Does Your Casino Provide $5-A-Gallon Guest Service?

Back in the spring of 2006, a thought occurred to me that proved prescient.  I wondered if casino guests would be willing to burn $5-a-gallon gasoline to drive to a casino and have a little fun.

At that time, global oil prices had set a shocking record topping $72 a barrel and Americans were grumpy because they were paying $3 a gallon for gas.  Wow, that seems like the good old days now.  At the time I wrote this column, crude was selling for more than $130 a barrel and $4-a-gallon gas was a harsh reality.  That was for regular, folks.  Motorists buying premium or diesel were paying close to $5 in some cities.  Which means $5 for a gallon of regular gas is no longer a stretch.  In fact, I’m beginning to wonder about $6 a gallon.

With our economy very shaky today and the cost of everything going up, Americans are no longer grousing as they fill their tanks.  They’re genuinely worried.  And they’re not always topping off.  Many people only buy half a tank of gas or less because it’s so expensive.

So all this begs the question that first popped into my head in 2006.  Are your guests willing to pay $5 a gallon for gas – or more – so they can drive to your casino?
Actually a more pointed question is do you provide $5-a-gallon guest service to entice guests to your property?  Are you creating a gaming experience that encourages guests to make a cash investment just to walk through your door?

Following are some suggestions on how casino employees can polish their guest service and the gaming experience they deliver.  You may be surprised at how easy it is to implement these ideas.

Customers Or Guests?  Perhaps I’m splitting hairs here, but try to think of the people who play at your casino as guests rather than customers.  A customer is someone who buys a good or a service.  A guest is a person who receives hospitality or is entertained.  In the gaming business, your goal is to have guests.  You’re part of the entertainment and hospitality.  So it’s important that you think of people who walk through your door as guests.  If it helps, think of them as people who are coming into your home.  They are not customers who put three dollars on the counter and leave with something.

Happy.  Happy is such a simple word.  We all want to be happy and casino guests are no different.  Sometimes you have to go above and beyond to make them happy, but that’s not necessarily difficult.  Above and beyond is simply remembering a guest likes two olives in their drink or that they prefer a specific game.  Go ahead, make your guests happy.

Welcome.  This is another simple but important aspect of good service.  Every guest is welcome.  They’re welcome to play, eat, stay in the hotel and swing their clubs on the golf course.  They should feel welcome, not out of place or uncomfortable.  Your job is to monitor your attitude and actions so you don’t give the impression that guests are a bother.  Make them feel as welcome as an old friend.

No Exceptions.  You cannot get away with failing to provide great service to everyone.  No exceptions!  Players who park themselves in front of nickel slots for an entire evening are not an exception to the rule of offering good guest service.  They deserve a great experience as much as the whale that plays tens of thousands of dollars per hand.  Every guest deserves a great gaming experience each time they visit your casino.

Knowledge.  Being knowledgeable about your job responsibilities and how you can better serve guests is critical.  You also want to be knowledgeable about what’s happening around your property so you can help guests when they have questions.  Knowledge gives you the power to make things better for your property, your guests and yourself.  The more you know, the better.

Gratification.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get something out of all this for yourself, as long as the good vibes go both ways.  When you provide good service, it can give you – and your guests – a feeling of gratification.  For example, you help someone with physical needs carry a tray or find a restroom.  A guest is a little down in the dumps and you find a way to make their day a bit brighter.  That’s great service that can create warm feelings inside for you and your guests.  There’s nothing wrong with gratification.

Only a few years ago, who would have dreamed that gas would cost $4 or more and that service station pumps would become competitors for the gaming industry? Sadly, that day is here.  But there is something you can do to compete.  Give your guests stellar service.  Give them a reason to burn a little gas to come visit you.

This article originally appeared in Casino Connection.

Martin R. Baird
Robinson & Associates, Inc.