Tag Archives: HostMAPP

Getting Your Casino Player Development Team Back On Track

“What should I do if my team is behind pace for achieving their goals?” If you’ve ever asked that question, this post is for you.

There are a number of great ways to get the team back on track, and not a single one of them involves anything painful. (Well, maybe just a little emotional pain is involved if anyone who is part of the process decides to make excuses or tries to pass the buck.) Being proactive is the key here, as it’s nearly impossible to make up lost revenue at the end of a quarter. For your team’s success, look at the numbers as often as possible and discuss the situation with your team at least weekly to ensure the feedback loop is fully functional.

The first thing to do is determine which goals are presenting the biggest challenge. Presumably, your host team has more than one goal: theoretical, retention, and either acquisition and/or reactivation numbers to achieve. If the team is struggling with theoretical, then improvement in any one of these three major patron groups will have an immediate impact on theo aggregation. If new or inactive players are where the team is struggling, there are some really effective ways to get those patrons back into your casino before the quarter is out, provided you reach them quickly. When retention (maintenance) is the issue, perhaps there’s a bigger problem afoot. Identify where the “missing” players are, and you’ve got a starting point.

So, once you’ve identified the patrons who need to be targeted, it’s time to determine the root of the problem.  (That’s right, the next step involves analysis. You saw that coming, didn’t you?) Determine which segment of the “missing” players is most responsible for the shortcoming. Are your local patrons not making as many visits as they once did? Are you having trouble activating new members for a second or third visit? Is a competitor actively courting your regulars? Is the weather keeping your older guests from driving to the property on weekdays? Did the direct mail offers not move the $200-$300 ADT group? Are your hosts simply not connecting with their players as they should? Any one of a zillion factors could be at play, so you need to figure out which one(s) are affecting the numbers.

Then, it’s time to come up with a plan to mitigate the loss(es) and make up that lost ground.

  • If the locals are making fewer trips, a low- or no-cost event may be the way to go. Assemble some of your guest-friendly executives for a town hall -style meeting to ask the patrons who keep your power on, “What’s keeping you away?” (Be prepared to hear some crazy responses, and make sure no one makes promises the property can’t keep!)
  • While I’m not a proponent of matching competitor offers, knowing what the other properties are doing is the only way to ensure your patrons can’t play you against one another. Shop your competitors or develop a relationship with a good player (or several) who regularly visits several properties to keep abreast of what they are offering. If your budget allows it, retain a company who can provide you certain ADT range comparisons and offer updates from the properties you choose.
  • For icky weather, drop a postcard that extends a special offer to motivate weekday visits after a particularly cold or snowy period. I’ve seen both point multipliers or mail offer date extensions do a great deal to bring in folks who just couldn’t make it in when it was nasty out.
  • If you aren’t sure the host team is doing all it can (or even if you think they are…), monitor host contacts daily to ensure they are making every effort to build relationships with the players you’ve assigned to them. Hold them accountable if they aren’t.
  • For new members, coordinate with your traditional marketing and direct mail teams to ensure the new member offers are reaching mailboxes (or inboxes or voice mail boxes) in a timely manner to engage worthy new cardholders. Target the best for host contact as soon as possible after the first visit.
  • Most importantly, don’t accept excuses or the status quo. Hosts who aren’t doing the job need to know that’s not acceptable. Offers that don’t get a response should be evaluated and, perhaps, tweaked or replaced. Competitor moves that impact your numbers must be countered in a cost-effective way.

Taking a little bit of time to identify the cause of any shortfall will give you the best basis for making a difference with whatever you decide to do to make it up. Relentless analysis and postmortem evaluation will help you learn what works and what doesn’t. Regular two-way communication and coordination with all the parties involved will enable you to stay proactive and make up lost ground sooner rather than when it’s to late.

What tactics have you used to make up revenue you might have otherwise lost? What worked and what didn’t?

 

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How a (PD) idea became a reality

Once upon a time, a Casino Player Development Manager had an idea. He was using spreadsheets to run his host team and measure their achievements. Parts of his program were working just fine, but other parts had room for improvement.

“My hosts are good at prospecting and identifying good players on the gaming floor and in the database because of our Casino Management System technology,” he thought. “But how can I make a change so that they are more proactively qualifying those players and making them loyal to our casino?” Because the hosts wouldn’t benefit from the theoretical generated by their prospective players until AFTER they had qualified to be coded, there was no urgency to work toward getting these players to come in more often and/or play more…and that’s what hosts are supposed to do.

He was only able to “code” players to the hosts at the change of the quarter, because his property’s lone database analyst spent so much of his time and resources on keeping the mail moving (and analyzed) that he didn’t have time to provide PD reports more often than once each month. This limitation was also responsible for the property’s inability to give the hosts “credit” for the theoretical generated by the prospect players.  The idea was to use a rolling 90-day qualifying period that would run concurrently with the goal period.Unfortunately, when he had this idea, restructuring the reports and other processes used to run the PD program just wasn’t an option.

