Monthly Archives: October 2013

How do I set up and track Casino Host goals? (Part 3 of 5)

Accountability starts with understanding. In order to truly be accountable for something, the accountable party needs to understand what it is they are being held accountable for. Right? Right. That means the goals must be effectively communicated to the hosts for whom they’re being set. A document of some sort is ideal, because it can be reviewed by the executive(s) responsible for the department, then it can be presented to the host at the beginning of the evaluation period. If everyone is on the same page, there are fewer misunderstandings. Consider using a document that may also be updated at the end of the period to show whether goals were achieved and what payments will be made to each host as a result.

What should be included in this document? Start with the host’s name, position, and the goal period start and end dates. Add each goal that pertains to the host. Separate each goal from the others and specify both the percentage of the whole that each goal is worth and the dollar amount that will be paid upon successful completion. If you have elected to pay for partial achievement or to include a super-bonus, include that information and its milestones as well. Make sure the milestones and payments for achieving them are clear. Provide spaces for your signature, your boss’s signature, the host’s signature and dates for each. A sample is included with this post.

Have the host sign the document, provide him a copy and file the original in your personnel files. Before the host leaves with his copy, provide an opportunity for clarification; elaborate on things hemust do to achieve his goals and ask him to think about some strategies he may use if he falls behind pace.  Instruct the host to keep the document in a secure location and to refer to it weekly in order to ensure he understands upon what he should focus. It is easy to lose sight of that over the goal period, especially if it is a quarter or longer.

Now it’s time for tracking. Weekly meeting frequency is the recommendation for reviewing host progress toward goal, which we will call “pace.” Weekly reports provide both the host and her team leader enough time between reviews to accomplish something while keeping  abreast of developments in order to stay on track. So, in our scenario (see part 2 if you need a refresher) we will divide each goal into 13 weekly sections to compare actual progress to pace. That means each host needs to generate $16,154 (or 7.69% of his theoretical goal) in play each week. Additionally, the host needs to have at least 1 new player return and 1 reactivated player each week with an “extra” once per month to be on pace. For the team theo goal, all the hosts’ theoretical should aggregate to $80,770 each week. It’s easiest to compare weekly. Below is the individual theoretical goal broken down by weekly pace:
Week 1: 7.69% or $16,154
Week 2: 15.38% or $32,308
Week 3: 23.07% or $48,462
Week 4: 30.76% or $64,616
Week 5: 38.45% or $80,770
Week 6: 46.14% or $96,924
Week 7: 53.83% or $113.078
Week 8: 61.52% or $129,232
Week 9: 69.21% or $145,386
Week 10: 76.90% or $161,540
Week 11: 84.59% or $177,694
Week 12: 92.28% or $193,848
Week 13: 100% or $210,000

Sample SP bonus

Next, make preparations for the weekly review process.


5 ways to ensure you don’t talk TO your customers, but talk WITH them.

A recent article on suggests that $5.9 TRILLION dollars are lost every year by companies whose angry customers take their money and go to a competitor.  What is the main reason these customers leave?  More often than not, it is because they feel that the company has not met their needs, usually because it didn’t listen to them.

How well do you and your employees communicate with your customers? Does the communication travel in both directions? Want to make sure it does? Here are 5 things you can train your team to do right now that will keep the feedback loop open and active:

  1. Look for body language (or listen for “that tone”) that indicates the customer has a problem. If someone is on your floor looking around like a tourist, or is making big full-arm guestures, they probably need assistance. If they sound exasperated, they likely are. This is an opportunity for a win. Be proactive. Don’t make them ask for help when you can see they need some.
  2. Ask customers to provide insights about their experience with your business. This can get you both positive and negative responses, which are also perfect for coaching your staff. Handing out customer questionnaires (don’t make them too long) or business cards with a website for a survey are two ways to accomplish this, but you can also find out a lot just by asking people their thoughts as they depart the store or step away from the counter. Even informal feedback is valuable.
  3. Empower your employees to recover common situations without requiring approvals, but have that recovery include handing out a manager’s business card so the customer can share his feelings after all is said and done. We all know that a customer whose experience went badly but was successfully recovered is the best possible source of referrals, so close the feedback loop with these customers and provide them access to a decision-maker in case they aren’t completely satisfied with how the front line employee handled things.
  4. LISTEN! Listen with all your attention and recap what you heard when the customer is finished sharing with you. This works in couples therapy for a reason: it ensures both parties are on the same page and that the communication is clear. Anytime you are talking with a customer, stop whatever you are doing and really listen. Do this even when on the phone.  You may pick up on nuances you would have missed if you continued shuffling papers or looking at your computer screen, and it certainly makes the customer feel good to know they are the most important thing in your world at that moment.  Aren’t we all looking for that feeling?
  5. Give them what they’re asking for. Any time you hear the same thing repeatedly from your customer base, you should give serious consideration to implenting the thing they are telling you they want. Obviously the customer isn’t always right, but if many of your customers (especially the regulars!) tell you they want free coffee or that your sandwiches would benefit from better bread (or whatever), don’t you think you should at least look into it?

Your customers have an interest in seeing your business remain successful so they can keep doing business with you. Even angry customers who complain are asking you to give them a reason to continue doing business with you; that’s why they’re complaining.

Put yourself in their shoes for a minute.  Have you ever been disappointed with a company with whom you’ve done business?  How well did they handle your disappointment?  Did you feel like they really listened to you?  Did you spend any more money with them?

