I visited a local casino yesterday. It was not the pleasant experience I’d anticipated. This thought actually occurred to me as I was heading back to my car, “I changed into a nice outfit and did my hair & makeup for THIS?!”
Online reviews for this property are mixed, with a slight edge to more positive opinions. I wasn’t a hotel guest, and I certainly wasn’t going to dine there once the atmosphere had so negatively affected my mood. If I’d read them before I went there, I would still have been let down. Perhaps my experience was more disappointing because of my years in the industry and because of my tendency to look through the lens of an executive who wants everything to be perfect. Honestly, I went to the casino yesterday for the same reasons any guest does: to be around other people, soak up some of the fun and excitement one expects to find in a casino, and to play some slots for a little while. Instead, I left feeling as though I chose the wrong property to visit because the employees I encountered didn’t seem to care very much about me or the other guests I saw.
First of all, the security guard at the door didn’t greet me. At all. I’m pretty sure she gave me no more than a cursory glance to ensure I appeared old enough to be on the gaming floor. Second, security was the department I saw represented most heavily on the gaming floor. There wasn’t a single “suit” on the floor outside the pit. No hosts in sight, and I saw only one slot attendant and one cocktail server. Next, the only employee who spoke to me at all was the club rep who replaced my card…and she only said exactly as much as she needed to determine what I wanted and take care of my request. My attempts at small talk were met with silence. I even spoke directly to one employee, who did not respond at all. The one bright spot was a slot technician who smiled at me as I approached an abandoned bank of machines.
I saw other things that concerned me about the guest experience at this casino: doors open to the back of the house, employees who appeared actively grumpy in direct guest contact, backs turned to patrons at more than one service area, and guests who looked as though they’d rather be anywhere else. On the plus side, the place was exceptionally clean and chairs had been pushed up to the machines when they weren’t occupied. On a previous trip, the floor was very smoke-filled and that wasn’t the case this time, but it also was a lot less busy on this winter weekday afternoon
Clearly the atmosphere in the casino I visited was not conducive to extending a visit or even enticing the player to return. I might have stayed a while longer (and spent more money) had the place had a fun feel to it. There was a slot tournament going on, and I might have liked to give it a try, but the people standing in line waiting to sign up looked just as grumpy as the employee who was signing them in. Oh, and there was a HANDWRITTEN sign attached to the stanchion sign at the registration table. Sadly, the handwritten message didn’t even make sense to me.
Folks, I guess the point I’m trying to make here is this: the guest experience has to be more important than anything (with the exception of compliance). Period. If you work in any service role, you have to check your baggage before you enter a guest area. Whether there are rumors floating around that affected your mood, or if you’re just having a crappy day, that is not a thing your guests need to know. They didn’t come to the casino to make you feel better. They came so YOU could make THEM feel better. A trip to the casino is supposed to be entertaining. It is not supposed to make you wonder why you left home in the first place. Don’t let what happened to me happen to your guests. Please.
I promise, if it does, they will feel the same way I do: disappointed. And they might not come back.