Does your Player Development team have the right goals?

It’s of paramount importance in today’s marketplace that goals and objectives are in alignment across the enterprise regardless of the business you’re in.   Obviously, it’s more than beneficial to have everyone in the boat rowing in the same direction; these days it’s critical in maintaining ever-slimmer margins and productivity levels. It is a stark reality that the security of people’s jobs are often depend upon prudent management and the best possible use of a company’s assets.

There is never a bad time to take stock and evaluate whether or not the course you set in your earlier plans is still the right path to reach your destination.  It’s worth considering your original destination as well, while you’re at it. Talk with your counterparts in other departments and determine whether your team’s longer-term objective is still the one that best serves the enterprise.

For Casino Player Development, that means it’s time to look at all the elements of the team’s goals and determine whether or not changes should be made to either the financial or performance-related accomplishments the team is expected to make.  It’s important to take a step back and look at the big picture from the property’s perspective, do some analysis, and determine how PD can best support the overarching  role marketing is being asked to play in the property’s success.

Reactivation

Are there a large number of good players who haven’t made a visit to your property in the past 90+ days who need to be contacted by a host to generate some return trips?  If so, your host team should have goals to reactivate some of those guests.  Getting these players back before they defect is a concept I call preemptive reactivation.  Learn more about it here. Identify the players in question and assign them for a host to call, then credit the host with the play he generates as a result.

Acquisition

Maybe the property is focused on signing up new players.  To support that effort, your host team’s goals should include targets based on the number of high-worth new members they get back to your property within a month of their club enrollment.  Establish a minimum ADT and number of trips a worthy new player must make before he can be coded to the host and credit the host with the activity generated by his new players.

Retention

If the hosts’ coded lists have an activity level of less than 75% during a quarter, perhaps a retention goal is in order. Determine whether the coded players are on pace to maintain their average frequency, identify players who aren’t playing to their tier status, and get the hosts working on those folks to generate visits at a higher frequency or ADT.  For more on generating visits from loyal players without spending a lot of money, check out my blog post on that topic here

Host Potential

If your market is in flux (as are so many regional operators’ today), you may or may not still be targeting the right players.  Do some digging and figure out where the Player Development team’s “sweet spot” is in terms of minimum ADT.  There are undoubtedly players at your property who are coded to a host but shouldn’t be.  Conversely, it’s almost a certainty that there are also players who should be coded to a host but who aren’t.  While you’re ensuring that the team’s goals are aligned with the property’s expectations of marketing, doesn’t it make sense to be sure the hosts are reaching the right players to achieve their goals?  Decide whether re-coding is in order, and make sure the hosts know how to communicate with your guests about any changes you make.

Activity Measurement

For each of the larger objectives, set and measure the host’s targets any number of ways: # of guests contacted, % who returned, add uncoded players of worth and reward more for their visits, total # trips generated, # hotel bookings, # event bookings…the possibilities are limited only by your ability to track the results.  Each goal should include any associated offers or instructions the hosts may need. Communicate things like event details, upcoming shows, and guidelines for comps and handling exceptional guest requests at the same time as the new goals.  If you do the whole thing in writing, that’s even better.

Do a check of resources before finalizing any changes to the host’s goal structure, too.  Getting approvals for your new goals may turn out to be easier than quantifying the results at the end of the goal period.  Gather the resources (both human and otherwise) and make sure you and the hosts will have everything you need along the way to be sure you’re still on track.   Then you and the Player Development team will be ready to show ’em how it’s done.

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Assessing a Player Development Team

In most companies, employees receive annual evaluations to document their performance over a year’s time.  Some companies also require team leaders to evaluate their workers periodically (monthly, quarterly) to ensure they are on track and that their job performance is meeting certain milestones along the way.  I have long believed that an annual evaluation should never hold surprises for the recipient, as ongoing feedback and course corrections are beneficial to both the individual and the organization.  Wouldn’t it be even more beneficial, then, to have the ability to see on a daily basis whether a single employee or the entire team are on pace to achieve their goals?

In Casino Player Development, hosts sometimes miss out on bonuses by a few thousand dollars of theoretical.  When one has a goal of around a million dollars in theo over the course of a quarter, a miss of $5196 is a huge disappointment.  In the same way, it is embarrassing to miss a new member target by only a handful of active players…you see where this is going, right?  Knowing on a daily basis how each member of the team is trending makes it easy to provide ongoing feedback and encouragement to help them avoid that disappointment.

Establish reporting to give you an update every day on which hosted players were at the property, what you spent on them and what they spent with you.  Aggregated according to your department’s goals, see how many new members joined or returned, how many overdue guests have come back, how much theoretical has grown, and how many trips the regulars have made.  Every day.  As soon as someone is off course, both the host and team leader are aware of it so corrections and adjustments can be made.  Now.

If you aren’t already tracking the achievements and pacing to goal for your PD team (or if you’re a host who is flying blind) please allow me to recommend that you begin by taking a look at past achievements in order to plan for the future.  Setting a benchmark allows you to look back at past performance to show growth or where efforts are lacking in comparison.  In my series about setting and tracking host goals, I suggest that breaking a goal down into equal parts spread over the course of the goal period allows one to track whether one is on pace or not for each goal and objective.  That way, it’s easy to determine where the hosts’ efforts should be concentrated on any given day in order to ultimately achieve the goals he’s working toward. If you are a team leader, you are already responsible for reporting on the achievements of your team, and you need to be able to speak to their individual achievements as well as the aggregated accomplishments of your team.  So it makes sense to track how the hosts perform over time and note trends, how often they reach objectives and goals and which ones present a challenge to the team.

Using the benchmark, it’s a simple matter to show either the host or the C-suite what the strengths and weaknesses are for the team as a whole or as individuals, and where daily information has had an impact.  Along the way, be sure to compare the PD team’s results to property performance amid any market fluctuations, weather issues, construction, etc. that may have affected numbers.

Your host team should be driving play at a higher frequency, activity percentage, average theoretical and profitability than the direct mail program does.  Ideally, you’d be able to compare and contrast hosted players with unhosted players of similar worth, as in a split test.  If the hosted players aren’t spending more time and money at your property than those who don’t have a host, figuring out why can have a positive impact on your property’s bottom line.  Individual hosts who understand which players to move and why will also see their bottom line increase if your program includes bonuses for goal achievement.  That way, everybody wins!