earned it and that his request will be granted. He expects that when a host approaches him, that host will know who he is, how much he’s played, and what rewards are available to him because of that information. He even suggested that hosts should have a smartphone app which would enable them to quickly access such information wherever they are in order to provide the best possible personalized service.
  • Casinos who forget who pays their bills. The casino this patron frequents near his home has recently made some changes that make him feel as though his long-term (and significant) patronage is no longer appreciated. He went from having an executive host who anticipated his needs to having a junior host who will have to call him back when he wants a room or show tickets. Remember, this patron is worth literally millions in gaming spend. But this property is apparently trying to attract even bigger players, and in the process is likely to lose many like this man, who would help to balance the scales when a bigger player wins.
  • Failing to get the details right. When I talked with this player, we were sitting at the dining room table in his suite, smoking cigarettes while we talked. He was staying in a non-smoking suite despite the fact that he’s a smoker…whose cigaretters are sometimes comped by the property. While the casino hotel operator in me cringed, I thought, if you know he’s a smoker and you put him in a non-smoking suite, shouldn’t you expect him to smoke in it?
  • Sharing the high roller experience with players of opportunity. He related a story from his “home” casino where he headed to the pool only to find it closed for a private party being held for a lower card tier than his. It was exclusive to those patrons who had that level of player’s card. He thought this was a good idea, because he saw the promise of aspirational play from those patrons who attended the party. He wasn’t even annoyed that he couldn’t use the pool because he understood the business reasons for having the party.
  • Hosts who understand and anticipate his needs. His wife isn’t a gambler, but she is definitely interested in the pool, the spa, some of the shows, and the restaurants at the casinos they visit. His host here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast does a pretty good job of keeping track of the things this player will want during a weeklong trip, and she even goes so far as to alert associates in other departments when he (or his wife) is going to be utilizing their services. The special personal touches this property provides mean this player will return again and introduce people in his life to the benefits his play earns. He may take 4 extra people to the steakhouse or ask to exceed the usual number of cabana guests, but his play warrants that and his host doesn’t make him ask: she offers what she knows he will want.
  • Protecting the player’s benefits from unauthorized use. On the flip side of the coin, the casino in question always asks for ID or a room key before anyone redeems or room charges anything. His wife kept her maiden name, so she is sometimes asked to provide identification to ensure that she is who she says she is. While I was with them, the service was exceptional and included accommodation when she didn’t have her driver’s license readily available. She told me about her first visit to the spa where a new employee didn’t recognize her. After a quick call to the player’s host to verify his wife’s bona fides, her request was handled efficiently and professionally, and she appreciated the extra effort required to ensure that her husband’s (and, by extension, her) benefits were being protected.

All in all, I’d say the casino where I talked with this patron gets about an 8.5 out of 10 for their handling of this high roller and his expectations. He agreed that they get it right more often than many of the other casinos he’s visited. That tendency to get it right more often than not has earned that property this high roller’s loyalty and repeat business.

Amy Hudson

Link in with me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/hudsonamy/

What if you could build and measure your DREAM PD Program?

Have you ever taken the time to sit back and really daydream about what you would do in your PD program if there were no constraints? If you could have the answer to any question you have about your host team’s work, their player lists, their productivity, and what the team is actually doing for your bottom line, what would you build?

Having spent nearly 18 years in Casino Player Development, working as an ambassador, host, promotions administrator, tournament official, club manager, and finally director of many things marketing, I know “the struggle is real”. I remember having to practically beg the database guy to run a list for me, then I’d have to spend hours combing through it to kick out the one-trip wonders,remove the folks I knew had passed away since the last list build, plus I had to try to remember which players had relationships with which host…AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

The best marketer I ever worked for challenged me to run my PD program based on what the analysis told me. And while I certainly saw the sense in the suggestion, I had no way to truly analyse the program in order to do what this challenge laid out. We had two database gurus, and they were always too busy to help me. Director or not, my requests always ended up in line behind (all things) direct mail, promotion analysis, ad hoc reports requested by finance or the GM, and nearly everything else these busy guys did every day. Without the occasional fulfilled request for something I could update and run for myself (usually excel riddled with macros and connected to a backup database so we didn’t take down the casino floor by running a report), I was flying nearly blind and spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get answers to my many questions.

But that was then: olden times, as the youngsters say. (You know, before phones were handheld computers…) Now things are different.

What if you could easily ensure that the players coded to your hosts were worthy of that honor? Then, what if you could determine how many other players were in need of a host’s service and could round-robin assign them with a few clicks or by sending an e-mail?

What if you could set daily or weekly tasks that rolled up into monthly or quarterly goals? How about being able to see some progress to goals in real time, and getting a full update every single day? What would you think if the hosts received the same update every day so they could self-correct and make adjustments to achieve their goals in a proactive way?

What if someone told you that all of this (and more) are possible without the need to ask your IT or database teams for assistance every time you have a question? What if you could find these answers for yourself with just a few clicks?

What if your hosts could enter a player contact on the fly or update preferences while they are on the phone so you could personalize the offers that go out to your best and most loyal patrons? Better yet, what if you could see in real time how your hosts are progressing to achieving the goals and objectives you’ve assigned to them?

Wanna hear the best part? You can have all this (and more!) without having to purchase expensive hardware or software. It’s a service that can be completely automated, and it’s available for an affordable monthly fee per user. We’re talking hundreds, not many thousands of dollars. Plus, there’s no contractual obligation, no long-term commitment, and no risk.

It is possible to build the Player Development program of your dreams. It’s also possible to monitor, measure and report on the results of that program.