Developing Your Player Development Team

Team Building

Three ways to keep enthusiasm from turning to frustration

Being a host isn’t the easiest job in the world. Don’t get me wrong, in the many years that I have been in the business, I have met some of the best people, experienced some amazing things, and been a part of some really inspiring teams. But, being the liaison between the casino and the guest can be stressful.

Hosts are torn between taking care of the guest’s needs while keeping the bosses happy (being profitable) – not always an easy task! From the outside, it appears that the hosts have it made! Give away “free” stuff, easy hours, appreciative guests, no stress, no pressure, right? Nothing could be further from the truth!

It takes a lot of time and effort to get to know your guests. We are in the entertainment business, and much like a trip to Disney, our guests want the show, but don’t want to see the mechanics of how it works. They just wanna have fun, forget the troubles in their world, and connect with others. While the PD team is doing this for their guests, they are juggling the needs/wants/expectations of management. This can be a difficult and frustrating task.

So, how can you help your PD team stay enthusiastic and focused? Below are three ways that I have found to be beneficial in achieving a positive, productive and effective team.

1. Schedule Regular Meetings with Marketing

While Marketing and PD are related, many times they don’t always communicate or collaborate. While the management of both departments may meet, it is essential that the hosts, those who have the most contact with your guests, be included in the process.

With the PD team being so close to your guests, this collaboration is important to having successful promotions and events. This is not only important as you plan your upcoming calendar, but crucial to post-event/promotion evaluation. What did the guests like about a particular promotion, what didn’t they like, what do they want to see in a promotion? This is valuable information! Marketing can also use this collaboration to help create host-specific events that help foster the relationship between the host and their guests. When the PD team has a voice in the planning of promotions and events, it makes the sales part of their job that much easier.

2. Utilize Specialized Reports

Depending on the size of the casino, the hosts may have a rather large book of business (guests coded to a particular host). It is so easy to get tied up with those guests who are more high maintenance or high frequency. A host can be so busy digging the ditch, so to speak, that they forget to look up and see where they are going or what they are missing. Specialized reports that focus on the four key strategies of Player Development (Acquisition, Retention, Growth and Reactivation) are extremely important to keeping hosts focused and productive. This is especially true for those casinos that aren’t lucky enough to have access to a CRM system. Below are a few of the reports that I have found to be really helpful in achieving this goal:

Red Light, Green Light Report
This is essentially a color-coded 30/60/90-day report of each host’s list of coded guests. Guests in green have played within 30 days. Guests who have played from 31-90 days are listed in yellow. Finally, any guests who have not played in 91+ days will be listed in red. An updated list will be given each month as a tool for the host to use in order to keep up with those coded guests, with the focus being on those in the yellow and red zones.

New Member Report
With new guests coming into the casino every day, it is difficult to always catch those who have the potential to be loyal to your facility and introduce them to your sales team. Most casinos have DM programs and promotions for new members, but most are impersonal. How awesome would it be for a new guest to receive a personal introduction letter or call from a host offering their services? Set the parameters in such a way that you capture not only the high-end players, but those in the meaty middle.

Development Report
There is always a great deal of “low-hanging fruit” in any database. Those guests who are loyal, but not heavy hitters. They usually fall in that area we call the “meaty middle,” which I referred to above. High frequency guests with a lower theo that are often overlooked. Perhaps they divide their wallet share between several casinos. A little attention can increase their play at your facility. Many times, they have no idea about everything that your casino has to offer, and a relationship with a host and their “insider information” can be key to increasing their loyalty to your facility!

3. Set Short and Long-Term Individual and Team Goals

Most employees are given a yearly evaluation, but far too often, there is little to no follow-up throughout the year to see if the goals are still pertinent or being achieved. It is far too easy to get lost in the day-to-day operations. Setting short-term and long-term goals for each host and for the team is important in keeping your eye on the ball.

Using the reports mentioned above is another great tool for setting goals. You should be meeting monthly with each member of your team to ensure that they are staying on task and that the set goals are still suitable. You may find that adjustments are needed, and that is fine! Your team needs feedback as much as they need to be heard. Team goals are just as important as individual ones. For a team to be successful, they have to work together. This is not always easy to do when you have so many different personalities with different strengths. So, balancing the individual goals with a team goal should be the focus. The benefits will be amazing!

Janet Hawk