Specialists or Generalists…What’s Best for Your Property?

In Casino Marketing, there’s really no such thing as “one size fits all.”  Every market, property, and guest is distinctive and should be treated as such.  But what does that mean for your Player Development program?  Do each of your hosts handle retention, reactivation and acquisition, or are some of your hosts focused on one of these areas exclusively?  Should you make the switch?  Your property’s objectives and your market should be your guide.

If you are in a mature market with fairly stable competition, your host team should probably be generalists.  Why?  Because you aren’t likely to have a ton of new sign-ups, so acquisition is not a big area of focus for your hosts (though you obviously want to capitalize on the good new players you DO get).  The entire host team probably knows “the usual suspects” pretty well and is attuned to their patterns, at least somewhat.  That leaves reactivation, which you likely have a system in place to address.  As long as the hosts know which players to contact and why, they are presumably good at all three aspects of the player life cycle.  In this case, it might be best not to rock the boat.  Or you could limit any specialization to new hosts or those who are struggling to build relationships with your existing player base.

If your market is experiencing major changes, though, whether it’s because your property is a new one or if it is being surrounded by new competitors, you might want to consider specialization among the hosts on your team.  A market in flux is one in which specialization may be an advantage.

All that Glitters...
All that Glitters…

Making the decision to specialize your hosts’ areas of focus is not for the faint of heart, however.  It is a structural change, necessitating major shifts in how  your hosts do their jobs each day.  Specialization means an overhaul of how player lists are coded.  It also dictates substantial changes to the department’s and the host’s goals.

So, before making the leap, you’ll want to do some analysis and careful planning.  Use your analytical tools to identify what your new member program is doing for you.  How many players in your target ADT range are making a second trip?  What do they look like in terms of market and demographics?  Are you losing good players to your competitors?  Which ones?  How many?  Where do they live?  Are they still coming to your property but less frequently?  Are they playing less when they are visiting you?  How can you leverage the talents of your host team to maximize the number of trips and value from your best players?

Do you have a dynamo who is great at initiating contact and convincing people to sign up for and use a player card?  Is there a host on your team who can crank out calls and generate visits from the guests he contacts?  How about the one who is the life of the party and can make contacts on the gaming floor who proclaim they’ll never go to another casino because they love her so much?  Consider playing to the strengths of these hosts by having them focus the majority of their energies on the thing they do best.  Determine which of your hosts will specialize in which areas based on those strengths.

Start by assessing your team’s individual strengths using questions like those just posed to you.  Expand upon your thoughts about each host, similarly to the way you’d begin to write annual evaluations for them.  Next, consider how those strengths can be used to target a particular segment of your player base.  If a host is better suited for in-person contact, they wouldn’t be the most effective in a reactivation role; you’d want him to work in acquisition or retention.  Alternatively, a host who is able to connect with players over the phone or via compelling written communication would be great for reactivating your more dormant guests.

To re-build player lists and establish goals for your newly specialized team, you have to go back to the analytics.  Set a handful of targets for each group of specialized hosts and their associated players: acquisition, reactivation and retention.

You know the idiosyncrasies of your particular market better than anyone, so this post won’t get into a lot of detail about how to set goals.  (Besides, you can see that at our casinoplayerdevelopment.wordpress,com blogs on host goals.)  Making the decision is a big one, but one which could have a beneficial effect on your host team’s productivity, which translates to a better bottom line for the property.  If that’s the case, everybody wins.

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