Mr. Ippolito, Do you think the role of a player development Executive could be eliminated within the next 10 years? Direct Mailers/ inbound & outbound reservation agents/kiosks for comps on room/VIP check in & out agents. Are already in place. Our position is becoming a luxury?
I started out over 20 years ago and the industry, like any, like the world itself, is constantly changing and reinventing itself. You referenced direct mailers, inbound & outbound reservation agents, kiosks, VIP check in, all essential to deliver a high standard of customer service and of course help with payroll expense.
The business is changing and will continue to do so, especially in Vegas. With all the competition in the world it can only create the biggest challenge here in sin city. Our demographics have changed drastically over the years. Higher sources of income and revenue percentages have come from the nightclubs and pool parties.
First, let me say this, any executive, in any business, needs to change with the times and not fight progress to remain successful and productive. He/she needs to make these changes a part of their work place DNA and utilize any new standards, departments and operational procedures to their benefit instead of viewing them as obstacles.
Casino hosts have gotten complacent and have lost the true meaning of player development; the purpose of their job. It seems that over the years all I hear is, “I’m coded to these guys that gamble this much and I want more money. “ That is just ridiculous. And there is not a CPA on the planet that will buy into that unfortunately.
The one thing I teach and stress is that direct mailers, inbound reservation agents, kiosks, VIP check in, etc. albeit necessary, none of these services DRIVE incremental revenue. None talk directly to the player; none of them qualify the player. And they never ever will. The casino host has to master these skills and convert it into increased incremental gaming revenue.
A casino host must bring new business to the property. There is no way direct mail can do this.
None of the services above can walk the floor, work the pit and cut into players. These are the skills casino hosts need to make a part of their operational standards and thereby giving their job importance and value. A casino host has to be a broker and a lobbyist.
Direct mailers, inbound & outbound reservation agents, kiosks, VIP check-in, etc. may very well be the “opposition” (in this scenario) and so I ask you, how do you beat the opposition? You do what it cannot.
A casino host must ask themselves, “What is MY VIP experience?” Why should this player want me as a host? What do I bring to the relationship besides; I can do the math for the Comp/Theo ratio?”
I do not see the value or probability of the casino host job being eliminated in the years to come but I have already witnessed the drastic changes. Salary, of course, is the substantial change. Management is very aware that players are less and less loyal to their casino and their casino host. The players’ relationship with their host is no longer a deal breaker. As in any sales industry these days, we are all dealing with the educated consumer. The majority of players are, as we know, deal orientated. This happens historically when there is a high mass of competition and the cycles of properties “buying” business.
Casinos seem to be hiring from the Nightclub host pool, so they are indeed setting a new standard for the industry as well. Of course hiring the nightclub staff as casino hosts is what many believe was the absolute downfall of the Cosmo casino gaming revenue. I however feel they just were not trained properly or didn’t comprehend the true meaning of player development.
In any event (as I can go on and on) to answer your initial question, I do not see the value or probability of the casino host job being eliminated, of course that doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t, but I strongly believe it’s up to the individuals to prove their worth on a daily basis and to understand that this worth comes from capturing & delivering new and incremental gaming revenue.
The biggest obstacle we face in the next 10 years is the IRS. They are infiltrating and regulating our industry more comprehensively than ever. Taxes on winnings will be calculated and extracted as soon as the winnings are earned. Players gaming funds will be tracked and verified on every level.
Again, a lot of information here and sub topics but I hope I answered your question and eased your concerns. Please keep in touch. Feedback and professional opinions are always welcomed.
Good luck to you Joey, all the best!