It takes a lot of work to introduce a strategic approach and your new Host Goals. (Do you know what kinds of Host Goals there are?)
Let’s talk about who writes the goals, what you will need in your budget to be successful, how long it takes to implement your ideas, and where do you start?
Who Writes the Casino Host Goals?
The manager of Player Development will take the lead on writing the goals but there needs to be collaboration across Player Development, Finance, HR, and IT.
The Finance department can help with modeling scenarios that describe ‘what might happen to the bottom line’ if the Hosts meet their goals and can also help with ‘what might it cost’ if you are going to add a bonus to the base salary for the team members.
The CFO will probably review the analysis and the General Manager will provide the final sign-off.
The HR department can help Player Development with the ‘softer side’ of how to communicate and roll-out the program in a positive way. You must constantly communicate with the Hosts and describe the broad outline of what is being discussed so that they don’t speculate or panic about what might be changing in their future.
And you need to keep the IT department involved throughout the process to make sure that IT will be able to track the results against the proposed goals.
Often, Player Development has to fight for monthly and even quarterly reporting because the Database team is overwhelmed with tasks to support the Direct Marketing program.
Do not underestimate the amount of daily reporting needed from IT or your vendor
What Do You Need In Your Budget?
There are six areas that you will need to address to implement your new Host Goals, and you should include these items in your upcoming budget:
3. Contact Management software
4. Extensive reporting
5. Control over Host Coding
6. Bonus and Recognition programs
Hopefully buying this book on Casino Host Goals will eliminate the need for you to hire a consultant but, realistically, you may need to hire a consultant to help you with the process. Be careful that you hire someone with a background in Player Development and actual experience of introducing host goals. There are many gaming consultants with a deep background in Direct Marketing and segmentation, but that experience does not necessarily transfer over into Player Development.
If you are introducing Host Goals, then you are probably asking your team to make a significant transition from their current role (of taking care of players on-property) to the new and additional role of reaching out via cold-calls to find out why a player has disappeared, or what a new player thought of their first trip.
We have seen too many Casinos assume that a Host who does a great job in person, face-to-face, is going to have the confidence and skills to place an un-invited phone call. Instead, they might avoid making the calls altogether, or they might place the call and then ramble incoherently.
We strongly recommend that you budget for on-site training for your team on how to place effective out-bound calls to ‘close the deal’ and get the player to commit to the next trip.
Select a trainer who is prepared to do role play with your Hosts, and listen in to some actual phone calls, so they transfer skills and do not just speak to the Theory.
You need a contact management system that captures each Host interaction with the guest (called a ‘contact’) in a way that lets you export the data and measure the contacts. This software is also called CRM – Customer Relationship Management.
Yes, most player tracking systems have a ‘Notes’ feature where the Host team can capture interesting facts about the player. But this Notes feature is insufficient for implementing Host Goals.
Because you need a way to track the Host behavior, and you need a tool that will tell the Hosts what they need to do next to achieve their goals.
You need a contact management system designed for Hosts that is integrated with your ratings and reporting system. A Host CRM will classify the players and recommend who the Hosts should contact next to meet their goals.
Please also note that, as of writing this book, many player tracking systems do not allow more than one type of coding relationship. Your Player Development manager is probably tracking these other relationships in MS Excel or by creating fake Host IDs in your player tracking system. E.g. Denise Active, Denise Inactive, Denise New. PowerHost can do this ‘soft coding’ automatically based on business rules.
You are going to need an extensive set of reporting tools from either your IT department or from your Casino CRM:
- Hosts will need daily reports that tell them exactly where they stand against their goals (the ‘pace’) and exactly whom they need to call to achieve results.
- The manager will need daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly reports.
- The Audit team will request in-depth audit trails at the end of the Quarter to justify the results before any financial bonuses that are to be paid out.
If the IT department is going to create the reports then buy them a copy of this book because we include sample reports for managers and Hosts!
Control over Host Coding.
The brutal reality is that an unscrupulous team member may decide to change the Host Coding to manipulate the results and achieve their goals. Ensure that only the manager can go into the system and code, or re-code, a player. If you cannot lock this down, then ask IT for a weekly audit report that shows the PD Manager whether the Hosts have changed the coding.
Bonus and Recognition.
You should implement a financial bonus program for some of the goals, especially the goals that are designed to generate extra revenue from additional trips and play, but don’t rush into this approach.
Implement the goals without a financial bonus and monitor the situation for a quarter. You may find that either the Hosts find it impossible to meet the goals because you have set the bar too high, or that the Hosts achieve 200% of goal because you have set the bar too low. Once you are confident that you can predict the results then you can introduce financial bonuses.
Bonus checks are important, but they are not the only form of recognition.
You might provide bonus checks for goals that drive revenue and use other forms of positive feedback for goals such as ‘making regular contact with guests’. This can include a personal note, acknowledgement in a team meeting, or a free pizza if the team meets their team goal for the month!
It is a good idea to design a staggered bonus scheme, so the Host gets an increasing reward for being at 100%, 105%, 110% or more of the goal. (You might even provide a small bonus at 95% so they don’t give up.)
And you want to pay a team bonus, on at least one of the team goals, so the Hosts have a real incentive to work together and to lift each other’s performance.
How Long Does This Take?
It will take at least three months to define the goals and obtain sign off from the General Manager. In parallel, it can take six to nine months to pick a vendor, obtain approval for the contract, go through the Gaming Authority, and implement the vendor solution!
Don’t wait for the funding. If you are serious then you should immediately start to design your goals and look around for consultants and vendors.
If you hope to introduce goals at the start of next year, then you need to begin in July of this year!
Here are some principles to remember as you move forward…
Did you find this useful? Here is a 5-page whitepaper to share with your GM and executive team.