September is National Courtesy Month (NCM), which reminds everyone in Las Vegas that courtesy, also known as customer service, is the engine that drives this city. And, NCM should prompt the tourism industry to fine-tune the engine that makes us a premier tourist destination.
Here are some tips for the Las Vegas workforce that prove courtesy is contagious and advantageous for those that practice them (and prompt tips in return):
• Cab drivers. You can offer your passengers bottled water (especially during the heat of September!). This not only guarantees them relief from heat exhaustion but provides that extra incentive to give you bigger tips. Think of it as a value-added experience. Uber and Lyft drivers, many of you already offer bottled water, so you need to up your game by providing sparkling water.
• Front desk clerks. Guests checking into your resort won’t need water (they still have the bottles from the cab, Uber and Lyft drivers), but they would like a room away from the elevator and the ice machine. Surprise them by not waiting for them to ask. And you may end up expanding a tradition of tips for the front desk.
• Room service. You can provide exceptional customer service by delivering food on time and with the coffee still hot. Throw in a little gift to show you care (such as taking a chocolate mint from the maid’s turndown service cart and tossing it on your tray). More caring, more tips.
• Maître d’s. True, there are few, if any, maître d’s in showrooms these days (and no more “greasing of the palms”), but those of you who are ushers still show guests to their seats or at least their rows. Why not offer each guest a free (and cheap) pocket flashlight they can use to find their way to the restroom in the middle of the show? That’s worth a decent tip. You won’t get the maître d level of gratuity, since all seats are assigned, but a couple of bucks for extra effort doesn’t hurt.
• Casino employees. Talk management into offering a free play at the video poker machine or a free spin of the “Wheel of Fortune” to each customer. Some people will win, and that’s good for business. But odds are they won’t win (otherwise new casinos would no longer be built), but it’s a great show of customer service, especially since those complimentary drinks are few and far between.
• Valet parkers. Run over to the self-parking garage and offer to park guests’ cars for free. Bring back the good old days and earn big tips. It’s unexpected and will be appreciated… except by your management.
• Gambling instructors. For those of you who give introductory lessons on gaming to guests of the casinos, take a chance. If you can’t show them how to count cards for blackjack, at least show them how to maintain a poker face while playing, well, poker. Make the lesson valuable and you will be rewarded.
The bottom line is that in Las Vegas, courtesy motivates reciprocity. Courtesy is rewarded by guests in cash. And that should be a year-long commitment.
If not, see you next September!