Discussion in 'Comps' started by oldschoolvegas, May 24, 2017.
As of May 1st they have eliminated the gold and silver cards.
Not surprising. I wonder if this also holds for downtown Boyd, if not now, then soon.
I'm definitely not going to stay there (even on double booking) again.
You know what, I really hate to go into "rant mode"... but I kind of have to here, in a thread-relevant, and condensed-as-appropriate way.
This just goes to show that true hospitality is dead. It used to be that high-value customers, in any situation, were treated with respect, and accommodated in the best interest of their satisfaction, without worrying about nickels and dimes. Now, it's all so systematic, in a way that you're only treated like a VIP if the computer or "ranking criteria" says so - and even then, it's highly limited.
For instance, alteration charges might be waived at a department store for a very good customer who's buying some suits. In the "good old days", it wouldn't matter if taking in the cuffs has a list price of $35, because not nickel-and-diming this customer is worth a lot more than the $35 you might land by charging him for it. Now, tier-based loyalty programs will dictate such things as "customers who spend $10,000 or more per year with us will have alterations charges waived to a maximum of $100 per garment". So if that customer has spent, say, $9,700 this year, they'll be forced to pay for the alterations simply because they haven't met the fixed dollar requirement. It takes about 15 minutes to alter suit jacket cuffs. So if you pay your tailor $20 per hour, the store's net cost to provide this "comp" is only about $5.00. Is making him pay $35 for something that only takes 15 minutes to do really any way to treat a customer who's spent $9,700 with you in one year?
Let's relate this back to the casino business, and the gold/silver cards, specifically. The idea behind the cards is exactly the same as offering complimentary alterations; in recognition of a customer's high value to the establishment, they're being given whatever accommodations they desire. Not only is this good business practice to provide benefits that have a relatively low cost to the business itself, but it also provides a good experience to the customer, because they need not worry what all the "little extras" will come to, if it's all included.
In the case of a department store, their only cost of free alterations is labour, thread, and maybe buttons/zippers. In the case of a casino, their only cost of free food is labour, the food itself, and possibly lost playing time (i.e. the more time they spend eating, the less time they spend gambling). In neither case are the actual costs that high to the establishment. Yes, they are an out-of-pocket expense. But they're to retain a high-value customer. It's a simple rule of business that you (generally) must spend money to make money. So, if you need to spend x amount of dollars to give free food to a high roller, that essentially pays for itself if they'll play more at your casino as a direct result of that.
Now, it could be argued in either situation that there's the opportunity cost of foregone revenue, in that perhaps if you did charge for the alterations you could knock out an extra $xxx in sales, or if you did make the player pay for food you could get them to spend $100 or so per day. But to charge them for such trivial things is pretty much to say "we're going to treat you just like anywhere else would treat you". That is, you can pay $35 to have your cuffs taken in here where you spend thousands per year, or pay $35 to a random dry cleaner down the street. Similarly, you can spend $100 per day on food at a casino where you do $40,000 daily coin-in, or spend $100 per day at the TGI Friday's next door where there are new servers every week and no one knows your name. It looks good on a balance sheet to bring in that extra money, but you are not providing that high value customer any incentive to stick around if they'll have to pay for the trivial things with you just as they would have to if they were a nobody elsewhere.
For one person - I'm sorry, but there is no way that one person on a gold card could cost Boyd Gaming more than $50 per day in net cost of materials/labour. It simply isn't possible. A three-egg breakfast with meat, potatoes, a fruit bowl, coffee, and OJ might cost about $5. A bowl of pho noodles for lunch might cost about $5. A three-course steak dinner might cost about $25, with a nice cut of steak. A basket of chicken fingers with french fries for a midnight snack might cost about $5, too. Assuming all of those predicted costs are accurate, you're looking at a $40 per day cost to keep a customer well-fed, not nickel-and-dimed, and more importantly, on the property so they can keep playing. Of course, to a one-credit $0.25 slot player who pushes the buttons for an hour a day, that $40 cost is pretty significant. But for a three-credit $1 slot player who plays for ten hours a day, it's less than significant.
