Better Ways for Hosts to Build their Book of Business


By Janet Hawk, Raving Partner, Player Development and Marketing

So many times, I see management hand their hosts a list and tell them, “This is your book of business. GO!” No guidance, no goal, no methodology, no rhyme or reason.  This is a quick road to frustration for not only your PD team but for management. Frustration leads to failure quickly. To avoid this, here are a few guidelines and suggestions that will help not only give your team a more defined path to follow but will increase revenue if done correctly!

First, you need to determine WHAT:

  1. Define what is most important and focus on it!

You can’t do everything all the time. An analysis will help you see where the opportunities lie. There is likely some low hanging fruit that has been overlooked and will yield quick results. This is something that should be done often. Quarterly, determine what you want the hosts to focus on. Is it growing theoretical? Actual? Number of trips? Acquisition? Continue to use analysis to track progress and adjust accordingly.

  1. Put a plan into action!

What tactics will you use based on the information you gleaned from analysis? Develop a specific sales campaign for each customer based on the goals and strategies you are focused on. For instance, if your hosts are focusing on the “meaty middle” segment (low value = 150 to 300 ADT; low trips), a little extra attention can go a long way in achieving increased growth. These players are normally flying in under the radar and are quite often ignored.

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How Do You Tap Into Your Players’ Passions?


By Nicole Barker, Senior Raving Partner, Database & Loyalty Marketing 


When you tap into passion, technology becomes a vehicle, not an impediment. People of all ages, demographics, and socio-economic backgrounds will find a way to connect, to engage, and to further their exploration if passion is at play. Before you think your patrons aren’t ready to jump online or go mobile, get your knitting cap on.
Let me introduce you to Karen Cross. She’s a knitter and a friend in both quilt guilds that I belong to. She’s in trouble with me. Big trouble. She introduced me to something. It’s all her fault. She was trying to help, but instead, she was my enabler.
Here’s the situation:
I have three tubs of yarn…and I don’t know how to knit. This is a common problem for knitters and quilters. We are like squirrels with nuts – we live to create a stash of materials. We live in a world of abundance of creative intent, but not necessarily the follow-through to gain credibility as artists within our own families.
Karen introduced me to Ravelry. It’s a website. I signed up for an account, built a personal profile, and now spend hours immersed in searching, finding, and chatting with people of like minds. It’s a community of hobbyists with common interests. My personal dilemma: I have yarn that I love, but lack the skills to complete a project. Within this site, I can search for patterns that feature the yarn in my stash. Then, I can narrow the search by style. Behind each post is a person who has completed a project with a link to the pattern she used. I have created a folder of patterns using my yarn. Oddly enough, I narrowed my search by featuring patterns of scarves that have been worn in the Starz drama series Outlander.

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How to Effectively Engage in a Crowded Digital Landscape


By Jerry Epstein, Raving Partner and CEO, Engaged Nation
In 2004, the Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) conducted a breakthrough study which showed that 65% of respondents felt that they were being “…bombarded with too much marketing and advertising.” The report went on to state that the average consumer was inundated with between 5,000 and 10,000 marketing messages daily, but could only effectively process 10 to 12.

Thirteen years later, the digital communications landscape has become supersaturated. As consumers tweet, chat, blog, pin, post, snap, tumbl and flick about every imaginable topic, casinos aren’t just competing against other casinos for people’s minds, hearts, and wallets – they’re competing with other forms of digital entertainment.

So, how do modern-day marketers effectively engage and motivate their audience in a crowded digital landscape? It turns out the answer might be a powerful, simple communication strategy that’s been around for centuries. This communication method may have changed names over the years, but “gamification” (the application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity) has proven itself to be a highly adaptable and effective motivational tool.

