Casino optimization

The Mystery Behind Casino Mystery Shopping

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. […]

By |October 20th, 2013|Casino Budgets, Casino Consulting, Casino Formula for Success, Casino Management, Casino Mystery Shopping, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Miscellaneous|Comments Off on The Mystery Behind Casino Mystery Shopping

The Casino Secret Formula for Success

I know that many of you have followed my ongoing series of articles about how to make money in the casino business today.  I keep repeating one of my friend’s favorite sayings that being successful in the casino business today is not about making money but rather it is about creating value.  And as always, many of you keep challenging me for more detail and more in depth information.  Therefore, since I was employed previously by Foxwoods Resort Casino, it makes sense for me to use Foxwoods as an example for this article.  Foxwoods is the largest casino in North America today.  Foxwoods, at the time,  had over 380 Table Games, 7,400 Slot Machines, 1,500 Hotel Rooms and approximately 12,000 employees plus a wide variety or restaurants, salon, spa, showroom and two Rees Jones designed golf courses.  Foxwoods is located in the middle of 2,500 acres of pristine virgin forest half way between New York City and Boston.  Therefore, due to Foxwoods remote location, Foxwoods aggressively marketed to every single segment of its different gaming markets ranging from Bingo, Poker, Slots and Table Games.  We also focused a great deal of attention and marketing on our non-gaming revenue producing areas such as salon, spa, entertainment and retail to help support the overall marketing efforts of the property.

In addition to all of this, many people still believe that there must be a secret formula for success in the casino industry.  This made me reflect for a moment to try to think about exactly what are the critical elements that would make up some magical formula for Foxwoods phenomenal success at that time that could be replicated by other casinos around the world.  In retrospect, I did come up with my own interpretation of that secret success formula:

The Casino Secret Formula for Success = 

The 3 P’s (People, Product & Profit) X Marketing / Financial Analysis, Training, Motivation & Fear […]

By |October 13th, 2013|Casino Formula for Success, Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability|Comments Off on The Casino Secret Formula for Success

Great Casino Websites are just like Sexy Blue Eyes – They Get Noticed

Most casino websites today are really not effective at all. They lack the blue eyes per se and therefore they just don’t get noticed. In addition, they are oftentimes confusing and complicated.  Casinos just like most other businesses today spend a lot of money on their websites as well as search engine optimization and social media.  However, the big questions are:  1) are they effective and 2) are they cost effective?  Research shows that most businesses have a fraction of a second to a few brief seconds to visually make a good first impression.  That first impression will make all the difference in the world as to whether the consumer will actually take additional time to explore your website.  That is the reason why I ask if your website is cost effective or not.  Is it doing the job that you intended it to?  From what I have seen, most casino websites are neither effective nor cost effective.  What does that mean?  Simply stated, it means that it is time for a change or time for a fresh image on the Internet.  Every Tom, Dick and Harry today claims to be an experienced website developer.  The same goes for most advertising agencies.  They all claim to be great website developers. That may well be but how many of them really understand casinos? […]

By |July 20th, 2013|Casino optimization, Casino SEO, Casino Social Media, Casino Social Media Marketing, Casino Web Marketing, Casino Web Stie Development, Online Casino Marketing|Comments Off on Great Casino Websites are just like Sexy Blue Eyes – They Get Noticed

Leprosy, Ebola Virus, Bubonic Plague and Problem Gaming

 

What do they all have in common?  Probably not too much but how else do you focus ones attention on such horrible diseases.  One could possibly argue that Leprosy, Ebola Virus and Bubonic Plague are not common illnesses but never-the-less their effects can be both devastating and catastrophic.  Problem gaming is also an illness that can also have catastrophic consequences not only for the victim but also for the innocent families of the victims.  Nobody likes to talk about negative topics and therefore it is often easier to avoid talking about them or even worse, pretending that they do not exist.So, who really cares about problem gaming?  I do for one and fortunately most responsible casino executives and managers also care about it.  In recent years the casino industry overall has begun to take a much more proactive rather than reactive approach to the way they handle problem gaming.  Senior management does seem to understand all of the various issues.  However, as an industry we still have a way to go to properly educate as many employees as possible in the gaming industry.   

I used the term educate rather than train for how we deal with our employees.  We train horses and we train dogs but we educate people.  Therefore, an on-going progressive educational program about problem gaming is one of the keys to success.  The gaming industry in general needs to be commended on their efforts in recent years to properly train their staff to recognize the early signs of problem gaming to allow management an opportunity for intervention before it is too late.  […]

By |February 24th, 2013|Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Casino Psychology, Marketing, Miscellaneous, Problem Gaming|Comments Off on Leprosy, Ebola Virus, Bubonic Plague and Problem Gaming

Physics, Psychology and the Casino Industry

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? […]

By |February 20th, 2013|Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Casino Psychology, Marketing, Miscellaneous|Comments Off on Physics, Psychology and the Casino Industry

Optimize Room Occupancy to Maximize Casino Revenues

Managing a casino resort today is much more complicated than in the past.  Before, the primary emphasis was always on game security and preventing internal theft. Today, the emphasis is more on maximizing bottom line profitability.  Many casino operators have had to review their operating philosophies in many different areas in order to achieve this new objective.  With the help of various technological improvements in surveillance equipment, casinos have been able to reduce man power and payroll for the area of game security.  This reduction in payroll has obviously helped improve bottom line profits.

Along these same lines, an often overlooked area for helping to tweak bottom line profitability is an area that I refer to as optimization of room occupancy levels as well as the occupants themselves.  Here at xxxxxx Casino we find that it is important for us to balance the ratio of comp to cash room revenue.  Many people will argue that is better to fill the hotel with all casino customers and comp all of their room nights.  However, the problem is that many of these customers play in the casino using casino credit.  That means that their markers may not come due for 45 to 90 days or longer depending upon the gaming jurisdiction and regulations.  In the meantime, the casino still has to pay out huge cash disbursements each week to cover payroll, taxes, utilities, vendors, etc.  I don’t think your employees or your vendors would want to accept a partial cash payment and a partial comp dollar certificate or I.O.U. note if the casino did not have sufficient cash flow that week to cover all obligations.  Therefore, managing cash to comp ratios is an important function today in any large casino hotel operation. […]

By |February 20th, 2013|Casino Marketing, Casino optimization, Casino Profitability, Marketing|Comments Off on Optimize Room Occupancy to Maximize Casino Revenues