Janet’s 10 Host Rules:

Finding success by using a code of conduct for your venue player development team and gaming staff

I’m a big fan of NCIS. I love how they are able to add funny moments to such serious ones – like life, really. Every character is unique and detailed. The character of Leroy Jethro Gibbs uses an interesting leadership style that is anchored to his “rules.” Gibbs’ Rules are an extensive series of guidelines that Gibbs lives by and teaches to the people he works closely with. Whenever his team has a question, he refers them back to the “rules.” The origin of Gibbs’ Rules goes back to his first wife, who told him at their first meeting that, “Everyone needs a code they can live by.”

The role of Player Development within the gaming venue comes with heavy responsibility. Not only do we have “the power of the pen,” but we have access to huge amounts of highly confidential information (both internal and external), which in the wrong hands can be dangerous to both the venue and our guests. We all have either heard stories or witnessed unethical behavior within a venue. These situations can run the gamut from bad, uneducated decisions to out-and-out theft. It got me thinking¬ – should we develop a code of conduct for Hosts that will serve as a guideline for decisions and help them be successful?

So, here is my stab at creating a list of “Host Rules”:

1.  Never Lie

Hosts use relationship marketing, and trust is key to developing a relationship with anyone. When you lie, you lose that trust, and it will never be fully restored. Integrity and honesty are the basis of any relationship. Make a mistake? Own it, and do what you can to correct it. Negotiations with your guests should ALWAYS be truthful. There will be times it may be necessary to schmooze, coax, and advise – BUT NEVER LIE!

2. It’s Business

While we use relationship marketing, we must never let things get TOO personal! By that I mean, watch what you share with your guests. Confidentiality is vital. Hosts function as a liaison between the guest and the club/pub, but never forget WHERE your loyalties lie.

3. Teamwork

We’ve all heard that there is no “I” in team, so why is this so lacking in most PD departments and between other departments?! Former United States Navy admiral William H. McRaven reiterated that sentiment in his book, Make Your Bed: Small Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World. He speaks the truth when he says, “No one can do it alone. So, find someone to help you paddle.” This refers to one of the many paddling exercises that Navy SEALS learn in training: It can’t be done alone, and you need to be in complete sync with your teammates.

4. Cover Your Backside

Document, document, document! No matter how you do it, either by using notes or remarks in your CMS or CRM, or going old school and using a notebook, post-it notes, print screens or a dry erase board, you must make sure that you keep track of all pertinent information concerning guest interactions, current or completed projects, because you just never know when you may need it. In my years of hosting, I learned to document everything, and it came in handy more often than not. If my boss had a question about why I did something, I could show my thought process. If a guest “forgot” I had them at the casino rate and not comp, I had the notes on their account. That way anyone who pulled up their information could see it as well. Which brings me to the next rule …

5. Communicate

Whether it is internal (communication with other hosts, departments, etc.) or external (your guests), clear and concise communication is vital. We so often fail to communicate altogether, or if we do, it is often inconsistent or unclear. Internally, I so often hear, “We don’t know what the hosts do.” That is a failure in communication. So many walls have been created internally because of poor (or nonexistent) communication. It is crucial to make sure that you are working closely with all departments in the venue because your guests interact with them throughout their time at the venue. Externally, your hosts need clear information and, as was mentioned in Rule #1, be honest: communication is a two-way street.

“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.” – Sydney J. Harris

6. Listen

Selling is based on listening. Listening is an art that must be practiced consciously. Not thinking about what YOU are going to say next or “one-up” the story being told or the conversation taking place, but just focusing on what the other person is saying. This is not only true with sales, but with dispute resolution and all other areas where there is communication with another being. Focus on the 3 L’s – Listen, so you can Learn and be able to Lead the conversation.

7. Engage

The Raving Host mantra, “The more touches you make, the more revenue you generate,” means to ENGAGE. The more you engage with your guests, the more you develop that relationship, thereby increasing loyalty. The more loyalty, the more revenue generated. Successful hosts ALWAYS follow up and follow through. Double and triple check, every time with everyone. I don’t care how long you’ve dealt with a guest, reach out to them. Even a simple “just checking in with you” or “how are you feeling?” goes a LONG way.  But, you must engage. The only way to overcome is to engage. Change your lens, choose to find reasons to succeed! See Rule #9.

8. Ask

Never assume. If you don’t know, ask. If you need help, ask. In order to learn about your guests, you must ASK.

9. Overcome

There isn’t one way to do things, and there is no one “right answer.” If the first solution or idea doesn’t work or doesn’t quite sound right, find the next right answer. Don’t stay stuck or use excuses.  See Rule #10.

10. Be Accountable

For a host (or any adult), self-discipline is very important. If you make a mistake (and you will), own it, learn from it, and move on. Make personal goals and commit to them. Work smarter, not harder. Don’t wait for your manager to tell you what to do, you should already know, and if you don’t, see Rule #8.

The bottom line is this: hosts are part of an elite sales team, and these rules will help you be stronger and more successful.

Author: Janet Hawk – Raving Consulting

March 26, 2019