Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hospitality Humour

The hospitality industry is the major provider of gaming facilities in Australia. While this obviously provides significant income there is a very real cost. Two areas where involvement with gaming creates real problems is image and customer relations. You would expect that the primary focus of staff in the hospitality industry would be HOSPITALITY - friendly, welcoming - the epitome of customer service. While that's the way they'd like it to be, the reality for most hospitality staff (particularly those involved in gaming areas) is that their first role is that of a regulator. It is their responsibility to oversee the responsible serving of alcohol as well as responsible gaming - two areas where customers can be notoriously sensitive. Combine this with the fact that (in certain States in particular) the local hotel with gaming facilities is portrayed regularly in the media as the main cause of gambling problems; and it is easy to understand why such an image makes it difficult for staff to enjoy and be proud of their job.

Carlton United have addressed this issue proactively - with fun! Across Victoria, South Australia and Queensland many of their gaming rooms have been branded 'Joker's Wild'. The theme of humour and fun is integrated throughout the venue: fun signs, fun activities, fun staff (all staff are issued with their own joker's cap).

Staff receive training in creating and delivering fun promotions. They are encouraged to draw on their own creativity to introduce fun into the customer area. They are also made aware that the fun starts behind the scenes. They need to find ways to increase the level of humour throughout the working day. If they can't have fun with each other, they can't expect to create fun in customer interactions.