Category Archives: Uncategorized

Harvest Trends Press Release: New Product to Launch Soon

Harvest Trends to launch new contact management tool for Casino Hosts at Casino Marketing and Technology Conference in Las Vegas
Harvest Trends will launch a new customer relationship management solution for casino hosts, called PowerHost CRM, at the Casino Marketing & Technology Conference in Las Vegas, July 14-
16th at the RIO. Harvest Trends is expanding their existing suite of tools for Casino Marketing
and Player Development to enable casino hosts to capture tasks, notes and preferences, and
view their daily pace against goals.

“We pride ourselves on creating tools that make it easy for player development personnel to target the right patrons and drive additional revenue from those who offer the most opportunity for growth, retention and reactivation,” said Amy Hudson, VP of Sales at Harvest Trends. “PowerHost CRM will give casino hosts the appropriate customer data right at their fingertips, allowing them to work smarter and more efficiently.”

PowerHost CRM is easy to use and works on existing handheld devices and computers with no capital expense. Player development teams can immediately make a positive impact on the casino’s revenue by growing their ‘book of business’. Each day, casino hosts can see their daily pace against goals, yesterday’s results for their coded players, and receive recommendations on who to contact and why. Additionally, PowerHost CRM gives player development teams a place to store notes, tasks, preferences and more; set and track goals; and share tasks across hosts and Guest Services to ensure consistent customer service.
“For too long, vendors have dictated what technology ‘they’ believe the business needs,” said Colleen Cutler, a Harvest Trends board director with more than 30 years’ experience in gaming. “At Harvest Trends, we listen and we create solutions driven by business requirements that solve every day business problems. Our goal is to continue to deliver tools that industry veterans have requested from us, and PowerHost CRM is designed to meet the specific needs of casino hosts.”

For more information about PowerHost CRM and Harvest Trends, visit http://www.harvesttrends.com.

2015 Trends in Casino Marketing

Casinos, Brands, and More

This originally appeared as a LinkedIn post.

source: pixabay.com source: pixabay.com

From increased competition coming from new jurisdictions and doing more with less resources, casino marketers will continue to face challenges to continue beating year over year revenues and experience growth. There’s a definite shift in the industry as we’ve moved from buzzwords to reality. It used to be that you could count on a car and cash giveaway to give you the pop you needed at the end of the month. The marketing recipe was pretty straight forward: direct mail, advertising, promotions and events. Mix together and wait for it to bake. Additional channels of communication that are now controlled by the customer have become more important. In addition, the competition for the entertainment dollar has become even tougher. Direct mail continues to be a prominent driver, but as more marketers are starting to understand the profitability of those programs, it…

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BoB, the Casino-specific CRM solution

Over many years in Casino Player Development, I often wished my team had a tool that would tell them which of their coded players they should be in contact with next and why. Without the help of my database guy (with whom I always worked very closely), I couldn’t create a new host list, nor could I make up a list of inactives or tournament invitees and assign them to the hosts for activation. Human assistance was necessary. That left my team waiting, sometimes for many days, for access to the sliced-and-diced information they needed in order to effectively move players through our doors and dollars through to the bottom line.

But that was then. Now, Harvest Trends’ HostBoB can help player development pros identify and prioritize the players they should reach now. It works in a similar fashion to the Daily Action Plan, or DAP. The DAP is a daily player list sent to each host via e-mail, with players classified according to the property’s host goals and player specifications. With BoB, the host still sees this sorted and classified player list, but with the added benefit of interaction with his electronic player database. The host knows who to contact and why, inputs that contact and the results on the spot, and a host manager can see in real time how well the host is progressing with his goals and objectives.

Have you just spoken with four of your coded players at a blackjack table? Mobile BoB lets you quickly enter the “touch” and add any notes or tasks related to those guests. You don’t forget who you saw and have to rack your brain later to update your report to the boss, and you will remember to call one of them back in a few days to check on reservations for his next visit.

Does your property have an upcoming show that isn’t selling like hotcakes? HostBoB allows you to find worthy patrons who might enjoy that show and assign those players to the hosts so you can paper the house. Good players get free tickets, the hosts are talking with your worthy patrons, and the showroom gets filled. Everybody wins!

Are you fairly certain there are good patrons in your database whose play qualifies them for host service, but they’re not currently coded? HostMAPP will show you in just minutes how many there are, and more importantly, WHO they are. With HostBoB, you can round-robin assign them to the host team with just a few minutes of set-up.