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Raving Flash! Take This Ten Question Quiz About Your PD Department

To evaluate your property's current player development efforts

By Steve Browne, President, Raving Service


  1. Do you have a PD function in your casino designed to not only love your best players one-on-one (instead of through the mail), but also to find and create more new best players for your organization? YES or NO?
  2. Does your PD function offer a bonus and/or incentive program for your hosts (salespeople) that allows them to earn a significant part of their pay through the meeting and exceeding of specific sales targets and goals? YES or NO?
  3. Does your PD function have a support staff of VIP Reps, Ambassadors, Call-Center hosts, PD coordinators, or what-have-you to ensure your top tier players are properly spoiled while your sales hosts are freed up to go after new sales leads? YES or NO?
  4. Does your PD function have a career path component that at the very least identifies likely hosts from among your workforce, sets them on a training path towards an executive host, sales or business development position, and includes training and achievement benchmarks to keep them firmly going down the path? YES or NO?
  5. Does your PD function have a math-based methodology for finding sales leads from among the thousands upon thousands of players in your database and does this methodology end in the depositing of these sales leads into your hosts’ list of daily tasks? YES or NO?
  6. Does your PD function measure every important metric involved in the development and retention of the best players in your organization, including everything a host does to drive that business and the results achieved by their doing it? YES or NO?

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Raving Flash! How to Get Higher Response Rates from Your Non-Hosted Players


By Daniel Wood, Raving Partner, Phone Based Marketing Solutions and VP of Business Development at Engagex 
Do your hosts have quotas for the number of players they must engage with each month? Do they make reservations for their players? Do they follow-up on VIP special event invites? Should they be doing all of these things?

It isn’t quite that simple, but for now, the answer is yes … and no.

Let’s assume that 5-10% of your players are hosted players. I think we can all agree that these hosted players are well engaged with your property. They receive weekly/monthly promotions and direct mail pieces, along with personalized phone calls from their host. Rightfully so, the hosts are doing their job by keeping these VIP players top of mind for every promotion or offer available. But what about the non-hosted players who make up the other 90 - 95%? How engaged is your property with these players? The non-hosted players receive weekly/monthly promotions and direct mail pieces as well, but what about those personalized phone calls? It works for the host team, so why isn’t it being used for everyone else?

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How to Achieve Higher Response and Profit from your Food and Beverage Offers

 By Sarah Procopio, Raving Partner, Database Analytics

There is a trend right now to offer casino players a general property credit as part of their player offer package. Three words—DON’T DO IT! Here’s why: decreased outlet control for food and beverage offer redemptions equates to:

1.    Lower perceived player value

When you understand the food cost for each outlet, you can use it to advocate on the player’s behalf to provide them with the highest value offer possible. This equates to high perceived player value, which translates to a lift in response. For illustrative purposes, here is some simple math:

If the profit margin at your steakhouse is 2%, and the profit margin at your Italian restaurant is 20%, that means a $100 steakhouse offer costs the property $98, while a $100 offer for the Italian restaurant costs the property $80. The lower cost at the Italian restaurant can be leveraged when putting together player offers. Here’s how: For a $300 player, the $100 steakhouse offer puts you at a 33% player-reinvestment percentage ($98 cost / $300 Theo), while the $100 Italian restaurant offer puts you at roughly a 26% reinvestment rate ($80 cost / $300 Theo). You can either pocket that 7% difference for your casino or use it to boost the player offer to a higher amount. 7% may not sound like a lot, but in volume, it adds up and your players will notice. You know as well as I do, players always want more, and you just found a way to give it to them. Boom! Player response rate boosted! Why would you ever cheat yourself out of this opportunity with a blanket property credit offer? Continue reading

Raving News – New Webinar on Host Compensation Strategies


Host Compensation Strategies in a Sales-Focused Player Development Function

Presented by Steve Browne, President, Raving Service
Friday, May 19, 2017
1 p.m. Eastern Time (10 a.m. Pacific Time)
Register By May 17


Webinar Information:

Our webinar series, in partnership with CDC Gaming Seminars, continues with how to develop host incentive programs that will drive your host’s behavior and productivity.

Does Your Host Compensation Plan Incent and Reward the Right Things?

One of the most critical components of your player development function is your host compensation program – how you compensate AND reward your hosts for achieving results and driving revenue for your company.

WHY? Because your compensation and incentive programs will drive your host’s behavior and productivity more than any thing else you do. More than your segmentation strategies, sales tactics, VIP event programs, yes, even more than your direct supervision of them. As a matter of fact, your compensation program will help to define every one of these other critical areas of player development function.