The point of my rant comes to why the cards are such a good instrument of hospitality. Not only does the player not get nickel and dimed on food expenses when they're losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars per day, they get to indulge without hesitation. A luxury that would be unsustainable to provide to everybody, but is a breeze to provide to a select few high-value customers.
Part of why I love Boyd for myself is because they're perhaps the only remaining old-school Vegas experience that isn't about exorbitant resort fees, 6:5 blackjack, smoke and mirrors celebrity chef restaurants that will charge you $25 for bacon and eggs, and $14 craft brews with Dr. Seuss sounding names. If I want a comp after I'm done at the tables for the afternoon, I just ask the pit boss and he'll print one up for me. This is presumably on the logic that if I've been betting $10 a go for the past three hours, giving me a $15 meal voucher that represents no more than $8 in food cost to them is well within the money they've probably made off of me in that timeframe.
Anywhere else? "Swipe your player's card on the machine and see how many comp dollars you have". As though I'm a number in a computer. Which, basically, I am. And as a $10 blackjack player, that number is nowhere near significant by any stretch of the imagination. But if you're talking about a true high roller, who would have earned a gold or silver card, they're dropping serious money. So for them, it makes a lot more sense to tell them "have whatever you want" than to tell them to swipe their card at a machine and see what their comp dollar balance is. You'll be giving them comps anyway. Why make them have to wonder what they're entitled to, when giving them anything they want costs so little?
So, sure... the comps may still come on the backend through room charges. Perhaps even they might be offered on the front end as fixed dollar value food and beverage credits. But the change in vibe that comes from changing "have whatever you want" to "you might be able to have whatever you want up to a $50 value" is a massive one, and it can only feel like a cutback to what Boyd is extending to its top patrons.
It's sad to see this benefit go. While I never had any hope of getting it myself, its existence gave me a very good impression of what Boyd is all about. Looks like that's changed, right along with the rest of the world today.
boy, it is sad, but certainly not surprising
it wasn't all that long ago the wife would receive five-night/gold card offers on a monthly basis; then I did for about 18 months with $100 fp thrown in.
then that stopped and you had to go through a host/gm for a gold card; and see if you qualified;
then the 'new' gold cards had a $150 daily limit which you figure would be ok except their-'new'-not-as-good-as-the-old billy bobs steak house and their jacked up prices would stretch that limit.
..and the 'good' video poker inventory suddenly wasn't so good
..and etc., etc.
the gold/silver card was a 'perk' that certainly created brand loyalty to sam's town. now, from our standpoint st is no different than any other boyd property in vegas.
Yep, the glory days are over there for sure. It's odd that they even bothered changing the Gold Cards to a $150 limit when they were going to end them just a few months later! You are exactly right about the Angry Butcher prices too. I figured a good part of the business there was that even with the higher prices, the people with Gold Cards ate there anyway. Now with their 0.1% food comps paid from play with the card, it will be interesting to see how empty that place gets now.
No much reason to stay and play there anymore. Part of me will miss it, but a bigger part thinks it's time to move on anyway. I won't miss seeing the local customers with missing teeth, and the near homeless looking ones as well.
Years ago, in the VP glory days, they had 4 play 25c FPDW, and $10K coin in a day got you a Gold Card and a suite. Just the idea of that seems like fiction now. Things couldn't be more different.
wouldn't it be nice if just one casino, or more, would step in and try the business model of the "glory days". take us commoners and spoil us like kings and queens, and see if it is profitable or not. wouldn't it be worth a try? do you think it would work? just think if one place offered it all....
no resort fees
no parking fees
best slot payback %
best VP pay tables
best BJ rules
free smokes at the table games
Sams Town is great and I loved it when I visited. Few casinos down there but cannot see them attracting out of towners if their comps are dwindling.
Just think they are trying to follow the strip hotels to extract all they can from regular visitors.
Sit back and wait for the next big crash if you don't feel valued. Sooner or later the shoe will be on the other foot.
As a low roller, I never got a card, but now points multiplier days are for locals only. That was the one perk I liked from Boyd properties. I knew I could play a bit heavier with a free meal at the end of the session. -- often a very expensive Gold Coast buffet.
