Besides making money, what do casino players want?

As the competition in New England increases in the next three years, ramping up to a possible 13 casinos, the main question casino personnel should be asking themselves is

“what do casino players want?”

I love to read articles about the other side of the table.  How does the casino staff and executives go about their business, and what dictates their daily, monthly and yearly decisions?

Guest service is the key to success. It’s called hospitality for a reason. Players wanted be respected and treated fairly.  We all  know (or should know) winning at the casino is not consistently possible, unless you are an AP (Advantage Player) – and these days, being an AP or Pro has become the increasing harder.

In this article, NETG will be covering only those suggestions pertaining to the casino floor, hotel and related areas.  Entertainment, dining, and other leisure/amusement activities will be left for a different post. Today is about the vast majority of the casino’s visitors, the recreational gamblers like you and me. The whole guest experience is the most important thing for casino CEO’s should be looking to improve constantly, from the initial contact through departure, whether staying overnight or on a day trip, .

Janet Hawk, from RavingConsulting.com wrote an article concerning just that. RavingConsulting.com  is a full-service gaming resource for casino consulting, guest service, casino marketing, security & surveillance, database, player development, research, online gaming, design & construct, food & beverage, management & host sales and skills training … yes, just about everything casino personnel need to know about.

I will now try to translate to the players point of view.  Here is what I think counts towards player satisfaction, recreational gambling, fun, and enjoyment. This includes those things that make gamblers stop and think if this is the right casino for them. I mean, we all understand house edge, but we visit anyway.  What makes us return, and makes us say “never again.” Here are Janet’s concerns, as well as a few added by our NETG staff. See what you think:

  1. (NETG) CONSISTENCY of RULES by EMPLOYEES When Dealing with Players.  Pit bosses, hosts, dealers, slot techs – they should all know the casino’s approach with player concerns.  Getting a different answer from two different people on the same casino team just influences a move to a different casino. A consistent and detailed way to evaluate each area in the casino is expected its visitors.  Knowing the casino is working as a team to make your stay an enjoyable one is important.

    Robert De Niro, the old intimidating image of a pit boss.
  2. (JH)FRIENDLY ENGAGEMENT with guests.  Janet goes on to suggest to casino management “Don’t just observe, but engage! It’s easy to just sit back and observe, but you have to engage to really experience what your guests are seeing, hearing, and feeling.”  Janet Hawk suggests to casino management to visit the competition, especially those doing well, and act like guests.  Instead of “bitching” about what’s wrong, players would be more interested in friendly conversation.
  3. (JH)HOTEL STAYS MADE EASIER.  Rooms should be ready, cleaned, and in working condition on time.  It should be what the guest expects it to be – and more.  Players enjoy staying in the hotel in between sessions.  The room should be a place for rest, respite, or relaxation.  It should also be a place for sleep at night, without interruption.  Complaints should be handled promptly, especially about other inconsiderate guests next to you.  I won’t go back to a place that I was not allowed to re-energize for the next morning’s session – not to mention any names like Westgate, Cosmo, and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (for example).
  4. (NETG)COMPING POLICIES SIMPLY EXPLAINED AND CONSISTENT DONE.  Don’t give me the run-around.  If you are a casino that wants to wallow in secrecy about how players earn comps, then I’ll go elsewhere.  If the casino or company is ashamed of their hard-to-get comps policy, then there are many websites with comparative information to be found.  A casino that makes players feel stupid for asking about comps makes their policies seem even more fore-boding.
  5. (NETG)GETTING MORE FOR YOUR PLAY THAN LESS – This just doesn’t refer to winning.  Although, in recent years, the “nickel-and-diming” of some industry companies makes time-in-play shorter and shorter.  Changing table game rules, diminishing payout % on slot and video poker, paid drinks and parking (are you listening MGM, Caesars?) What’s next, if player play enough, the get comped chairs to sit in?As Victoria, a new follower of NETG, says “Playing more & getting less can make a loyal player look elsewhere!”
  6. (NETG) FRIENDLY and INFORMED PLAYERS CLUB STAFF – Every time I get a card, or I visit a casino for the first time in a while, I go to the Players Club and ask “what promotions should I be aware of, today?”  Half the time i’m met with friendly, informed staff that start my visit feeling “this is the place for me.”  But the other 50%?  I might as well call up the website for a more pleasant experience. Bert, of NETG, says “Players Clubs are the first contact for most players, especially newbies.  That first contact should set expectations for the visit.”
  7. (NETG) CLEAN AND VISUALLY INVITING GAMING AREAS – I have nothing against the disgusting trail of ashes left on the VP screen by a smoker (hmmm, maybe I do?)  or the nauseating look of drinks piled up next to your machine.  CLEAN THE CASINO!  And upon entering the table game area, or any part of the casino floor, the vision in front of you should be enticing, pleasing to the eye.  No one wants to stay and play in a dump.
  8. OTHER THINGS THAT JANET HAWK SUGGESTS THAT PLAYERS WANT
  • Good WiFi signal
  • Good Signage to navigate around casino, restaurants, entertainment venues, etc
  • More electrical outlets, especially in hotel bathrooms.  And how about USB ports – now more important than ever.
  • A Coffee maker in your hotel room.  (YES!  who wants to pay $4.00+ for a coffee or wait for service on the casino floor.)
  • Not hearing employees complaining while on the job.  (Instead of standing together “bitching about the place,” try engaging with the customer.  It makes us feel special.)
  • Great customer service on the casino floor.
  • Employees who respond to a complaint with “I know” or “I’m sorry,” then do nothing to make it right.
  • If a guest needs something, don’t make them come get it, take it to them!

Janet ends by saying, “By paying attention to details and learning your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, you can improve your product substantially, and really create a wonderful guest service experience for your guests!”  A a wonderful guest service experience for your guests! That’s what both sides of the industry should want at a casino.

 

Binbin              

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