Not happy with your current system? This webinar, presented by Steve Browne, President, Raving Service, will help you evaluate and fine-tune your current host compensation program.

Don’t offer an incentive program or even have a PD function? If you don’t currently have one, it will help you structure a new one or build a reward component to your PD design efforts.

Happy with the system you have? Then this seminar will provide a comparative benchmark to your own, giving you insight into how others approach PD incentive programs and how they compare to yours. After all, your competition is using PD to try and steal your best customers.

About Steve Browne, President, Raving Service:

From advanced host development sales skills training and building compensation programs for player development programs to designing full blown guest service programs, Steve has been a senior resource in Raving’s Leadership and Player Development Teams since 1999.

His knowledge and enthusiasm come from nearly four decades in the gaming industry, starting as a craps dealing “lumpy” in Northern Nevada, a player-engaging pit boss, and a casino owner with an unheard-of formula of “customer worship,” and lead to an international marketing consultancy selling the notion of gaming as an “entertainment experience that enriches people’s lives.”

Webinar Details:

So, here’s the deal. The cost is only $179 per computer … meaning, you can set up a computer in a conference room and have multiple people participate in the webinar for one low price. Sounds like an excellent topic for your next marketing meeting, what do you think? Shoot, that’s less than a comped meal in your steakhouse; a minimal investment for the value you’ll receive. Just make sure you register no later than May 17.

Questions? Just give us a holler at 775-329-7864 or email me at [email protected] . If you have any issues registering or for other technical issues, please contact our moderator, Dave Newton of CDC Gaming Seminars, at [email protected] or call him at 702-255-9891.



Common Mistakes by New PD Managers and How to Avoid Them

Five ways to save yourself when you’re thrown in the middle of the lake and told to swim …
Common mistakes by new PD managers and how to avoid them.

Janet Hawk, Raving Partner, Player Development and Marketing

I’ve seen it talked and written about SO many times: people promoted to a new role and then left to their own devices without much guidance or resources to actually succeed. No training, just given a new role and new responsibilities.

To do this to someone who has no experience in management is setting them up for failure and will cause major problems with your team and, ultimately, your guests. The stress of the new role and not knowing what to do can be disastrous to the success of your organization. Not to mention, making the work environment absolutely miserable! If these issues aren’t addressed, the department will become a pressure cooker waiting to explode. This not only applies to the PD department, but to all departments.

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal on leadership adapted from “The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management” by Alan Murray. He talked about how different the roles of management and leadership are and that they should go hand-in-hand. Managers are required to plan, coordinate and help organize. A leader inspires and motivates. Uniting these two roles is the secret to success for the entire department. So, how do you do that? Below are a few helpful hints:

1. Get to know your team

Ironically, the role of overseeing a PD team is a lot like a host relating to a guest. Each member of the team is different, with different motivations and different needs. Not only as a group, but also, individually. Just like a host does with a guest, you need to take the time to develop the relationship with your team. LISTEN! Continue reading

Your PD Checklist for the New Year

November 21, 2016

Your five-point PD checklist …
for driving more revenue in 2017


A new year is coming. I know, I know, we haven’t even gotten to Thanksgiving yet, much less Christmas. But make no mistake; the New Year is so close that it just might smack you in the face if you don’t pay some attention to it.

How’s your PD plan for the New Year? You know, the plans for making your Player Development more targeted towards driving incremental revenue from qualified sales leads, instead of just glad-handing and keeping your already existing revenues happy?

The following is a checklist of FIVE things that you need to look at when making your player development plans for the New Year:

1.    Database Analysis and Sales Lead Generation

Have you done the math? Performed a “sales potential” analysis of the medium and higher level player segments in your database? More importantly, have you drilled down and identified the qualified sales leads within your database that need to be segmented off into a strategic sales group that you can target with powerful, revenue-driving sales strategies in the new year?

