|Is the Gaming Product and Value becoming diluted? How to Keep Ahead of the Curve. |
By John Hendrie
Sunday, 17th June 2012
As an uncertified economist, even I can appreciate when the marketplace gets saturated, but what does that mean for the business and their customer? We certainly are watching this play out on the Gaming landscape.
Massachusetts, which has several casinos legislatively approved, is looking afresh at the competitive market – not just in the State, but in the entire Northeast. Potential casino operational dreams may be pared back as that selection process moves along.
Operators are becoming more circumspect. When a casino opens, you want to start to recover your investment. Then, we have a stretch, hopefully as a money maker. Then, realistically, the operators just want to pay down debt and try to keep in play, particularly after the recession. Most planned maintenance and renovation has been on hold. No one will notice the wear and tear with those flashy lights and glitter.
The State Gaming Commissions, protecting the integrity of the gaming product, certainly want to ensure compliance with all the pacts and agreements they have in place, heavily oriented to the financials, as the Casinos are a significant money machine for the State coffers. Throw in some lotteries, Horse Racing, even Bingo, and they have their hands full. Is there a relationship between Customer Satisfaction and that revenue stream to the State coffers? You bet! Maybe those Commissions should be monitoring that Player Experience as part of the usual compliance audits.
And, then, our poor customer, our patron, our Guest. Where does s/he stand? If you are the only game in town, as you may find in some Southwestern States, your casino business is probably just fine. However, when you look at the gaming situation in the Northeast or California, you have a cascade of choices, and that Consumer has many options for her/his entertainment dollar. Two good examples (retrospective) are Atlantic City and Foxwoods. Once upon a time the main attraction, they both are struggling to reinvent their destinations, due to competition from neighboring States.
So, we have more casinos, more competition, more choices. I, the Consumer, want some return on my gaming action, but also some fun and diversity. I want a casino destination attentive to my needs, one that is clean and safe, and one which is appreciative of my patronage, making me feel special. This does not mean that I want something bigger or “badder”. I want something better! The operative word is entertainment, my entertainment dollar. I may want to take a chance at the card tables and slots, but I also want to dine, recreate, shop, luxuriate and sleep, too.
Just ask me and I will tell you what I want and how well you delivered upon that wish. This is where it all starts – my Feedback and the insight you gain from that, providing you, the operator, the opportunity to meet and perhaps exceed my expectations. The effort is not intrusive, if I see the results and am brought into the participative equation. We want you to succeed, and you have so many paths to garner and gain my feedback and loyalty. First, you need to communicate with me.
Secondly, I do not like surprises or disappointment. If your message says one thing and I feel something else, the relationship is strained and bad news travels very quickly nowadays. You, the operator, must establish some protocols/standards and validation process to maintain my expectation of service, cleanliness, facility condition, amenities and the like. Lack of standards is like the roll of the dice.
Lastly, I do not deal with the casino executives –relationships are created with your dealers, cocktail servers, front desk, waitresses, spa attendants, and parking valets. They are your Ambassadors to my Experience and sense of value. They need the technical skills and the service orientation to make my visit flawless and memorable. Training and development is ongoing.
So, as we watch the Gaming world shake out, Gaming company laggards will be easy to see. Your Players will stop patronizing, your numbers will go down, the State will cashier less from your operation. This is a loss-loss situation. Gaming companies have made a significant investment, and the emphasis is mostly on the financials.
However, there are other aspects to the ledger. You lose Customer confidence, as measured by the Experience, and you lose the business. That is the value proposition. Got some work to do in this crowded market.
The author believes that Remarkable Service is the portal to the Player Experience.
Seek solutions at: www.hospitalityperformance.com