Customized to support your property’s initiatives, HostMAPP and HostBoB take the guesswork out of player development. Together, these modules provide you with both a high-level and a granular view of your PD program. Team leaders will quickly be able to answer questions about how their hosts’ performance is affecting the bottom line. Hosts will be able to effortlessly provide their players with a seamless, personalized experience. Casinos will be able to swiftly make adjustments to changing market conditions and drive revenue by activating the right players of interest.

Harvest Trends has been working toward this ideal for some time now, and BoB will be ready for launch at the end of January 2015. Our developers have listened carefully to all our instructions to make it user-friendly and intuitive. Users have access to both desktop and mobile versions. We are so excited to show you all that BoB can do!

Contact Amy today for a sneak peek at BoB and “his” super-easy interfaces.

 

The Data Fact Gap

There are numerous resources available to help marketers distill their mountains of data into actionable KPIs. Which of these resources is right for you?

Casinos, Brands, and More

I’ve been working with a client for a few months now. They work in a field that is a little off my usual path: predictive analytics. It’s been a great experience as I’ve gotten the opportunity to strengthen my database marketing muscle. Like most muscles in your body, you never know how much they can bear if you don’t use them.

The following is a recent blog post for their website.

As professionals, we all know that technology has changed the way we do business. Whether you find the increased dependence on new technology as good or bad often depends on how effectively the tools are used. Over the years, this problem has been illustrated in many ways by Stics and a variety of other experts.

Fact Gap Graph


This particular Fact Gap illustration was first attributed to the Gartner Group. It will help us describe how data…

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Is your Player Development team on target?

There is so much player data available in casinos today that very few operators are able to fully utilize it.  It’s a fact of life that analysis paralysis overcomes us all at some point, but that same information can make us better marketers.  And knowing which players to contact in order to achieve a particular goal will make your casino hosts better at player activation, retention and acquisition.

Reviewing host goals and determining whether they are the right ones often requires a deep dive into an analysis of your database.  Before you can adjust what the host’s targets should be, you have to know which of your players should be coded to a host (and how existing host lists need to be adjusted), how much play you can expect from the player in question, and whether your hosts need more or different tools in order to drive that play. Use your review to determine what tasks must be done to achieve the goals and when, then compare that with what the hosts are doing each day. Perhaps an exercise in time management will provide everyone with a better understanding of the activities that make up your hosts’ shifts.  If they’re spending very much time on tasks that aren’t directly related to driving more visits or play from your very best players (defined however your property defines the very best), something needs to change.

Along the way to finalizing any adjustments you decide to make to the hosts’ goals, it’s important to take a moment to plan how you will measure them.  You’ll want to be able to share updates as the goal period progresses.  Ideally, everyone on the team should know where they stand daily in terms of achieving both theoretical and performance targets. If your database team can’t manage daily updates, then at least have a process in place to get weekly reports on the relevant metrics to keep the team on pace.  It really stinks to think you’re doing alright and then barely miss the target, particularly if you or your team are bonused for achieving (or exceeding) goals. Use benchmarking through the entire goal period to determine whether each host is on pace for each of the elements of his goals.  Compare the time elapsed or remaining in the goal period to the amount of progress made toward reaching the goals.  If you’re eight weeks into a quarterly goal period, your hosts should have achieved about 67% of the theoretical, trips, increased activity levels, frequency, new members, reactivations, bookings, contacts, etc. that you asked them to at the beginning of the quarter.   If you’re at week eight, you should have a good idea who’s going to make it and who’s not, and you should have a pretty solid lead on why.

Regular updates (again, ideally daily) will quickly guide you to the areas where progress is lagging behind.  If this information can be provided directly to a host who will be motivated to respond accordingly, then get it to him and let him loose!  In other cases, however, the team leader is going to have to sit down with someone who’s not making the grade and determine a course of action to get both the host and his numbers back in line.  (Harvest Trends’ one-to-one coaching series offers some assistance, should that be necessary.)

If it turns out that your host team isn’t on target to achieve their goals, don’t despair.  Take a good look at the situation and figure out how to turn it around.  Use the tools at your disposal to make the necessary changes to get your team back on track.  Guide your Player Development pros daily to keep them on the path to success.  You can do it.  They can do it.  Harvest Trends can help.

Effective Player Development Doesn’t HAVE To Be Expensive

Is it necessary for a host to make an offer to a player in order to generate a trip?  It is, after all, standard behavior for hosts to comp players.