2.    Administration and Organization

Based on the numbers, take a look at your organizational structure and administration. Do you have enough hosts to handle the sales potential? Are they properly supported with PD Coordinators, Ambassadors, and other support positions (they can’t do it all, you know)? Is your leadership (sales management) in place, well-trained, consistent, clear and precise about your vision, financial goals and strategies for the New Year? Managing a sales force is often referred to as “herding cats,” like the popular TV commercial describes. Do you have a strong management force in place that is able to effectively herd your cats?

3.    Reporting and Measurement

Are the right measurements in place? Are you tracking the right things? Your PD staff needs to have accurate and regular reports that detail how they are doing in every aspect of achieving their sales goals, from revenue increase/decrease and player trip statistics, to growth and decliner trends and productivity indicators. Are you happy with your current measurement, or does it need some work?

4.    Training and Host Skills

Have you performed a review of what the training needs of your PD function are? Do hosts need more education in product knowledge, casino processes, etc.? Do they need more skills training in negotiation techniques, sales fulfillment, and organizational and time management skills? What are the training requirements of your PD department function in the near future?

5.    Money, Money, Money

Okay, when was the last time you performed a compensation review of your host department? How are they paid? Are there effective incentives (bonuses, etc.) in place that are tied specifically to the achievements of their sales goals and targets? Is it effective? Does it need an overhaul? Incentive and bonus programs rarely come out of the gate in perfect form, and they often need annual tweaking over several years to “get it right” and make sure that your compensation is driving the behavior and revenue you need from your salespeople.

There you have it, a five-step checklist to go over for the New Year. Better hurry, the days are racing by so fast that I am already trying to figure out what to get my daughter for Christmas.

Oh, and by the way, if you need help with any of the items on this checklist, then give us a call, because Raving will help. We offer tune-up checklists and reviews that are cost-effective, bring us right to your property, and give you not just Strategic Recommendations, but tangible Action Items that you can perform immediately in-house, to start achieving your PD goals. Email [email protected] for more information, or give her a holler at 775-329-7864.

View this article as a pdf: YourPDChecklistForTheNewYear – Browne.pdf

No Amenities … No Problem!

No amenities … no problem!
Five surefire ways to win over your guests with unconventional perks

janetBy Janet Hawk, Raving Partner, Player Development and Marketing Listen to Janet Live

“Our property is too small. We don’t have a showroom, hotel, fine dining, spa, pool…”

The list could go on and on. Trust me; you don’t have to be a mega destination casino resort (or even a mid-sized one!) to offer your guests a memorable experience.  All those bells and whistles are great, but often, those types of amenities aren’t even what your guests are looking for!

There are many people who prefer frequenting smaller casinos.  Why? The big boys are fine every now and then, but they like the homey feeling of their local place.  It’s the “Cheers” effect … they wanna’ go where everyone knows their name (and the names of their pets, family members, how they like their coffee, etc.)!

So, what kind of things can you do for your guests to maintain loyalty when your property doesn’t have the amenities of the “other guys?” Let me share some successful ideas I have seen throughout the years:

8-15-16Janet-Flash-Photo---presents1.         Create a memory

I know an Executive Host who created a wonderful memory for a guest.  It was the guest’s 40th birthday, and weeks ahead, the husband reached out to the host asking for ideas. Together, they were able to orchestrate a fun “treasure hunt” that began at their home.  A car was sent to pick them up, with the first letter sitting on the back seat, explaining that she was now going on an adventure.

Each letter came with a present, as well as instructions for the next adventure, including a timeline/ itinerary for the weekend. The weekend was coordinated with all of the promos going on at the casino (reminding her to swipe at the kiosk, detailing when the drawings were, etc). When she got to her room, there were little presents hidden throughout the room (logo items that were on hand, nothing big – a key chain, pen, koozie and the like – but she had to find all 15 to go to the next step).  Another letter had coupons for ice cream because her kids were with her (how much fun did they have?!).  The host also involved other employees (people she always dealt with) … and they all loved it! The host asked the guest to take selfies along the way so that she would have the memories.  They are still talking about it to this day!

2.         Special souvenirs

Does your guest have a favorite slot machine?  What about getting the belly glass and having it framed?  We surprised a guest with this and she loved it.  We even had some of her favorite employees sign the frame. Continue reading