casino consulting

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…

Physics, Psychology and the Casino Industry

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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

The other day my wife called me and asked me what I was doing.  I gave her the standard one word answer – “working”.  She then asked me what I was thinking.  I gave her the standard one word answer – “nothing”.  We often joke back and forth like this but basically she was curious as to what I was doing and what I was thinking that day.  I then told her that I had a meeting with one of our Table Game Shift Managers. She questioned me about what a Vice President of Casino Marketing and a Casino Shift Manager would talk about on a rainy day?  I told her that at xxxxx Casino we discuss normal casino business matters as well as some very unusual and different things such as physics and psychology.  She couldn’t tell if I was joking or serious.  We are very fortunate to have a lot of very bright and creative people on our team here at xxxxx.  Ken is one of them.  He always challenges me with unusual questions which I enjoy.  At our meeting, we had an interesting discussion about behavioral habits and the way certain players develop some very unusual gaming habits.  This caused us both to wonder why? Read More…

One Million Miles of Thanks to American Airlines

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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

As a frequent flier who has conducted business in well over 100 different countries around the world I have had the pleasure and sometimes displeasure to fly on so many different airlines that I cannot even remember them all.  I have flown the Concorde, First Class, Business Class, Economy, Helicopters and even in the cockpit with the crew in an extra jump seat.  (No it wasn’t an American carrier.)  I do want to take a moment to thank American Airlines and to also wish them good luck and much success with their new merger with US Airways which is another great airline.  American Airlines has always been there when I needed them.  They offer great service which is not easy today as well as some really great staff within so many different departments. Keep up the great job.  I am looking forward to the new merger as well as the availability now of 336 destinations in 56 different countries. Read More…

When, Why and How to “Fire” a Customer

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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

For those of you that continue to follow my series of articles on Casino Marketing, you have heard me over and over say that the casino business today is not about making money, it is about creating value.  I sincerely believe that because people are not stupid.  Human beings all are motivated by basically the same things.  Value is one of the top motivators when it comes to selection or shopping.  However, from the casino operator’s perspective, we do have to pay attention to bottom line profitability.  Creating “Value” will help to bring customers to your casino.  Managing that business properly to make a profit oftentimes involves a completely different set of criteria.

Nobody ever wants to lose business or lose customers.  However, not all business and not all customers are good for your casino’s overall well being.  For example, I don’t think anyone would ever dispute firing a customer or excluding a customer that is abusive to your staff.  We value our employees and want them to be treated fairly and appropriately by both fellow employees and by our customers.  We operate with a zero tolerance for any type of sexual, racial or physical abuse of our staff by customers as well as by fellow team members.  We also look very carefully at verbal abuse and warn customers that we do not appreciate nor tolerate inappropriate behavior directed at our staff.  We place customers on our exclusion list every week for such behavior.  They are given a formal warning that if they return to the property that we will consider it criminal trespass and that they will be arrested.  Once again, we view this seriously and we do arrest individuals who try to test our warnings and exclusion process.

There are also other times when a casino may want to end a relationship with a customer.  Ending a relationship sounds so much better than “firing” a customer but basically they are the same.  So, when does a casino want or need to fire a customer?  The answer is only after every method has been used to try to salvage the customer and the problem still exists.  Most of these problems are related to cheating or questionable behavior but some of them are also related to profitability.  Cheating is not always clear cut and conclusive.  Sometimes the player may make mistakes.  In those situations it is up to the Pit Boss to speak to the customer and explain what is considered to be appropriate and correct.  In other words, issue a warning.  We document all such warnings in our computer in the Comments Section of our Rating System.  This way we can track the patron to see if there is a pattern to their behavior. Read More…

Marci in Accounting is a Casino Marketing Machine

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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

Pew research recently released a substantial report related to the connected nature of our digital world. Its focus was the impact that social media and digital connections have on the relationships held with our friends and family.  Most telling in their report was how the average person has 634 connections.   This article is about the need casinos have to reach out to these 634 potential customers who are friends and families of those who work at the casino.

Thinking back 20 years ago, we substantially engaged our friends & families through the mailbox, over the fence, across the picnic table, and in our workplace.  Events brought us together to discuss relevant conversational topics within our lives.  We had back yard cookouts, reunions, holiday parties or the chance meeting of two friends walking their dogs.  Today however, we have new on-line options that both complement and supplant these events from 20 years ago.  Facebook is arguably the largest, email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogs, YouTube videos, etc.  Within each of these social platforms is a whole new ecosystem of communication that profoundly changes how we as a culture communicate and connect with our friends and families.  The question now surfaces, can casinos tap into these connections, and if they can, how best does a casino optimize their brand?

As we consider the advertising efforts of our casinos, we see much interest in getting our promotions and event notices into the eyes and ears of these potential customers, many of whom are online.  Banner Ad Campaigns, Social Presence, On-line Re-targeting, Facebook Fan Acquisition, Microsites, Rich Media Content, YouTube Channel, Blogger Advocates are but a few of the buzz words the Digital & Interactive marketing professionals use to get marketing dollars moved towards the digital genre.  Each of these digital channels are important in the larger, holistic advertising strategies necessary to get our communities to spend at our casinos instead of buying a new sofa, or the “two for one special at Red Lobster” prior to going to the movies. Read More…

Understanding Asian Casino Marketing

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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

Asian Casino Marketing is not as easy as it sounds.  In fact, it is a fairly complicated process and if not performed properly it can actually be perceived as offensive to the intended recipients. Steve Karoul explains some of the basic principles of Asian casino marketing. One form of casino marketing in Asia consists of Junkets and VIP Room operations while another form of Asian casino marketing is much more generic and more appropriate for casinos located around the world.

There is an old expression in Asia that when translated goes something like this, “Asia is not Asia”.  When you think about it you begin to better understand its subtle message; one size does not fit all and Asia is neither one country nor one culture.  Asia is a vast melting pot of numerous different countries, languages and cultures.  Some of them have marked differences based upon thousands of years of history and cultural evolution.  Asians are extremely nationalistic and proud of their own cultures and customs.  Therefore, it is extremely offensive to generalize all Asians as one in the same.  They are not.  Successful casino marketers around the world will need to understand this up front and then make every effort to research their target market segments before jumping into any new Asian marketing campaign.

Chinese is normally the largest Asian culture in the United States, Europe and elsewhere but this may vary when segmented by geographic locations as well as from city to city even with the same country.  In some instances, Vietnamese or another Asian culture may dominate on a local basis close to a particular casino.  Never-the-less, many uninformed casino marketing managers still insist upon copying and implementing marketing strategies specifically developed to target and to satisfy Chinese gamblers.  However, this approach may backfire on you and actually be offensive if your Asian players are not Chinese.  The cultural mix of Asian players residing near your casino may vary dramatically. Do your homework first to determine if you want to attract Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, Malaysian, Indonesian or other Asian players. Read More…

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