The industry’s earliest Player Development efforts started this way, even before anyone used the term “player development.”  Pit bosses traded free and discounted meals for player loyalty long before slot club cards were in wide use.  As the technology grew, methods shifted and what we now recognize as modern PD was born.

RecentForActiveCasinoPlayers

In the current gaming climate, it is becoming more difficult to retain the loyalty of a player; it has become a player’s market in many regions of the US.  When every casino they’ve visited within the last six months is sending them comparable offers, players really can pick and choose where and when to visit a casino and maximize the value of that visit.  So, does that mean a host has to sweeten the deal in order to get the player to visit HIS property instead of going to a competitor?  I say emphatically, “No.”

I propose an experiment.  Do a split test for host-initiated visits in exactly the same manner you would for direct mail.  Determine which two of your hosts have lists which represent the same sort of cross-section of your database and which have similar player frequency and worth.  Give them each the same time frame and number of players to activate.  Have one host make an offer with every call; a free buffet, a night’s stay for free (if you have a hotel), a small free play amount, or something similar.  Then have the other host do nothing more than make contact and chat with the guest without making a specific offer.  (If the guest asks for something, the host should use his or her customary decision-making process to assess and respond to that request.)  Then at the end of the test period, see who was more successful and, more importantly, who was more profitable.

Ultimately, hosts need to keep in mind that their players are accustomed to receiving some pretty comprehensive offers via your direct mail and rewards programs already.  While the players will certainly not (in most cases) turn down an offer of additional freebies, your property is already spending a fair amount on them in overall reinvestment.  This fact is sometimes overlooked as players share with their favorite casino employees the details of offers made to them by competitor casinos.  They do this to gauge their worth to your property in comparison.  It’s subtle, but effective, psychological posturing.

Over the years, savvy players have learned to work the system.  Your host team should not be a point of weakness that players may exploit.  I’m sure everyone who reads this post can come up with a war story or two: the guest who booked a suite and handed it off to her newlywed daughter (who never spent a dollar on your gaming floor), the table games player who came to the invitational golf tournament and ate in your steakhouse with a comp but never played a hand of blackjack, hotel guests who stayed free for a week by combining coupons and discounts and points, you know the ones I mean.  The way to prevent that sort of player behavior is through communication.  Information flows from your hosts and your database team to understand what’s going on with your players, and the PD team leader should communicate what the hosts and database specialists should be doing to get that incremental visit from your guests.

In my experience, an “overdue” guest will make a visit to your property within two weeks of a call from his or her host, whether or not an offer has been made.  The call puts the property top of mind and the guest remembers why he or she enjoys playing there.  If there are no obstacles to the trip (health concerns, travel arrangements, financial woes, etc.) the player might even show up within a day or two of the call.  Most of the time, the host only needs to remind the player of an offer he or she already has: an upcoming show, hotel coupons for a weekend stay, a VIP event or tournament to which he guest has been invited.

What about times when an offer is warranted?  How is the host to know whether or not he should make an offer over and above what the marketing department has already provided?  Consider whether or not you’d make an exception for players like these: new members whose initial mail offers have expired, players with significant loss and low theo, overdue guests who don’t have current offers, players who have a special occasion in the near future, or those who are high-frequency mid-worth guests whose offers don’t last them through the month.  These are the sorts of players who hit up hosts for “extras.”  Consider carefully how you want them handled and maintain clear two-way communication between hosts and team leaders to keep everyone on the same page and keep costs down.

For some event ideas, check out this post.  The best benefit your players can have is the service of a good casino host.  That benefit, like so many of the others your property offers, doesn’t have to be expensive.

The Guest Experience MUST Be Paramount

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.

 

 

 

Grow Your Casino Host Program and Improve Goal Setting

Grow Your Casino Host Program and Improve Goal Setting

Player Development can already use the Daily Action Plan from Harvest Trends to enable each casino host to reach and exceed their goals. Now Harvest Trends adds affordable, focused, 1:1 consulting to Player Development Executives on setting Casino Host Goals and coaching each Host to Success.

Press Release: Biloxi, MS (PRWEB) Dec 2013

Harvest Trends now offers the consulting, 1:1 coaching, and tools that you need to grow your casino host program. The coaching series covers everything from “Setting Host Goals” to “Coaching a Casino Host for Success”.