Share your thoughts here or send them to me at

How do I set up and track Casino Host goals? (part 2 of 5)

Assume we’re going to use a base amount with a cap for payout. Each host will have a cumulative gross theoretical goal and a couple of metrics-based objectives. We’ll issue partial payment for partial achievement, and metrics can be paid even if the host doesn’t achieve the theoretical target. We will also have a team theo goal. The individual theoretical goal is also subject to a superbonus payout up to the cap. We want the goals to be achievable but a bit of a stretch so the team has to work at them but won’t feel as though they cannot accomplish them. These will be quarterly goals, so they’ll be for a 13-week period.
Breaking down how the achievements will be paid is our first task. We decided to use a base amount with a cap instead of going with a salary-based bonus. Either way, you should start by determining how the bonus will be broken down into components for payment. The financial goals should be worth the most, so let’s go with 50% payout for achieving individual theoretical. The team goal should be worth 10% in this scenario, so that leaves 40% to be split among the strategic objectives. To make the math easier, let’s go with 2 of those for this exercise.
We decided we’d pay for partial achievement and that metrics will be paid even if theo isn’t reached. So we need to work out those details too. Reaching 95% of individual theoretical triggers a payout of half the amount available for that goal. If the host barely surpasses his theoretical goal, the full bonus will be paid, and super bonus is paid out to a host who achieves 120% of his theoretical target. These rules do not apply to the team bonus. It is either achieved or not and is not subject to a super bonus. Setting the same kinds of rules for metrics will follow once we’ve determined what they will be.
Let’s tackle the theoretical goals. We will use the 3.5% increase I mentioned above as one of our growth measurements. Assume each host has a list worth $200,000. (Let’s assume Sandy Palace Casino has 5 hosts.) With host attention, these guests should play more than the average unhosted player, so add in 1.5% for a stretch. That means each host’s goal is $200,000 + 5%, or $210,000. That means the team theoretical goal will be $1,050,000.
It’s time now for the strategic objectives. Since most casino hosts tend naturally to focus on maintenance, let’s build these objectives to reflect an acquisition goal and a reactivation goal. While it’s tempting to add layers to these objectives, it’s best to keep them simple. For example, instead of making the acquisition goal something like “sign up 45 new players in the quarter and bring back 15 with minimum ADT of $200 or actual of $300” it’s much simpler to use either the first half or the second half as a standalone goal. If you are setting goals for a new property and you need the team to focus on building your database, the first half is the way to go. If you are in an established market with a fairly large database, use the second half to encourage the hosts to make contact with players who appear to have the potential to spend more. We’ll use the second half as our acquisition goal. Then we’ll establish the reactivation goal accordingly and require the host to bring back 15 players who haven’t made a visit in more than 90 days with the same numbers above. Half the bonus will be paid if the host brings in 1 new player and reactivates 1 per week on average, so they’ll be paid half the available bonus for 13.
Here’s what the host’s goals look like:
Theoretical target: $210,000
Team theoretical target: $1,050,000
Acquisition goal: 15 new players make a return visit with ADT>$200 or actual>$300
Reactivation goal: 15 players return after 90+ days with ADT>$200 or actual>$300

Now that we’ve put together some goals and basic structure, what do we do?

Accountability. That’s what.

How do I set up and track Casino Host goals? (Part 1 of 5)

Maybe you just got a promotion.  Or, the market around you has changed and you need to respond to that.  You got a new boss, or you’re starting a brand-new host team, or you got a job at a new property, or something like that.  Anyway, you have found yourself sitting in front of the computer trying to assemble Casino Host goals for the Player Development team.  And you’re not sure where to start.  Please read on.

Start with some basic structure questions.

  • Will the amount of the bonus to be paid out be salary-based or will there be a set amount which can be earned?
  • Will you add a team bonus or simply pay individual hosts based on their own achievements?
  • Will there be bonuses paid for partial achievement?
  • Will you pay a super-bonus for far exceeding the goals?
  • Will goals be based solely on the revenue the team generates, or will you include some strategic objectives for the team to achieve?
  • If you include them, will the metrics-based goals be paid out even if the host doesn’t reach his or her revenue target?
  • Upon what will you base the revenue targets?
  • What metrics will you choose for the strategic objectives and how will you set those target numbers?

Once you have made some decisions around these questions, you’re ready to do some analysis in order to answer the specifics.

Yes, you’ll need to crunch some numbers in order to set the goals.  At a minimum, you need to understand the following:

  • How much cumulative revenue the players coded to each host generated in a period that looks like your bonus period. (Whether you use gross theo, net theo, actual or some combination thereof is up to you.)           -OR-
  • An average revenue amount and number of trips for all the host team’s coded players.
  • How much your property expects its revenue numbers to change from the quarter you analysed to the quarter you’re setting the bonus for.  For example, in Q1 2014, Sandy Palace Casino expects to see 3.5% growth over Q1 2013.  (You should assume the hosted players will be subject to the same anticipated increase in worth, all things being equal.)
  • How many new players your hosts will add to their list over the course of the quarter and what they are expected to be worth.
  • What sort of player attrition the property has experienced lately (say, quarter over quarter).
  • The number of players in your database who deserve but do not currently enjoy host attention and their worth.
  • Whether any additional threats to the cream of your database exist in your market and what revenue might be lost if that threat comes to fruition.

Have you got all that?  Good.  Now, let’s build some goals for a bonus program.