To get anything more than once-a-month reports, the PD manager had to run his own canned reports, export the data and crunch the numbers into something he could share with the team. Doing this took as much as 40% of his week; all to provide weekly updates to keep the team on track. Hosts, too, could run and export some canned reports, but they spent too much precious time massaging the lists into something they could work with. The PD Manager and his boss knew there had to be a better way.

Fortunately, the property was just about to subscribe to a service that would allow them to streamline and optimize their direct mail program and free up some of the database analyst’s bandwidth for ad hoc reporting the Marketing Director wanted to see. The PD Manager began building a relationship with this new service provider, and he explained his idea to his account representative.She worked with him to set up the program based on his hosted player qualifications and the details of the program. Then, the idea became a reality.

Today, each host receives a Daily Action Plan automatically, and knows exactly how he is pacing to goal, which of her players was on property yesterday, which of their prospects have qualified, and why the ones who haven’t didn’t. The PD Manager (who has since been promoted, but still runs the PD team) receives his own Daily Action Plan, which provides a snapshot of his PD program. It lets him know how each of his hosts is doing in terms of goals and objectives, which players need to be coded to which host, and which ones weren’t activated. (Players don’t sit dormant on a host’s prospect list any more after 90 days, so someone else can give them a call!)

In addition to the Daily Action Plan for PD, the Manager receives a handful of additional daily updates on overall profitability, day/week/month trends, and a few others he and his coworkers “designed. If he wants, he can also log in to a dashboard and see how his rewards program is doing in terms of new players and tier churn, how each of his specified markets are performing, and what sort of mail redemption they’ve had, among (a LOT of) other things.

He gets all of this automatically, or in the case of the dashboard, whenever it is most convenient for him. He doesn’t have to ask the database analyst, the database analyst doesn’t have to stress over when he can get to it, and the Manager has the information he needs to run all of his programs more efficiently and effectively. They can arrange to have automated updates sent to specified property recipients, make and monitor changes to any of their programs, and have a much wider and more granular view of their database with this subscription.

The moral of the story? All things are possible. You can bring your ideas into the real world. You just need the right tools and the right partners.

So. What would you build if you could make your ideas reality?

 

Who is it that you seek?

Before you can begin a journey, you must have a destination in mind.  Sure, we’ve all jumped in the car and driven aimlessly on a journey of discovery, but usually if you’re going someplace, you are, well, going to some place.  In Casino Marketing and Player Development, the same is true.  In order to get somewhere, you have to know where you’re going.

So how does this relate to the title?  Well, this is a blog about goal positioning, after all, and usually the biggest component of casino hosts’ goals is related to their players and the revenue those players generate.  It follows, then, that finding the right players makes it easier to set the right goals.  Right?  Right.

Take a look at the profile of your hosts’ player lists.  Is the average trip frequency pretty high?  Is the average ADT on the higher end of your target range?  Do you (and more importantly, do your hosts) know enough about these players to put faces to the names when you see them on the lists?   If so, to some degree, this is a good thing because it means you know your players.  But, if most of your coded players are known to you and your team, there are probably players in your database who are underserved and worthy of your hosts team’s attention.  Assigning those players to your hosts instead will drive increased revenue.

Look next at your host team’s theoretical targets for the last few quarters.  Has there been growth or are they struggling to achieve? If there has been some growth, from where did the growth come? Prospecting worthy new and unknown players is key, and I suspect that you have some hosts who are aces at finding and activating those players…and some who aren’t.  Identifying the sources of additional revenues will allow you to target similar players and increase your team’s growth even more.

You can give those hosts who are skittish about prospecting  a nudge in the right direction by providing prospective players for them.  Do some digging and determine what kinds of players are in your database who offer some potential for increased visitation and/or play, then assign them to your hosts for contact and activation. We call them “players of interest,” and understanding the typical player of interest in your database (particularly in terms of potential worth to your property long term) is the first step in turning those folks into loyal patrons.

Look for players of high worth and low trip frequency first and foremost.  Odds are they’re playing someplace else and your host team can steal a trip or two simply by establishing contact and starting to build a relationship with them.  Scoop up players with a minimum of two trips in the recent past and whose ADT is promising.  The specifics are going to be unique to your property and market, but don’t shoot too low.

Do you have some numbers in your head already?  Good!  Now decide how much activity the hosts have to generate from these players in order to have them coded.  How many trips must they make in how much time?  What must their ADT or cumulative theoretical or actual loss be in that time?

Once you’ve done that, you can set new theoretical targets for the team based on the activation of these prospect players and drive more revenue for your property.  That is, after all, what your host team is supposed to do.

Harvest Trends can help you with this task, particularly if you are short on database resources.  The HostMAPP dashboard and the Daily Action Plan will allow you to identify, assign and track the activity of these valuable guests from beginning to end. Our new host-dpecific DRM (named BoB, for BOok of Business) enables you to see in real time whether or not your hots are contacting the players of interest you’e assigned for them. It alerts you and your hosts every day to their success and pace to achieving the goals you’ve set for them.