“Every General Manager and CFO has an interest in the structure of the casino host goal program, and should consider offering the “Setting Host Goals” program to their PD manager/director” said Susan Kesel, CEO. “The casino host goals must align with the overall property revenue goals and have the appropriate focus on acquisition, retention and reactivation, within the broader context of profitability. A General Manager is prepared to pay a bonus for a well-designed casino host program that drives results to the bottom line”.

“I know what it’s like to set goals, stay on top of the results each day, coach your hosts, run your events and respond to guest needs” says Amy J. Hudson of Harvest Trends. “We’ve designed these 1:1 phone/Skype based coaching programs to fit into the rush of the working week while helping the manager to grow the program and coach the hosts to success”

Amy has 17+ years experience in the player development and marketing arena including Delaware North Companies and Ameristar’s Cactus Petes Resort Casino, and she brings this experience to bear in this coaching program.

Setting goals for casino hosts is both an art and a science. The creative side of setting goals is to think outside of the box and create a program that provides an incentive for each host to focus on the activities that will bring results to the bottom line. The scientific side of setting goals is to create a measurable program with supporting assumptions and metrics, and without any loop holes!

“Every new skill is wasted unless you have the tools to do the job”, said Jackie Parker, President of Harvest Trends. “We already send a Daily Action Plan to each casino host, with the daily results and their pace to goals. More importantly, the Daily Action Plan is sliced and diced so each Host knows exactly who to call and why! Now we have added the skills training”. Travis J. Hankins, Senior Director of Marketing, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, said “This is cool. I wish I had the player development daily stats and action plan when I was a host!”.

With the Daily Action Plan, the manager can quickly and easily identify coaching opportunities and proactively reach goals. Curtis Patnode, Player Development Manager at Clearwater Casino Resort said “This is a very exciting time for me, I enjoy going to work every day and looking at my daily action plan to see what is happening with my players and hosts.”

Curtis has leveraged the Daily Action Plan as a daily opportunity to monitor and coach the host team to success based on individualized results before it is too late. Under his leadership, Clearwater Casino Resort have implemented a rolling 90 day acquisition program with great success. On a daily basis, Curtis allocates high potential guests to individual hosts. The host has 90 days to qualify the player. Because the manager is alerted to the status of a player who is not pacing sufficiently, they can coach the host, or reassign the player if needed to assure success in activating the player before they are lost.

The latest innovation from Harvest Trends is the creation of these 1:1 coaching programs for “Developing Player Development” because they add that layer of interpretation and structured approach that comes from many years of experience in managing casino host programs. Because the structured coaching is offered via phone/Skype, a new Player Development manager or director, can participate as soon as they take on their role, and not have to leave the property for training or wait for a conference. This saves the cost of travel and conference fees. Amy sees particular value for a Director of Marketing who is assigned Player Development, or for an individual contributor who is promoted into management of casino hosts.

In most teams, there are some hosts that consistently beat their goals and others that under-perform. The Coaching a Host to Success is a unique 1:1 coaching program that helps the Manager to coach a host to success. It takes the Player Development leadership through the detailed steps of addressing and improving casino host performance with practical management experience and based on detailed metrics that they just don’t have the time to prepare. In addition to improving host performance, they learn new tips and techniques to enhance their own effectiveness as a manager.

Each coaching program is laid out in a structured approach over a number of weeks, but there is flexibility to meet the property’s specific needs. The program also includes the use of the HostMAPP tool kit during the course of the coaching program, to analyze the daily results and refine the goals.

“I am thrilled,” says Amy Hudson, “because for the first time, managers of Player Development can have the infrastructure to actively manage their book of business and take proactive steps to coach their casino hosts to meet and exceed their goals.” Amy writes daily about Developing Player Development and you can learn more at her blog where Amy regularly posts on topics related to Casino Host Goals and player development in general.

About HostMAPP

HostMAPP is an award winning casino player development tool that provides customized Daily Action Plans allowing Casino Hosts to be on floor interacting with patrons instead of sitting in their office pouring through spreadsheets. The HostMAPP tool kit enables a manger of Player Development to proactively Manage the Activities, Profitability and Performance of your host program. Together, the consulting, coaching and daily action plans from the HostMAPP toolkit can drive increased revenue to the bottom line.

About Harvest Trends, Inc.
Harvest Trends provides innovative, cross-platform, hosted business analytics solutions for the gaming industry. There is no capital outlay for hardware or software and you only pay a monthly subscription fee that is appropriately priced for casinos of all sizes. For more information, contact Amy Hudson at 304.218.1265 or ahudson@harvesttrends.com

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

Interestingly, your work here is not yet done.  You have accomplished quite a lot if you have followed all the steps I’ve suggested, but there is still more…refining work, if you will.

