Solving the Top 10 Host Issues

Janet Hawk

The top 10 issues hosts tell us they have and what you can do about them

The funny thing about a casino host’s job … their top complaints haven’t changed much in

the last 30 years. See, hosting will always be about relationships. Relationships with our guests, with our fellow teammates and with management. So no matter what technology and communication tools come along, 90% of building a 21st-century host team and resolving those long-term complaints comes from a change to a more targeted and organized approach.

At Raving’s recent Host Development Conference, fellow Raving Partner, Steve Browne and I tackled those top issues for player development and guest service. Here’s a brief list to get you thinking about your own organization (and of course you can call us at any time to discuss these solutions in detail and how they may apply to your unique property):

1. “Call a host-itis”

Complaint: Calling a host for every problem under the sun.

Solution: Develop player problem “chains-of-command” to handle property-wide service issues. Make sure your frontline in each department has the proper training and clear guidelines to handle problems head on.

2. The free buffet for two

Complaint: Hassling with low-value player comp issues.

Solution: Make lower-value player comping programs automatic and provide comp authority across the organization. Again, proper training and clear guidelines are a must.

3. Party on, Garth!

Complaint: Everybody else thinks that all hosts do is party, leading to a lack of integration and cooperation from other departments.

Solution: Integrate sales into the entire organization from the top down. It is everyone’s responsibility to sell the casino! The host team is the “elite” sales team whose primary duty is to expand the number of known casino players and improve the amount of their play.

4. You sent them what?

Complaint: Lack of communication with the hosts on what offers and invites their players are getting, and along with this, a lack of lead time to fill events.

Solution: Separate all PD/VIP promotional and direct mail programs and event programming from lower value player programs. Hosts can’t sell what they don’t know! So, involve PD in the planning processes for these events. They can help offer valuable insight.

5. Two for me, one for you, three for me, one for you …

Complaint: Vague, unclear bonus programs that keep changing (flavor of the quarter), and/or using the bonus program as a threat.

Solution: Stabilize the bonus program and lift authority and compensation levels appropriately. A bonus is just that, a bonus … based on results. It is to be used to incentivize the employee/team. Never use it as a threat.

6. You hired who???

Complaint: Using the PD Department as a dumping ground for friends, buddies, or legacy employees with no experience because they are “nice” or we don’t know where else to stick them.

Solution: Develop a career path for PD and business development within your organization. “Nice” doesn’t always sell. Build “sales management” expertise through outside training and recruitment.

7. Building castles with matchsticks

Complaint: Logistics that hamper them in their job; lack of proper technology, lack of appropriate authority levels, hourly instead of salary, no off-site phone access, etc.

Solution: Perform a technology and tools review with your hosts and upgrade accordingly.

8. There’s no “I” in team

Complaint: Lack of teamwork, including fighting over amenities, unclear job distinctions, salary and authority gaps, lack of communication, etc.

Solution: Include a team bonus, team sales meetings, and team training into your host’s work environment.

9. Can you say “NO” nicely?

Complaint: No clear direction on what players earn and how much they need to play to earn it and relying on the host team to be the bad guy.

Solution: Create an understandable earning and redemption process as well as a detailed customer resolution procedure that involves the entire frontline team.

10. Into the “valley of death … ”

Complaint: Inexperienced or weak management/leadership that doesn’t properly support the team in front of upper management nor facilitates access to upper management to include in their sales efforts.

Solution: Include a “Director” component to VIP events where appropriate. Include post event round table discussions in which upper management is present along with the PD team, eliminating the silo that can occur. Also, create a process in which the hosts leverage the casino management system (using notes or remarks) to support comp decisions. Having the notes or remarks will assist with comp exception meetings.

Janet Hawk