The Casino and Hotel Disconnect

Janet Hawk Raving NEXT

Are you providing a total guest experience?

How is the connection/communication between the casino and hotel? Marketing and the hotel? What about the PD team and the hotel? This communication is vital, not just for getting information to the guest, but the overall success of the property as a whole! Sometimes the first point of contact is at the hotel check-in. This is an important interaction. Especially for those properties that have a hotel that is run by a third party vendor or doesn’t have a hotel, but has an agreement with an off-property hotel chain. You could be missing several opportunities to sell all the amenities, benefits, events and promotions that your casino has to offer!

The guest experience should always be seamless. The guest doesn’t care who runs what part of the property or who owns what. They just want to have a good time and a great experience. From the moment they arrive on-property until they depart, everyone should be involved with selling everything that the property has to offer and providing the best guest service possible. This is especially important when the hotel is either owned/run by another company or off-property.

As stated above, many times hotel check-in (or valet) is the first point of contact for a guest. They have (hopefully) been trained to ask for the guest’s ID and credit card after a friendly, verbal greeting. But, do they also ask if the guest is a member of the players club? This is an excellent question! Not only will it begin the conversation about the benefits of the players club card and get the guest to sign up for one, but if the guest is already a member, it could remind them of certain benefits that they either forgot about or didn’t know.

A perfect example: we were conducting a guest service training with a new client for two weeks. At this particular property, the hotel is owned and operated by an outside company, different from the casino. We arrived somewhat incognito and pulled up to valet. I was asked if I needed help with my bags and I responded, “yes.” As we went to check in, the bellman, Frankie, collected my bags. I received my keys and looked for Frankie. He introduced himself to me and we headed to the elevators. He asked how long I was staying and immediately followed up with “do you have a players club card?” I didn’t want to blow my cover, so I continued to listen. He then proceeded to explain all the benefits of getting and using the players club card, including discounted rooms, comps, free play offers, and the current truck giveaway. It was awesome! We later met with the executive team and found out that the casino and hotel rarely interacted. It was a complete “us” versus “them” situation. This bellman took it upon himself to “sell” the property as a whole! We were later able to incorporate that into the training.

Here are a few things that will help this process if you find a separation between the hotel and other departments:

1. Is everyone properly trained on how to sell the property?

Proper sales techniques are important. No one wants to be treated like an infomercial participant or like they’re being attacked by a telemarketer or shady used car salesman. There are important methods that need to be used in order to enhance the guest experience, not overwhelm or misinform. This includes how to explain each benefit by tier, promotion and event accurately and effectively, along with the ability to answer any questions the guest may have. Cheat sheets are a MUST!

2. Does everyone have the most up-to-date information?

There is nothing worse than trying to inform a guest about benefits, promotions and events and finding that you are giving incorrect or out-of-date information. Trust will be broken between the guest and the property. Create small promotional cheat sheets that every team member has easy access to, and update them as changes occur. Use pre-shift meetings to reiterate current promotions and/or promotions of the day.

3. Have you cross-trained with the hotel?

This one is a little difficult, but the outcome is amazing! I personally did this in order to better understand how my decisions and requests as a host affected those other departments, specifically the hotel. There seemed to be a serious breakdown in communication between PD and the hotel at one property I worked at in my career. So, I arranged with the hotel manager to do some cross-training. This was an eye-opening and valuable experience! I learned why the hotel would get frustrated when I asked for an early check-in or late checkout. The hotel team learned why I asked for these and other special preferences. We were able to work out some compromises and processes that worked well for each department and, ultimately, our guest!

4. Are you all on the same page with guest service?

In those cases where the hotel is either run by an outside management company or owned and operated by a third party vendor, it is vital that both executive management teams share a common guest service vision. If one succeeds, the other will. Even when it is a situation where the hotel is an off-property agreement. Make sure to take the time to discuss the guest experience so that both parties can best take care of the guest while on-site, as well as SELL all the amenities and benefits that each property has to offer. I once used an off-property hotel that had a wonderful points program, so we would get our guests to sign up for that program and the hotel helped get sign-ups for our players club! You scratch our back, we will scratch yours! Both win!

Keep in mind that we are promoting a total guest experience, so whenever we fully leverage our benefits to make each guest’s visit something special, we are doing just that! The more the guest understands what we have, the better that experience can be and THAT will result in more visits, more revenue. Selling the property is everyone’s job, not just marketing or the players club. Let’s get everyone onboard and make it fun!

Janet Hawk