Hospitality in the Casino – SERVICE COUNTS!

“Where Everybody Knows Your Na-ame”

Ah, Cheers!  I loved that show.  Besides the characters, Sam’s crazy lovelife, and the placement in New England, it held one underlying truth that is important to me, and I hope those of you reading today – everyone likes to be recognized by a group of friends and made to feel at home. Anyone enjoys the friendly greeting you receive at a place like “Cheers” when you enter your favorite bar, shoe store, restaurant, OR CASINO!

A place as big as a casino may not know everybody’s name, but it sure helps when you are made to feel like your patronage is appreciated.  It’s called “service with a smile.”  It used to be referred to as “the customer is always right” instead of “the customer better leave me a tip for just showing up with their meal.”  Like Rodney Dangerfield said, …lately, I get no respect.”

SERVICE is a part of the casino’s persona that I think sometimes all employees tend to is forgotten.  SERVICE shows the respect and appreciation for spending your hard-earned money at their establishment.

Whether the casino runs the restaurant, or they lease out the space for a chain, it still ALL reflects on the casino.  Bobby Flay, listen up.  Great burgers, but inconsistent and condescending waitresses will make patrons at Mohegan Sun walk to Johnny Rockets instead!  After waiting longer than usual for a burger “to go” at BBP, I finally get it handed to me, no explanation.  Upon asking why, I get that it’s “usual to wait that long” with this patronizing smile.  Do they think we’re stupid?  By the way, ten minutes before I asked about my order and watched as they panicked a little and put the order in again.  Good service is being honest, not assuming your customers are too stupid to know what happened.

Certain Casino brands get reputations for it’s guest service – both bad & good.  Caesar’s Entertainment (previously Harrah’s) was not known for it’s advantage gambling, but it’s reward system and the way it treated it’s customers was considered nationally as one of the best.  Then, their reputation changed with their name and the many casino acquisitions.  Now, it seems, they are placing more emphasis on service once again.  Casino CEO’s, listen up – “IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS YOUR EMPLOYEES DO THAT MAKES US WANT TO COME BACK!”

Some recent experiences:
1)  I go to the Players Reward booth (M Life) at Mirage in Las Vegas.  I ask if there are any promotions I need to know about.  This young person behind the desk replies abruptly “I don’t know?”  She stands there, flashing her fake eye lashes, with no answers, not offering to get any answers, and not even asking if there was anything she could do for me.  SERVICE RATING – Poor

2)  A musician in a local casino arrives at the venue early, and is met by a disgruntled, opinionated, arrogant, and obviously unhappy employee.  The sound engineer continues to berate the band, complain about things the musician have no control over, and complain about the casino’s hiring bosses for not providing the correct paperwork.  In short, why is this employee dumping on me?  It’s like yelling at the mailman because the letter you received wasn’t sent by the sender on time!  EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE & SERVICE – Poor

3)  Same casino – a friend of mine plays plays video poker at $.25 level ($1.25 x 300 hands per hour equals $375 through in one hour) and orders a beer.  Without explanation, the bartender brings a bottle beer.  After the hour, he bills her $4.00 for the beer after playing $375 through.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  But wait, there’s more…..

The difference in these three scenarios – in #3 the manager came over, got the information, discussed it with the bartender, apologies were made and peace was restored. They made up for it with any libation on the house, and more importantly a sincere respect and concern for their patron – kudos! And I might add, a new found respect for that bar, that bartender, that management, and that casino.  SERVICE – “Cheers!”

SERVICE COUNTS!  When more casinos are built, and more options are available in New England, it will be SERVICE and the things that make you feel at home that will keep locals and attract day-trippers from other states.  I will go out on a limb here and say “none of the New England Casinos will offer advantage play games, and slots payout % will be similar to each other.” (Wow, that’s a stretch!)  The games will all be similar, maybe the rewards clubs will be a little different, and bonuses will be tried to lure people in, but in the end, a steady clientele is what will be needed for their bottom line.  So, what might be the difference breaker  is to keep locals and add patrons – SERVICE!  “WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME”

That’s all for now.  But, I think it’s “royally” enough said.  Don’t you?