Don’t Gamble on Success!
In recent years one can see the massive efforts the gaming and hospitality industry are putting into developing, expanding and improving their facilities. From celebrity chef restaurants, outdoor plazas, award-winning spas, adult-only hotel towers and state-of-the-art event venues – the race is on to provide a more “wow” experience than the neighboring competition.
The Forgotten Truth
Innovation, expansion and differentiation are key to elevate the brand’s identity, heighten awareness, attract new markets and retain existing guests in the very competitive gaming and hospitality industry.
However, in the rush to be ahead of the “game”, many times a simple truth is forgotten – customers don’t “buy” new shiny buildings, 4-D video slot machines or exotic wellness packages. They buy into people they like and trust.
Yes, guests will certainly notice the new re-branded look and feel in the physical space and social media platforms. But is this revamped look and feel also displayed via the team members?
The Best Brand Advertisement
Each year, millions of dollars are spent on social media, billboards, TV and radio ads, offering a promise of a bigger and better casino resort experience. Yet a recent Nielsen survey showed that 83% of respondents said the most trusted advertising comes from word of mouth. These are the guests who have already had a WOW or OH NO experience with the team members.
It’s not to say traditional advertising has to be ignored. Rather the promise of the experience promoted through paid media needs to be supported to ensure success. How is this achieved? By putting the efforts into WHO is offering the experience… it’s the valet attendant, the cocktail server, the cage cashier. A billboard advertises the brand’s promise of an experience, the teams deliver it. In essence, the employees are “walking billboards” of the organization’s brand.
When team members are engaged and in alignment with the renovated brand look and message, they become the brand’s greatest ambassadors. If you are in an expansion phase – how are you setting up your teams for SUCCESS?
Elevate Brand Awareness
During the development phase, and upon completion, most establishments are put under the media “spotlight”. Thus, it’s critical to ensure the “human strategy” has as much impact as the marketing strategy. This means empowering team members to show up delivering exceptional brand experiences at every touchpoint.
Imagine a guest arrives on the new property for the first time and they love the new space, decor and high tech slots. Yet they felt that the human touch was lacking, or that the cocktail server couldn’t wait to get off her shift – there is a huge disconnect between the new brand and the “old” employees.
When aunt Louise gets back home after visiting the resort, do you think she’ll be telling her friends, “The hotel lobby chandelier was spectacular, but their people sucked, yet I’m going to make the trip back there again to see that great chandelier!”
Consistency Builds Trust
Empowering employees to be “on brand” is critical for success in business today.
A new expansion or development heightens a guest’s expectations. The future success of any expansion is determined by a few factors. One of the most important is: “Are the teams prepared to meet these high expectations and make that all-important first impression? Everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to representing the “renovated” brand. For customers to have brand trust there needs to be consistency.
If the total professional presence, look and attitude displayed by the employees are inconsistent with the new brand evolution there will be an immediate lack of trust. This often results in a loss of a valued existing or potential guest.
Change is Uncomfortable
Change is necessary for progress but it feels terribly uncomfortable for most. It causes not only the employees anxiety but also existing loyal guests. When consulting with teams undergoing expansion projects they share one of their biggest fears, “I don’t feel confident to interact with the new guest the expansion will attract – it’s not the same guest I’m used to.” The emphasis is on leadership to empower their teams with the skills to deal with new target markets and existing ones.
Whilst certain guests may be excited by the new development, some might feel apprehensive. This is where employees can help them feel they are part of the new exciting journey. Team members are brand ambassadors and the “glue” to bond the old with the new brand – they help to humanize the experience.
Many casinos and resorts move from a “Walmart” brand experience to a “Nordstrom” experience. Often, many teams are just taken through a customer service refresher. Instead, these teams should be equipped with brand ambassador skills that are in synergy with the brand new look and feel.
Another common mistake made is that online the frontline teams are upskilled to represent the new look and feel. In today’s fiercely competitive gaming market one needs an army of brand ambassadors – everyone who comes into contact with the guests needs to be on the same page.
Many times leadership forgets to communicate the what, how and why of the renovated brand resulting in disengaged and demotivated teams. If you want the expansion to be profitable and successful, team members need to feel passionate, connected and part of the brand journey long before the project is finished.
If you are in an expansion phase or have been through one – think of the following:
♦️ What is your top concern when it comes to your team members/new hires representing your brand?
♦️ Do your teams display a professional presence that represents the brand and is aligned to its values?
♦️ Does your organization have a program empowering employees with the essential skills to be brand ambassadors?
♦️ Are your team members motivated to contribute towards the future success of your organization?
Even though staying ahead of the curve is critical in the gaming and hospitality space, it means little if the guest experience provided by the teams is a poor one. Before launching a TV campaign, unveiling a new logo or state of the art building, ensure the employees brand provides an experience equal to the investment, time and effort that went into the expansion project.