What Our Elders Can Teach Us

Five steps to senior service excellence (that we may have forgotten lately)

Years ago, I went ElderHostel’ing. That is, I spoke to groups of seniors from the ElderHostel program (now known as Road Scholar) here in Reno. For those who aren’t familiar with this program, it is a travel program designed for senior citizens who wish to combine the social aspects of traveling with the educational aspects of attending classes while on their trip. The classes are usually specific to the areas where the seniors are traveling and add an educational twist to the trip. Sort of a traveling school, if you will.

The groups I spoke to were comprised of seniors from all over the country who traveled to northern Nevada to learn about the gaming industry, the wild, wild west, and other aspects of our area that they found interesting.

Seniors are simply a lovely group to talk with. They are smart, engaging, perceptive, and love to tell stories. They are also going to be the best demographic to hit gaming for the next 20 or 30 years. The product is tailor-made for them. They have time and disposable income, and they have slowed down in a world that no longer pays much attention to them.

In our casinos, when we do it right, they get paid attention to often. As a matter of fact, they can come down and chase that royal or jackpot with their friends and be treated very well by a group of team members who (if properly trained) will call them by their name, take care of their needs, and for just those few precious moments, make them feel like they are the most important person in the world. And isn’t that what the gaming experience is all about? Making people feel good, feel important, feel like … A WINNER!

Do you have a seniors program at your casino? I am not just talking about senior promotions and specials. I feel the senior issue goes far beyond that. If you really want to take advantage of the biggest demographic guest group to hit gaming ever, then follow along …

Steve’s Five Steps to Senior Service Excellence

  1. Talk to these folks – I am talking about focus groups, advisory boards, discussion groups, team member training groups, etc. Talk to these folks every chance and in every way that you can think of. Invite groups of seniors to sit in with groups of frontline team members, and let them chat about what they like and don’t like and about their experiences.
  2. Develop senior service sensitivity training for your team members – Team members need to understand what seniors want in a casino experience. They don’t want to be rushed, ignored, brushed off, or overlooked. Heck, they get enough of that from the outside world. A casino is one of the few places where they can be made to feel important, to feel like they have value and are to be cherished for that.
  3. Hire seniors to work in your organization – Nothing builds a better sensitivity to seniors than having seniors on staff who understand the needs and desires of this group. Especially in today’s challenged labor markets, are you thinking of this demographic?
  4. Develop a seniors player development specialty within your host and player development areas – Hey, hosting and player development are going to be your best tools to drive sales in the years to come.
  5. Finally, and this one you probably already do, but could do better, build a promotions program aimed at seniors – Only build one that is far more comprehensive and complete than what you currently have.

There you have it. Steve’s five-step plan for tapping into the biggest market to hit gaming since Bugsy was buried. Good luck with your seniors program, and remember this …

… we sell an entertainment experience that enriches people’s lives.

I can think of no better group to sell this to than the elders of our community. They want, need and deserve the experience that we, and only we, are capable of creating for them. And besides, they are a lot of fun to spend time with.

And you’ll have a ball.

I guarantee it.

Steve Browne 12 Articles