As suggested in the last post, you may have noted some patterns emerging from your analysis of the team’s work.  Some hosts may have a knack for spotting and responding to changes in player behavior and others may need a gentle nudge.  Some segments in your player base may generate a stronger showing for certain kinds of promotions or events, or you may even see declines in some groups of your guests, requiring you to assess the effectiveness of parts of the program.

The next step, logically, is the constant review and course corrections that enable you to continue posting positive results from the team.  Clearly, there will be things that work against you, but if you are paying attention to the way your best players react to the best efforts of your Player Development team you will have the information you need to decide how to proceed.

Do you have a new competitor opening its doors soon?  Focus your team on Preemptive Reactivation efforts.  Do you see a normal downturn in visits and spend during the winter months?  Look at the best players from your inner market to determine whether there are opportunities to drive an extra visit from those who live close enough to safely travel to you.  Or, team up with the motorcoach staff to bring better players in by the busload. (Book fancy buses, of course!)

Begin looking at goals and objectives for the next 3 or 4 goal periods instead of one period at a time, and imagine the adjustments you may need to employ to ensure that they are in alignment with the property’s plans.  Put together a Player Development plan with input from hosts, property operations leaders, and guests.  Think about ways you can quickly turn the tide when the team’s (or the property’s) numbers don’t look so great, then come up with some concrete plans to do so when needed.

Use both successes and failures to learn how to do it better as you move forward.  After all, the gaming business is evolving at a faster rate these days than ever before, and with tighter margins and less room for error.  Understanding why your team is successful or not and having the information you need and the plans in place to maximize the results is key.

Ma Market Planning 06
Ma Market Planning 06 (Photo credit: nancydowd)

Daily Action Plan – An innovation for casino hosts!

The Daily Action Plan enables the casino host to focus on the right players, at the right time for the right reasons to meet their goals. Each day the host receives a “proactive” daily action plan delivered right to their e-mail at the start of their day. The hosts can quickly place relevant phone calls to congratulate the winners, commiserate with the losers, celebrate with the birthday players, and invite back the valuable players who have not been on property. This enables the hosts to  achieve more, with a laser like focus on their goals for new, inactive, active players, and expenses. This is completely different to the existing approach where a casino host receives a report at the end of the quarter, month, or week at best which gives a rear view into how they missed their goals.

In addition, the Player Development manager receives a daily summary of overall pace to goal by host and by host team which highlights areas of potential, concern and achievement. With this daily information, the manager can  quickly and easily identify coaching opportunities and proactively reach goals. Curtis Patnode, Player Development Manager at Clearwater Casino Resort said “This is a very exciting time for me, I enjoy going to work every day and looking at my daily action plan to see what is happening with my players and hosts.” Curtis has implemented a rolling 90 day acquisition program with great success. On a daily basis, the Player Development Manager allocates high potential guests to individual hosts. The host has 90 days to qualify the player. Because the manager is alerted to the status of a player who is not pacing sufficiently, they can coach the host, or reassign the player if needed to assure success in activating the player before they are lost.

Contact Amy at via email at ahudson@harvesttrends.com or at 304.218.1265 to learn more, or read her blog on setting casino host goals. In the month of December, you can have a free test drive to get a Head Start on 2014!

For the first time, casino hosts can have the infrastructure to actively manage their book of business and take proactive steps to meet and exceed their goals!

The Daily Action Plan is innovative in 3 important ways:

1) The innovation for the host is the “push” of relevant actionable information directly to the individual on a daily basis. Rather than wasting time  hunting and pecking through disparate computer programs to find the information they need, the host uses their daily action plan as a road map on which players to contact today.

2) The daily action plan defines “relevant and actionable” in the context of their specific host goals. A host doesn’t have to refer to a spreadsheet to see their goals and pace. Harvest Trends tells the host which coded players need to be contacted because they are ahead or behind their relevant goals in terms of play, trips and expenses. The host has a context for each call; because players are categorized by type based on the property’s objectives.

3) The innovation for a Player Development Manager is the daily opportunity to monitor and coach the host team to success based on individualized results before it is too late.

Contact Amy at via email at ahudson@harvesttrends.com or at 304.218.1265. In the month of December, you can have a free test drive to get a Head Start on 2014!