The doors are open, the plexiglass is installed and beyond that … the plan is? Understandably, that remains to be seen to some extent.
The “new normal” has become an overused phrase like many others in our industry that we would just as soon never hear again. As much as our industry can be repetitive at times, it can also be the most creative. It is time to flip the narrative and capitalize on opportunities that have been forced on us to separate ourselves from other industries, as well as our competition.
Too often we look at only the obvious staring us in the face and fail to look beyond the obstacle to move forward. Looking beyond what we can see allows us to imagine things not yet created, not tried and experimented with to become better than we were before, we just need to think. Utilize those strengths within your team to find those new solutions and bring back our industry just like we have done so many times before.
It goes without saying that most everyone, both guests and team members, will wonder what you are doing to make sure it is okay for them to return. Let them know! About six years ago, there was a study that was done about the three best places you could be if you had a heart attack. First, a hospital (seems obvious). Second, an airport. Third, a casino! How many of you knew that? All three of these were more likely to be staffed with AEDs (Automated External Defibrillator). Along with having them, you have trained team members on how to use them, along with many other health-related issues. I would also bet that almost every one of you have had a circumstance where it had to be used and it saved someone’s life. I know I do.
The recent pandemic allows you to highlight what you are doing to express your concern for those guests and team members. In addition to medical personnel, you have surveillance and many other protocols that, more than any other establishment, prioritizes them feeling safe and comfortable coming to see you.
Even before all of this began, technology was changing how business was being done. Artificial intelligence modeling in business was dictating how we act, react and operate. Utilizing the tools available already, but planning for what may be coming is significant. Many of you use kiosks to perform several functions of your day-to-day operations. Because of COVID-19 and the constant touching of the screen, will they go away and how will you adjust? Already smartphone apps are changing the hotel check-in process, in which not only can you check in, but your phone becomes your room key.
Casinos have had a good run for the last four or five years. Sometimes we can get a little bloated with spending and staffing when everything is rosy. Utilizing software to forecast scheduling and spending revenue projection will factor that you’re accurate in your projections moving forward. But make sure that whatever program you may be evaluating actually does what they say it will do and you use it to its full capacity. They don’t run themselves.
Maybe the most important piece of technology, before all of the algorithms and codes, you are given the most powerful computerized tool ever created. It is your brain, use it.
This will always be the gaming industry’s ace in the hole. The ability to recognize what your property needs to excite your guests. Do not fall into the cookie cutter trap that one-size-fits-all. What works in one location may not work in another. You know your guest better than anyone. Customize your strengths to your guests to give them what they are looking for.
This doesn’t mean you can’t borrow something you’ve seen somewhere else. Nothing better illustrates that than if you look at downtown Las Vegas. Although I have never met the man, Derek Stevens has helped to turn around that entire area. Mr. Stevens took over the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino and Fitzgerald’s (now The D Las Vegas). With some renovation and creative promotions, he grew traffic.
But more than that, he did it with visibility. Many times later in the afternoon you would find him at the end of the famous Long Bar having a drink with guests having a good time. Or you would see an article of him placing a bet on one of his favorite Michigan teams in his famous customized suit jackets. Most importantly, he was having fun and his many interactions with guests ended up being posted on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook free of charge. Maybe we could all take a lesson and give up one of our all-important meetings and actually go out on the floor.
His current endeavor is renovating an entire block downtown with the brand new Circa Resort & Casino scheduled to open in October of 2020.
I can’t wait to see what he and you have up your sleeves as this new challenge unfolds.