The economy is slowly recovering, in fits and starts, from a recession that changed how many Americans allocate any discretionary dollars they may wish to spend.  Most casinos today are tracking every dollar a guest spends whether at a gaming position or in a retail outlet, and reinvestments are being eked out of tighter margins in markets saturated with recreational options for the casino player. Glittery new properties struggle to reach aggressive financial targets and older casinos try to reinvent themselves, while guests riffle through a myriad of direct mail offers from near and far.

This means that casinos should look to the host team to secure the loyalty of the very best players in the database. This, in turn, means that the data related to who spends what is more important than ever. Understanding what motivates a player to spend at one casino over another is the future of player development, and there is no better way to gather that information than through a casino host’s personalized service to the high-end guest.

Are you truly leveraging your player development function? Have you moved to the model where casino hosts are measured on acquisition (finding and growing valuable new customers), growth (increasing the play and trips of existing customers) and reactivation (proactively contacting valuable players who have fallen off)? What about pre-emptive reactivation (Catching valuable players before they disappear)?

These are clues that your property has not moved on from using casino hosts as customer service reps. If you see the following, you need to re-model your player development function:

• Hosts spend their time walking the floor, signing up players for the club and writing comps for the property’s established players. 

• Hosts are running tournaments, making announcements and working the players club desk or the VIP lounge.

• Hosts spend all their time on the phone making reservations for hotel stays and booking players into events.

These activities are not necessarily driving revenue. But they have to be attended to by someone, right? Re-assign these customer service duties to the players club, guest services, or junior hosts because your player development team should be focused on increasing revenue from profitable players.

How can you quickly assess the focus of your player development team? Ask these questions of your hosts:

• Who are your top 20 players and when did they last visit? 

• Which valuable players are coming to the property this weekend and what results can we expect from them?

• Where do you stand against your goals this quarter for acquisition and growth of players?

And here are some questions that you need to ask of yourself. Are all the tasks you’ve assigned to the host team in alignment with their goals? With the property’s objectives? And do your give your hosts the information, each and every day, that they need to prioritize their time?

If any of those questions caused you to stop and think for a moment, or if you aren’t sure how to answer, then the future of player development is upon you. Most of those adjustments are easily implemented and won’t cost you a dime. Providing personalized service to the very best players you have is what your host team should be doing. 

Here’s how you get the team focused on driving loyalty (and revenue) from the cream of your crop:

• Ensure that your best players are coded to a host and that they are evenly distributed among the members of the team.

• Set up a method for identifying promising new players and getting their contact information to your hosts so they can bring those guests back.

• Identify profitable players who haven’t visited in a while and assign them to hosts for follow-up.  Create a feedback loop to determine why you lost the players and what needs to be done to get them back.

• Provide your player development team with goals which align with the property’s objectives.

• Eliminate any tasks that don’t allow your host team to balance their work among making phone calls, preparing personalized notes and mailings, and spending time on the floor connecting with guests.

• Arrange for measurements of the coded players and the goals you’ve set for the team so everyone can see how much revenue the team is driving. Make sure your hosts receive proactive information on a timely basis, each and every day, and not as a historical record at the end of the quarter.

  Casinos have invested millions in player tracking, promotions, direct mail and big giveaways to drive the masses. Invest the time and energy into ensuring your host team is prepared for the future so you can drive the loyalty and gaming value of your best players.