As you know, players have lots of options today, often within walking distance of each other. So how do you keep your gamers coming back to you? The answer, although simple in theory, can be challenging in practice.

Earning customer loyalty is grounded in fundamental hospitality principles. You know what they are. You know what you should be doing. But are you doing it? Could you do it better? Have you developed a true customer-centric culture? Have you trained your team to do the right thing and to do it every time? Are you vigilant in nurturing the optimal guest experience?

A quick reminder checklist to ensure you’re covering the necessities:

Although casinos may differ in size, services (hotel, dining, entertainment etc.) and complimentary perks, the most important difference is your team. They ultimately control the guest experience and are most likely to be the deciding factor in whether and how often guests return.

To ensure your guests have a memorable experience, pay attention to what matters most to them.

1. Visual impressions: What do your guests see?

Whether consciously or subconsciously, what your guests see as they enter and move about your casino impacts their impression of the quality of your property. Make sure their view includes:

  • A clean, attractive, inviting setting that draws them in and makes them want to stay
  • Staff dressed in spotless, pressed attire/uniforms, wearing nametags
  • A well-designed floor plan that’s easy to navigate
  • A wide selection of games, including the latest options, all in good working condition

Voice of Customer (VOC) feedback from a real client program, which scored less than a 50% in Casino Floor Operations/Environment: “There was a significant amount of ash on the table when I was present.”

2. Environment: Are your guests comfortable?

Obviously, you don’t want your guests to leave due to easily prevented discomforts. Make sure there is:

  • Seating that’s cushioned and in good condition
  • Appropriate mood lighting—not too bright or too dim
  • A temperature-controlled climate set for the season
  • Prompt and attentive beverage service
  • A safe setting where guests aren’t nervous about carrying large sums of money
  • Hotel and/or dining services (if available) are conveniently located, and clean and attractive

3. Ambiance: How do your guests feel?

Guests want to feel like they are special, a part of the inner circle, members of the “family.” Whether they are winning or losing, guests should be treated like VIPs. Make sure your team members are trained to:

  • Greet guests as they enter and throughout the casino
  • Use guests’ names
  • Make eye contact
  • Use good listening skills to get to know guest preferences
  • Anticipate and respond to guest needs
  • Find solutions to problems
  • Act excited when guests win
  • Be knowledgeable about the entire casino – able to give directions, talk about services, suggest options, explain complimentary items, suggest things to do/try

VOC feedback included from a BARE client who typically scores between a 95-100% in Casino Operations quoted: “Jane was one of the most engaging and fun dealers that I have ever had.  She interacted with all of the players and used names frequently in a very comfortable way.  Always a good smile and always accurate.”

4. Perspective: Are you seeing your casino from your guests’ viewpoint?

Once you’ve invested in guest relations training, it’s critical to evaluate how well it’s working, monitor regularly and use findings to adjust and strengthen the program.

To ensure your guests have the optimal experience, you must view your casino from their perspective. The best way to do this is with customized mystery guest research. Through documentation of interactions with guest facing staff, mystery guest reports identify opportunities to improve, as well as to reward and incentivize staff.

Top 5 “Must Have’s” in Mystery Guest Research:

  • A well-crafted program with balanced forms customized to capture service excellence, identify service issues and missed opportunities, and to capture the individual nuances that distinguish your casino
  • Skilled evaluators experienced in the gaming industry who can provide objective reports from the standpoint of a player but the perspective of a guest
  • Established scenario interactions of varying length, time of day and day of week to prevent predictability of evaluator visits
  • Dedicated program management that provides pre-visit evaluator coaching to ensure consistency of data collection and scoring, resulting in supporting narrative statements with actionable data.
  • Robust data analysis with roll up reporting to call out trends across the casino, most improvable points, customizable to slice and dice data for all your department heads.

The other guy: What are your competitors doing?

To maintain your first choice status, it’s also important to know what potential suitors are doing to entice your gamers away. The best way to measure the strength of their allure is through a guest experience perspective. Mystery shop research is not only a valuable tool in assessing your own guest relations, but also a very effective way to get the inside scoop on your competitors.

Keeping your gamers loyal takes vigilant, ongoing attention.

To get it right, it’s essential to monitor your guests’ experience regularly and accurately. Maintaining objectivity and anonymity is key. Working with a reputable mystery guest research firm is recommended.

8-year hospitality client says about BARE, “Throughout the whole period that our companies cooperate together, BARE International has established itself as a responsible partner with a stable position in the market of audit services, fulfilling its obligations on time and with high quality.”

BARE International has 30 years in mystery guest research, a proven track record in the gaming industry and has worked with casinos across the US. We provide the data you need in the time frame you need it, with comprehensive, verified reports and a customized dashboard that enables you to easily interpret and utilize results.

Consider partnering with BARE International to maximize the effects of your guest relations program, and make your casino a place to remember, a place to return to, a place to recommend.

Linda Amraen, Global Director of Client Services, Hospitality and Gaming, BARE International
703 995 3105 • lamraen@bareinternational.comwww.bareinternational.com

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