So you’re a casino host. Now what? There are tasks and goals and guests and procedures, and some of them seem to be at odds with one another. Simply put, it’s a host’s job to balance all these things. Your primary objective is to drive more trips or get more play from the best players at your property. The tasks and goals and guests and procedures are all parts of the whole role, which is to build relationships with players on behalf of your property in order to secure their loyalty and limit the amount of their gaming wallet that goes to your competitors.
As a rule, the relationships you build with your players will become second nature after a time. They may begin to feel like your actual friendships. You’ll learn which of your players are interested in what sort of events at your casino. You’ll figure out which ones want more comps than their play warrants (manage them carefully!) and which ones would rather just be left alone to play. It won’t take you long to remember what brand of smokes your best players prefer, and which restaurants each of your better players frequent. Who golfs, who owns his own business, who takes care of their grandchildren on weekends, who gets all worked up if you don’t return their call within a couple of hours…you get the idea.
But you have to start somewhere. Begin with a letter to any “new” players, meaning ones you haven’t yet met face-to-face. After a few days, give each guest a call to inquire whether they’ve received your letter and whether there is any service that you may offer to them. Have a calendar or list of upcoming events handy so you can tell them what’s going on, and note the events in which they seem interested. (That way, you know which ones to contact them for in the future.) Explain the services you can provide and ensure that the guest knows how to reach you when they need you. As a host, it’s your responsibility to provide the guest a touchpoint for your casino.
A player’s host is his “inside man.” You should be able to get him a room or dinner reservations or show tickets or registration for a tournament or other event without him having to do more than ask you to take care of it. Afterward, relentless follow-up is required. Always return a guest’s call as soon as humanly possible and do what you say you will do. If you’re making reservations, call back with confirmation that the task is complete, no matter whether the reservation is for today or in three weeks.
Work within the guidelines you’ve been provided, and remember that when you break a rule for a guest, you are, in fact creating a new rule. Players will share with one another what you’ve done for them, and others will begin to expect the same sort of consideration. Be diplomatic, and learn to say “no” and make it sound like “yes,” using the phrase, “what I CAN do for you is…” It’s never a good idea to create an expectation for something you cant deliver.
Learn how to read player accounts well enough to quickly determine whether a guest will still be profitable after redeeming all his or her offers before providing additional incentives. If she redeems her room and meal coupons, downloads all her points for free play AND you give her a comp, how much of her play is left over as profit? Let that be your guide. As a general rule of thumb, don’t comp someone more than 10% of their average theo (or loss, if that’s a bigger dollar amount.) When you DO provide an extra incentive to a guest, be sure they understand whether or not such an incentive may be provided again in the future. Tell them what they need to do to get what they want.
Ask the other hosts on your team (particularly those who are more experienced) how they handle certain situations and take the best practices from among them to make your own. Every host is different in some ways from his or her counterparts, and because of that, your own signature approach will often serve you well. Learn from your mistakes and always ask someone you trust for help when you need it.
Remember always that your job is to get more visits or more play from the best players at your casino. The best hosts find a way to accommodate their guests without creating unrealistic expectations, learn to anticipate their guests’ needs, and accurately report on their activities so the property’s leadership understands the Player Development team’s contribution to the bottom line. The tasks and goals and guests and procedures are how you get there.