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New director finding room to ensure customer satisfaction at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort

Scott Csernyik

12/20/2001 12:00:00 AM

With over 20 years of gaming and hospitality experience, Mike Vautrin knows success at Soaring Eagle hinges upon catering to its clientele while keeping employees content.

The new executive director of hospitality is intending to fine tune the way guests are approached by knowing more about their entertainment habits in hopes of winning customer loyalty. He also wants to expand on an assumed marketing marriage between the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.

"We're looking to try to make sure customers and employees see the entire facility as one establishment," stated Vautrin. "New eyes always see some things a little differently."

The 46-year-old native of Providence, R.I., brings to Soaring Eagle a wealth of experience from hospitality to slot operations. He's worked for the major players in the gaming business, including Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Caesars Atlantic City and Bally's. Vautrin's career travels have taken him to gaming facilities in Atlantic City; New Orleans; Tunica, Miss. and Delaware.

Before Soaring Eagle, Vautrin served as general manager for Gaming Entertainment Delaware which included Harrington Raceway, a standardbred horse racing facility that also features about 1,200 machines at its Midway Slots property.

Vautrin is divorced and has two children, ages six and eight. Their 8 x 10 school pictures lay on the upper left corner of his desk in his office which he's yet to settle in since a Nov. 19 starting date.

The proliferation of gaming in Indian Country attracted Vautrin because of future development possibilities and almost endless opportunities.

"The growth of the gaming business in the next 10 years will be with Indian casinos, whether it's investment or expansion of new properties," he said. "There used to be a very small fraternity of gaming people who worked in Vegas, New Jersey or out of the country on the islands. It's obviously not that way anymore."

Vautrin also said it's imperative to understand guest needs and cater to those wishes. He hopes to achieve this through detailed guest questionnaires in finding the personal data about entertainment interests whether a guest is active on the floor or lounging in their room.

"You create a lot of personal relationships with customers," he explained. "Paying that extra special attention makes a tremendous difference. It's vital to have a good foundation of customer service to combat any future competition that may come on the horizon."

Players Club card availability-whether it be replacement or a new issue-at the Concierge's Desk is another strategy that Vautrin believes will pay dividends when a guest is at Soaring Eagle for work rather than play.

"We may expose them to Soaring Eagle while they are here attending a convention," explained Vautrin. "But then they can be encouraged to come back for a vacation. We want to be as accommodating as possible."

Productive employees are an integral part of this process, contends Vautrin. The ripple effect begins with caring about the employees, who in turn, are a positive reflection of the facility as they service a steady stream of thousands of different people during any given week of the year.

"It's important we get feedback from our employees, as well as our guests," he said. "To the credit of the operation, there is a very good management nucleus. My intent is to take that vision and make it work to the best of my ability to create even greater opportunities."