Casino Budgets

The Mystery Behind Casino Mystery Shopping

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Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with 35 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also an authority on all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world.   He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone +(1-860) 536-1828 or [email protected] or see www.euroasiacasino.com

Mystery Shopping has been around for many years.  It is not a new concept. It is particularly prevalent in the retail and hospitality industries.  However, it is a relatively new concept for the casino industry.  I am now involved with a fair amount of casino consulting as well as lectures at various casino conferences.  I often stress to casino executives and casino managers that there are three important factors involved with success in the modern casino industry.  Years ago, I used to always use Conrad Hilton’s often coined expression that there were three key factors involved with success in the hotel industry and those three factors were #1) location, #2) location and #3) location.

Location is obviously a very important factor but in today’s dynamic casino industry I believe that three of the more important factors today are #1) communicate, #2) celebrate and #3) validate.  You can never over communicate in the casino industry especially with your staff.  Most staff are hard working, loyal and dedicated.  They want to be involved so I always recommend that casino operators communicate to the legal maximum allowed by law.  Casino operators that communicate well with their staff will reap the benefits and the rewards. Involvement from happy motivated staff is a critical success factor that will payoff handsomely for both large and small casino operators around the world. Neither location nor size matters when it comes to communicating well with your staff.  Improving upon this one factor alone can make a huge difference in your operation.

The second success factor that I mentioned is celebrate.  Celebrate both with your customers and with your employees.  Look for reasons to celebrate.  People want to have fun.  People come to casinos to have fun.  Celebration is a critical element of having fun.  Unfortunately it is an area that often gets overlooked or the almighty budget over-rules and the celebrations never take place with the casino staff.  What a missed opportunity.  I often advise casino operators to develop a new line item in their budgets called “Celebrations” and to budget an amount of money each year that you can keep in reserve to use for those “unexpected” opportunities that will always arise when you least expect them so that you can celebrate both with your customers and with your staff.  They will appreciate it. Read More…

The Old Annual Casino Budget Dilemma

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Steve Karoul is a recognized casino consultant with 35 years of hands-on experience with the best casinos both within the United States and internationally. He is also an authority on all aspects of casino marketing. Steve has lived in numerous countries and has conducted casino marketing activities in well over 100 countries around the world.   He is an author, a lecturer and an educator who often injects his own hands on experiences and openly shares his ideas and thoughts with fellow industry executives. Telephone +(1-860) 536-1828 or [email protected] or see www.euroasiacasino.com

Casino budgets are an annual process that seems to come and go without too much ceremony or celebration. Depending upon your casino’s budget process, it can be a productive activity or an activity of futile frustration. I have researched the budget process in many different casinos looking for common denominators as well as common helpful hints to ease the pain. However, one common denominator that was heard was “I wish we could change all of the B.S. that goes along with the budget process”. So, you are not alone out there in casino land. It was the same comments from many different locations and many different kinds of casinos. Financial people view things one way, operations people view things another way and marketing people view things in an even different way. Further investigation did however divulge some common denominators as well as common complaints.

Everyone agreed that the budget process was in fact necessary and everyone agreed that some form of financial planning and record keeping is also necessary for every casino. Most individuals surveyed also felt that the casino business is different from the hotel industry, restaurant industry, manufacturing, etc. but do share certain commonalities. They also recognized that the accounting process must basically conform to certain pre-established standard accounting practices for record keeping and budgeting. Never-the-less, many casino executives felt that the overall process was in some ways counterproductive and could be improved upon. This common denominator or comment was intriguing.

Further investigation revealed that many casino executives felt that the budgeting process found in many casinos today is not always helpful since it sometimes may actually hide or hinder growth opportunities. It may mask the truth when market conditions change unexpectedly such as what we are experiencing today with gasoline prices in the $3.00+ per gallon range or higher in some States. Budgets force people to still try to “make the number” no matter what. This can cause undue stress throughout the casino organization and create a very serious and stressful atmosphere that oftentimes is conveyed to the customer in the form of poor customer service or an “un-fun” atmosphere. Remember, customers come to casinos to have FUN whether it is from gaming, entertainment, dining, etc. Read More…

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