Contact Amy for a 30-minute demo (or to ask questions) today!

Getting With the Program

Host goals should be in alignment with the property’s overall marketing direction. Hosts should have an understanding of the profitability of their players, and their authority to supercede or supplement a player’s existing offers should be dependent upon their understanding of the total reinvestment in that guest.

It sounds like common sense, right? How often, though, do the “traditional” marketers and the Player Development team join forces to ensure that their goals and objectives are in alignment? When it’s time to establish or update the host team’s goals, it’s also time to communicate with marketing team leaders to determine whether what seems obvious is in fact still the right direction for the hosts. As you review your results each goal period and launch the next, it is a good time to look back at the team’s benchmarks, assess the goals and objectives of both the team and the property, them determine whether any adjustments are needed for the next couple of quarters.

If your host team is killing it, and they are surpassing their goals pretty readily (bless them!), then it may be time to up the ante, so to speak. Do some database mining and find the players who aren’t visiting as often or playing as much as they should, decide how much revenue is left on the table, then set new theo targets. Or, if you aren’t doing it already, round-robin assign new members of worth and include the anticipated play and trips in your hosts’ next set of goals.

If your host team is struggling to achieve the targets they’ve been given, perhaps a realignment with marketing is overdue and would be beneficial for everyone.  Take a look at how the hosts are spending their time, evaluate their player lists and see if there are some players who need to be replaced with those of higher worth and lower frequency, and let marketing handle the maintenance for a quarter while the hosts drive some revenue and taste success again.

Honestly, there is never a bad time to step back and take a higher-level look at your Player Development team’s contribution to the overarching marketing program. It also seems there is never enough time, either.   Make a list of your questions, get them answered, and set aside some time to make sense of what you learn.  stablish your processes for measurement and follow-up before making changes to the host program, set the new targets, communicate them to the team, and you’re good to go.  You don’t have to wait until the end of the goal period to get started.

In fact, there are several consultants and technology companies who can provide you an objective view of your operation. FInding the right partner to validate what you believe to be true, point out things you might not have known, and hand you a list of low-hanging fruit may be just what you need to refine your efforts and set the team up for success. Harvest Trends offers both the technological assistance and consultant’s view to benefit our partners to the fullest. Want to know more? Visit our website at www.harvesttrends.com, call us at 877-277-5661, or sign up for our newsletter to learn how we can help you.

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.

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.

How Do You Know How You’re Doing?

A host I know lost his job because he failed to meet his goals in his first quarter at a new property. Sadly, he says he was never told that he had only one quarter to prove that he could achieve goals. Not only that, he added that no one gave him a progress update during that first quarter. Not once. Can you believe it? It’s bad enough to feel as though you’ve failed because you missed a target, but imagine losing your job due to your very first failure to achieve your goals.

Let’s imagine for a moment that you are an Ace Casino Host. You do the work you have been asked to do: you return calls, host player events, talk to people, resolve issues, make reservations, answer questions and represent your property like a pro…but how are you doing?

Can you confidently say, at any point in any day, how you are tracking to achieve the goals you’ve been working toward? Do you have to rely on a gut feeling that you’re generating enough revenue to hit your theoretical target? Do you have a way to look it up or calculate it? Are you supposed to bring back folks who haven’t visited lately? How about new club sign-ups or high-worth recent new members? Have you signed up or brought back in enough players to reach the goal? Can you check?

During your team meetings, are you asked how you’re doing? Does someone tell you? Do you write it down, track your activity, and see the ebb and flow of your guest’s visits and play history? If someone asked you to demonstrate your contribution to the company’s goals, could you do it? Do you know which of your daily tasks are the most important or upon which ones you should focus today to remain on course to achieve your goals and objectives?

In order to understand how to reach your destination, you must first be aware of where you are and how best to navigate your way. Then, you can know what obstacles are in your path, use the right strategies to circumvent them, and make steady progress to the finish line. Do you have these essential touchpoints? If not, how do you keep yourself on target?

In order to have a productive day, an Ace Casino Host needs to understand which players should be his priority contacts. To do his job most effectively, that host needs context for each contact. You handle each player differently because they are individuals, and you approach them differently based on the reason for the contact. Right?

So, would any of the following be useful to you, Ace Casino Host?

  • A daily update on your theoretical for the goal period to date
  • A progress report on metrics upon which you could earn a bonus
  • A list of players who haven’t made a trip recently and need a call
  • Players who haven’t made trips as frequently as they used to
  • Newly coded players with whom you haven’t yet made contact
  • Brand-new club members who played well when they signed up
  • Players who have a birthday or other occasion coming up soon
  • Good players who haven’t played as well lately
  • Okay players who have played better recently

Wouldn’t it be awesome if this information was available to you every day? What if it was delivered automatically, waiting in your email inbox, without your having to lift a finger? Or, even better, what if you could log in and see this information whenever it’s convenient for you, and you could quickly note that you had made the call or booked the guest?

It can be.  Harvest Trends can help your property configure a PowerHost program specific to your goals and objectives.  Ask us how.