There are signs the economy is improving and that casinos are attracting more guests. Is the gaming industry ready for an economic rebound and the competitive challenges it will bring?
If the Recession Is Fading, Are Casinos Ready
For Players-Market, Gloves-Off Competition?
There are signs the economy is improving and that casinos are attracting more guests. Is the gaming industry ready for an economic rebound and the challenges it will bring?
“The gaming industry is often referred to as counter cyclical – doing well when the economy is soft,” says Martin R. Baird, president of Phoenix, Ariz.-based Robinson & Associates, Inc., a guest service consulting firm for the gaming industry. “Perhaps this recession has been particularly tough on casinos because this is the first time an economic downturn coincided with a high level of competition in the industry.”
Therein lies the future of casinos from this point forward, Baird says. “If Slot Online casinos think competition was fierce the past few years, those days will look like child’s play in the months ahead,” Baird notes. “When the economy truly revives, the gloves will come off and it will be a player’s market.”
Baird offers the following tips on how casinos can compete for guests during even tougher competitive times.
Shun the Old Traps – Avoid short-term, stop-gap solutions: blowing the marketing budget to “rent” a few guest for awhile, going to double or triple points, increasing the buffet offering and reducing prices, giving rooms away so people will stay in your hotel.
Target Guest Service – Instead of falling back on short-term tactics, offer a truly outstanding guest experience that keeps players coming back. Get management to support this effort. “An all-out effort to improve guest service will not work unless management buys into it 100 percent and clearly demonstrates its commitment to all employees,” Baird says.
Conduct An Audit – Evaluate the current status of your customer service by conducting a guest service audit. Review your guest service records and see what has worked and what has not. “Know every detail of your service and be brutally honest with yourself,” Baird says.
Get the Guest’s Perspective – Create a 360-degree perspective by augmenting your own opinion of your service with the guest’s point of view. “Know what guests think, see and feel when they’re at your property,” Baird suggests. “Go beyond comment cards by mystery shopping your guest service. It’s the only way you’ll get the unbiased data you need.”
Train and Train Again – Your employees probably will need customer service training to take the guest experience to a higher level. “Here’s an opportunity for management to show its support,” Baird notes. “Management absolutely must take part in the training with everyone else. That sends a powerful message to your employees.”
Recognize, Reward Desired Behavior – Showing employees how to provide excellent service is not enough. They need incentives. “When they demonstrate the desired behavior – doing what they were trained to do – they should be rewarded as quickly as possible so they can make the connection,” Baird says. “Recognize their efforts and reward them.”
Remember the Details – Little things add up when a guest forms an opinion of the experience they had at your casino: keep the property clean, smile while working and interacting with guests, make eye contact with guests, have a positive attitude, listen when guests talk to you, look approachable and alert, be proactive for your guests.
Robinson & Associates, Inc., is a guest service consulting firm that provides specialty guest service training, management skills training, presentation skills training, team building programs and employee incentive and recognition programs for casinos. Baird has a Web site, www.casinocustomerservice.com, that’s devoted to helping casinos improve their guest service so they can compete and increase revenues. Robinson & Associates may be reached at 480-991-6421. Baird may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Robinson & Associates is an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.