Resort Operations vs. Gaming

Hotel Bar

Why can’t we just get along?

Silos are created and business breaks down when the entire team doesn’t understand the holistic goal. Too often you will hear:

  • “The Slots team thinks they run the property.”
  • “The Table Games team has it easy. Slots does all the work.”
  • “The Hotel team keeps trying to put rules on us when booking our players.”
  • “The bar is too loud and just wants to cater to the locals.”
  • “The hotel wants to charge me too much for a VIP player.”
  • “The restaurant doesn’t cater to my players and makes them wait.”
  • “HR makes it so difficult for me to hire new staff.”
  • “Marketing only wants to focus on slot promotions.”

Property leadership can fix this problem with a series of educational sessions to share the business goals and how each team fits into the success or failure of the entire operation. Also, it is important that departmental focus and goals be about the holistic direction of the property and not just traditional individual departmental goals.

This can be illustrated in a simple exercise in the hotel division where traditional goals are measured on average rate (ADR), occupancy and revenue per available room (RevPAR). Although these are good measurements of performance, it is more important that the hotel operators have an asterisk with these measurements when they sacrifice rate to accommodate players important to the gaming divisions, where the impact to the overall property is much more significant than yielding room rates traditionally.

In addition, check-in and check-out times, credit, reservation lead and cancel timelines, as well as holding out the best rooms are necessary for player development of VIP players. Once hotel leadership has been released of the traditional curbs in operating the hotel, they will be more willing to work with the other divisions and start to treat the comp player who was placed in the nicest suite at the last minute, as important and less of a frustrating inconvenience.

This goes both ways. Filling the hotel with the highest or best yielded rated business is the primary goal of the hotel team. With competition and third party Online Travel Agents (OTAs) being so pervasive, the hotel team must work even harder to obtain and retain guests, while maximizing rate and occupancy. There should be an asterisk or understanding that these metrics are a good tool to show performance, but they may not tell the complete picture, as lower rates could be due to accommodating rated players who dramatically impact the gaming division’s profitability.

These “awareness sessions” also have a positive impact on other divisions playing nicely in the sandbox and staying focused on the greater goal, while appreciating the difficulty that each division shares daily.

  • Bars only do well when they are exciting and have enough volume to overcome the labor burden. Promotions to the locals and driving new clientele are important tools, however they may not drive any additional play on the gaming floor. The promotions also may not serve the gaming message. A collaborative discussion between the gaming team, marketing and F&B will help develop promotions that may serve both. Weekly promotions to entice players to participate in the F&B outlets, where either the music, offering or other entertainment is catered to their specific demographic. This creates a win-win focus between gaming and non-gaming teams.
  • Restaurants with long lines of non-rated or noncarded guests, requiring rated players to wait in a traditional system is dangerous as well. Paging systems and a VIP line can solve this problem if implemented with a greater understanding of the shared goal. Modifying food offerings to cater to the player in a non-traditional manner is crucial. Onehanded menus for slot players to eat at the machines, quick service for those wanting fuel to continue playing, and room service style food for poker guests to enjoy while they play.
  • Support departments can benefit from these shared sessions as well by understanding and being empathetic about how difficult it is for each department to function in a casino environment. Human Resources, Finance, Marketing and Administration are all very impactful to the success of the overall property and individual divisions. Their internal customer needs are essential to serving “our” external guests. Ultimately, we are all serving the membership needs, and our work is very important in providing the services and amenities needed to keep a tribe healthy.

So … what do you need to do?

It starts at the top. Begin with the leadership team meetings and get buy-in from every division leader. Then continue to have “awareness sessions” with every department head and every team member. Make them fun and informative. Show the line team exactly how their work impacts the success of the overall property.

Goals should be modified and “asterisks” provided about evaluation of metrics to show the importance of this new focus.

Essentially, I believe that with good conversation and understanding of each of the roles on-property and how they impact the common goal, silos will be eliminated and a cohesive team can be created.

You will see that in doing this, teams are happier and more focused on the common goal, and casino profits will increase.

Brett L. Magnan