Strengthening the Relationship Between Casino Hosts and Table Games
by Eric Booker
t is a common challenge within any organization to foster positive relationships between various departments. Casinos are certainly not exempt from this struggle and while all departments ultimately exist to improve revenues through creating a positive guest experience, one of the inter-departmental relationships that deserves particular attention is that between the player development and table games departments. There are several reasons why this relationship is so critical. The most important, of course, is to positively improve the guest experience since this directly impacts casino revenue. Perhaps the most important way to accomplish this objective is through the mutual exchange of VIP and high-limit player introductions. Pit bosses and table games shift supervisors should always make a point to notify the on-duty casino host when high-limit play is taking place without a player’s card. In fact, the best practice would be to not even ask the guest if they would like to meet a host, or if they would like a card, but to just call the host over to meet the guest. This is one of the host’s primary functions and a well-trained host staff will be better at communicating with this level of guest in a way that will be mutually beneﬁcial. This is also beneﬁcial to the pit bosses and shift manager who have other responsibilities that may not allow them to take the time to communicate with the guest in a way that ensures the guest’s complete satisfaction. Allowing the casino host to manage the process will free up the table games staff to focus on their primary functions, rating players and watching their section of the pit. The inverse of this communication is equally important. Casino hosts should also communicate with both the pit boss and the shift manager when they have a high-limit player on the tables. The primary purpose is to ask that they keep a special eye on the amount of play and make sure that the player is rated appropriately in the player tracking system. This is important because the very nature of table games is so dynamic and ﬂuctuating, it is very easy to mis-rate play, especially during peak periods. This will also preemptively minimize the number of points disputes the two departments will receive and ultimately improve the player’s satisfaction with the casino overall. Of course, disputes will still happen and while the shift manager may be able to handle some of the disputes themselves, there may be times when it is more beneﬁcial to involve the casino host. When this happens, the casino host must be able to ask questions of the pit boss regarding what they observed during the guest’s play (time played, average bet, etc.). In a situation like this, it is very important that the table games 44 Indian Gaming
staff understands that the casino host isn’t questioning their previous actions or decisions, rather getting a complete picture of the situation in order to better communicate with the guest. Likewise, it is important that the casino host is using language that will promote an exchange of information. Together they should be able to come to an amicable conclusion regarding the validity of the current rating, or the appropriate steps to correct the rating. There are other reasons why it may become desirable to “transfer” the guest from table games to a casino host, and these reasons will vary by each individual situation and casinos, but when this is desired, it is imperative that the staff is able to do so in a professional and courteous manner. Consider, this is one of the few times when guests may observe members of different departments interacting with each other. For example, a guest attending a concert experiences the entertainment staff in action. While dining, they are viewing the F&B department working as a group. But guests playing at the tables may have multiple opportunities to view how the table games staff and casino hosts interact with each other and this interaction will speak volumes about the professionalism of the casino. This is especially important since table games can tend to be the preference of VIP players, so courteous professionalism between team members is an absolute requirement. Of course the theory of why the two departments should maintain a cohesive and collaborative relationship is simple. What’s more important is the practicality of establishing, or improving, the business relationship. And, like all relationships, the answer to how this can be obtained is, very simply, communication. The player development and table games directors should make a point to establish a good, professional relationship with each other. Meet monthly for lunch if need be, but make sure that the lines of communication are open. Relationship building at the director level serves two purposes. First, it will allow the exchange of both positive and negative feedback that will ultimately improve the quality of the guest experience. Second, although it may sound remedial to even mention, it will provide a good example for the various teams to emulate. If these teams do not have a good working history, brainstorm creative ideas for bringing them together. Make sure both groups innately understand that they are working towards a common goal: increasing casino revenues through improved guest management. With a common goal at the forefront, differences should begin to dissipate.
Relationship building doesn’t end at the director level, however. Casino hosts, pit bosses and table games shift managers should make it part of their job description to meet and maintain business relationships with each of the key personnel from the other team. The relationship at this level is as critical and strategic as it is at the director level and requires the same amount of intentionality, communication and creativity from both departments. For example, although casino hosts should introduce themselves to both the table games shift managers as well as the pit bosses, they have to take special initiative with pit bosses, since they’re unable to leave their station during their shift. Especially for this position, it may be beneﬁcial to meet up for a coffee break or lunch, to begin the relationship-building on an individual level. Since shift managers are more mobile during each shift, there are more opportunities for exchanges, which will lend nicely to casual, relationship building. Another action that will provide good rapport is for the hosts to walk around to the pit at the beginning of each shift and make a point to say hello to each of the pit bosses and the shift manager on
duty. This also serves as a reminder so they know who to call when the high-limit players arrive. While it is important to never underestimate the power of positive, collaborative relationships within the organization, the importance of the relationship between these two is especially critical because of their visibility to the casino’s guests and their ability to directly and positively inﬂuence guest complaints. The stronger this relationship is, the better your casino will be able to maintain their existing customer base, resolve conﬂicts and manage your high-end players. Fostering a positive communication environment is a simple, no-cost way to improve operations and should be emphasized and encouraged at every level. Remember, both departments have a common goal, to increase casino revenue through improved guest management. Keep this goal at the forefront at all times and watch both the internal and guest relationships blossom. p Eric Booker is Director of Player Development for Snoqualmie Casino. He can be reached by calling (425) 999-0903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you will join us for the 17th Annual Great Plains/ Rocky Mountain/ Midwest Indian Gaming Conference & Trade Show, May 17-20, 2009. e GPIGA/Rocky Mountain/Midwest Conference and Trade Show will provide a great place for networking opportunities, information gathering, and access to successful businesses, building partnerships and much more.
SUNDAY MAY 17TH Chairman’s Cup Golf Skills Challenge ( e Meadows at Mystic Lake)
MONDAY MAY 18TH – GPIGA/Midwest/Rocky Mountain Golf Tournament – Slot Tournament – Great Plains/Midwest/Rocky Mountain Social/Cash Bar e Wilds Lounge
TUESDAY MAY 19TH – Opening Ceremonies – Tradeshow Opening – Workshops – Slot Tournament – AGEM Reception
WEDNESDAY MAY 20TH – Workshops – Slot Tournament Championship – Taskforce on Gaming Meeting – Closing Ceremonies on Trade Show Floor – Tradeshow Grand Prize Drawing
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