I'm pretty sad that the Gold and silver cards will be no more. I never qualified for one but hoped one day they'll offer me one. It's nice to think you're appreciated.
Did these cards effectively hurt their profits? I cannot see how. It really looks like a nickel and dime decision where they are so focused on the pennies on the ground when there are dollar bills flying all around them.
I guess there were people who abused the privilege. I wonder if they stopped offering cards because people would try to scam the system. I know my BIL got called out by Boyd for what they referred to as "abuse of the Gold Card".
I posted a thread about his debacle. It was titled "Boyd Gold Card bites my Brother-In-Law in the A$$".
Fun thread. Look it up if interested.
IMO, it would be hard to scam the system when the card has a limit of $150. When over the limit a couple times and the overage was billed to our room.
I remember the post about your BIL.
I guessing ST will still let you charge food to your room to be comped off later.
I emailed the GM for MSS asking about this and if, or did it, happen at downtown Boyd. He is very good about replying, unlike my host, so I'll post when I get an answer.
Probably because the hosts at MSS are ancient and not computer literate...
In the current state of things, I don't think this would be profitable. There's way too many savvy moochers who have ruined most anything that's any good. This is unfortunate for legitimate players who actually do deserve these perks. But I feel like if a place like what you're describing was to exist, it would be swarmed by VP point hustlers, and people laying the minimum bet on the pass line with no odds at a craps table for just long enough to get a free drink.
What I expect might actually do well is a members-only club, with a cover charge for entry to the casino. Which may sound absurd, but hear me out...
- The argument against these perks is that they cost money, either by direct expense or opportunity cost
- Drinks cost, cigarettes cost, hotel rooms cost, meals cost, and decent VP paytables/BJ rules are a lost opportunity to go 6:5/H17/nDAS and make more money on average
- A balance of these things can be struck for the sake of preserving revenue. Whereas such things as resort fees and parking charges are just a cash grab done out of greed
The cover charge for entry would guarantee a certain amount of revenue to the casino, irrespective of play, thus giving them something to work with in terms of extending benefits to players without having to qualify them using an arcane formula that no one who isn't from MIT would understand.
Then, comps for rooms/nicer meals/cash back/car rentals/airfare rebates can be given based on play. With the requirement that a player be a registered member, this would prevent freebie moochers who go from one casino to another like a ghost, and I think would keep a lot of the riffraff out.
I don't think this would be legal in Nevada. Perhaps it could be legal elsewhere? In any case, the Dunes/Stardust days of Vegas are over, and I believe it is largely to do with greedy patrons who take advantage of what used to be very good generosity. If those patrons weren't running around trying to get something for nothing, we would have a very different scene in Las Vegas today. The members-only model, I believe, would not just keep them out, but also would give them a premise to be kicked out, if they're found to be short-playing or no-playing.
If anyone's ever been to casinos in Europe (where you must register with photo ID before you enter), you'll know there's very little riffraff in those places.
Reply I received from MSS & Cal GM:
"Yes it's in the plan however instead of Gold Card you will get food credits to charge to your room".
That opens up a whole new set of questions. Maybe I'll be thankful I squirreled away all those B Connected slot points. August we're staying at Suncoast and I never expect anything there, but Sept we were planning on MSS/Cal. Maybe by then our VMB members will have answers.
Tim, why so negative about Boyd these days? Second post I've see you slam them and you used to be a booster.
There's MUCH greener grass my friend..develop your play while you can
Are you sure that multipliers are for locals only? They tried that for a brief time back in March. They quickly changed that for Young at Heart Wednesdays.
For May 2017 their multiplier days on Mothers Day and Memorial Day are for everyone, I think. Unless I'm reading the official rules incorrectly? Wouldn't be the first time I was wrong about something.
I think you are correct. but they don't seem to offer them as often. none on cinco de mayo this year, but they have in years past. maybe because it was on a Friday.
I'd rather think it's because they prefer old school ways. It's a politely way of saying it compared to your way.
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