My favourite casino moment happened at a small casino in the Kootenay Rockies. I was playing my usual $5 to $10 wager at the blackjack table and, after receiving my payout for the coveted Ace/10 combo, I threw the dealer a meagre tip. The dealer then did something I wasn’t expecting. She tapped the tip on the table and yelled at the top of her lungs, “Tip for the crew!”
The rest of the employees on the gaming floor responded with an exuberant, “Wooo-hooooooo!”
Every player in the place perked up. Then, I noticed the guests around me started to tip the dealers just to get the same reaction. Talk about a win-win situation. Not only did the dealers increase their tips, but the whole action served as an icebreaker between the dealers and the players at all of the tables. It was such a small thing but it made such a big difference.
The reality is that most of your guests will leave with less money than they walked in with, but we are all in the business of selling entertainment. “Yeah, yeah,” you say, “We all know this already.” But remember, the people we're catering to are still catching on. This is still new to them. A night at the casino doesn’t yet rank very high on their list of entertainment options. So, when they do walk through your doors, make sure you deliver your end of the bargain with outstanding customer service, from the burly security guard at the entrance, to the cashier in the cage. Losing is one thing. Losing and not even getting a greeting, a chuckle, or a smile is enough to turn anyone off.
No matter what the mega-casinos come up with, there will always be a market for intimate casinos that treat their guests like VIPs on a consistent basis. Roller coasters, bright lights and day spas may create enough of a buzz to get people in the door once, but a friendly dealer with a smile and a story brings ’em back time and time again. Ad campaigns are a much easier sell if the level of service portrayed in the ads accurately reflects what guests can actually expect when they sit down at the tables.
By Lee Veitch Jones, associate creative director of the Phoenix Group