Finding Balance in Player Development

As many readers of this blog already know, it is the job of a casino host to produce return trips from a property’s best players.  That means they are always in contact with guests, building and enhancing relationships with their players both “old” and new.  The key to doing it right means ensuring the host is in contact with a variety of players, many of whom are at different places along the bell curve of their player cycle.

What do I mean?  Well, think about a cross-section of a casino’s database.  There are guests who have just discovered your property, or maybe they just signed up for a card even though this is their 4th visit.  Either way, these are your new players in terms of marketing.  Then you have the “regulars.”  These people play within a predictable pattern, and are likely to be in one of the top tiers of your players club.  You know them and they know you.  Surely you have decliners, who might fall between the cracks in your player retention programs.  If direct mail doesn’t move them, a host call might, but if no one realizes they’re missing, they might get that call too late; after they’ve found an alternative in one of your competitors.   Finally, there are the ones who are “lost.”  They haven’t been in for a while due to reasons you may or may not know.  Obviously there are players like these at all levels, but your hosts really need to be aware of those who are among your best.

Since it’s easiest to talk with people you know, many hosts tend to communicate over and over with the same core group of guests.  I often refer to them as “the usual suspects.”  They are generally good players who become the ones you look for in a roomful of players at an event or show or tournament.  These players absolutely deserve the attention, but focusing too much time on these players means that the host doesn’t manage her time properly and other guests go unnoticed or un-contacted.  Additionally, contacting them first every time there is a value-added opportunity for them means the profit margin on the guest (or couple) shrinks with every offer they accept.  You run the risk of unprofitability once spending on these players exceeds your target reinvestment percentage.

It’s better to spread that spend around.  Make sure your department’s overarching goals include specific activities targeting players in all stages of their cycle of worth to your property.  Identify a player profile of those you stand to lose to a competitor (using drive time, ZIP codes, frequency, and other metrics to see what those players “look like.”)  Determine how you’re going to segment new players and build goals for getting enough of them to return and become loyal (and profitable!)  Teams of generalists should have goals targeting reactivation and acquisition as well as retention, and they should include a little reach so they don’t fall by the wayside throughout the goal period…your property will lose good players along the way if the hosts aren’t working them.

120x110_tree_onlyTechnology can help you identify, segment, and track contacts with any player according to criteria you set.  Test, survey, adjust goals, monitor progress and measure results as often as possible to ensure your plans are working as expected.  Establish goals which require your team to shift priorities from only touching retention.  Talk with your hosts and understand the challenges they face.  Keep acquisition and (preemptive) reactivation top of mind with the team so they don’t lose sight of your best players in all areas of the cycle.  Keep everyone up-to-date with regular periodic reviews and updates of progress and pace to goal.  That way, every member of your Player Development team is on track, on pace and ready to change course if needed to reach the finish together.

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About harvesttrends

These posts on Casino Player Development are brought to you by Harvest Trends. We specialize in Player Development (PD). Please take a look at PowerHost, a comprehensive way to drive revenue from your team of Casino Hosts and Player Development Executives. Or contact me, Paul Cutler, at 561.860.2621 or pcutler@harvesttrends.com. I will overnight you an informative package along with pricing. We offer Host training, consulting on Host programs and goals, and PowerHost to enable Hosts to drive revenue from targeted contacts with valuable players.
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