Philippe Khouri has made a career for himself in the hospitality and gaming industry.
Philippe Khouri is the current Assistant General Manager for the Hollywood Lawrenceburg Casino & Hotel, a company owned by Penn National Gaming. As the Assistant GM, he is responsible for overseeing all casino operations, security, and hotel operations. In addition, he is responsible for the overall customer service program for the property and led Hollywood Lawrenceburg to the highest shift of customer service scores in the company for 2013. Since the start of his career at Hollywood Lawrenceburg he has innovated marketing promotions that drove VIP play, revamped direct mail campaigns, and worked to streamline the customer service sector in every way imaginable.
One reason he has been so successful is the fact that he grew up abroad and speaks Spanish. His worldly personality means that he is more effective at communicating with customers, other businesses, and to resources throughout the industry.
Put simply, Philippe Khouri believes that his success stems from his in-depth understanding of the gaming industry and the consumer. By understanding these ideas and the goal of a casino, not to mention the entertainment portion, he is able to respond to consumer wants and turn plans into realities.
As an industry professional, he stays up to date on new trends in the industry and works to implement them into casinos. Online gaming, for instance, is on every entertainment venue’s mind at the moment due to recent regulations. A casino, however, is much more than a blackjack table or bank of slots. Casinos have to offer a lifestyle experience that encourages people to come in, try to win some money, and have a great time. Khouri knows how to make this happen.
Throughout his career, Philippe Khouri has proven himself as a businessman and gaming expert. He understands that table games and slots are just one reason people go to casinos. It is the culmination of a facility’s environment, food and drink options, entertainment, luxury, and service that ultimately convinces consumers to come back and spend money. By maximizing these elements, he has helped several casinos compete at a higher level against a new and seasoned competition.
Philippe attended Rollins College where he majored in economics. He worked for a few years for Harrah’s Las Vegas, Rincon, and St. Louis as well as the Showboat Casino & Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. While working, he earned a master’s degree in business administration from both Cornell University and Queen’s University.
With degree in hand, Philippe Khouri became the VP of operations at Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel (owned by Caesars Entertainment) in Joliet, Illinois. He worked there for three years and was responsible for gaming, hotel, and food and beverage operations. He was also in charge of implementing marketing programs and driving gaming revenue.
During his time at Harrah’s Joliet, he innovated a CRM program for marketing that drove incremental revenue by increasing length of play. His success made him an obvious choice for three companywide task forces for gaming, food and beverage, and a loyalty card program. He also led a 10-person central division buffed project team and consolidated casino operations into a single department in 2008.
In late 2011, Philippe Khouri became the regional vice president of slots in the East and Midwest for Caesars Entertainment, Enterprise Shared Services in Hammond, Indiana. In this position, he was responsible for managing slot machines, implementing marketing strategies, merchandising, and overall operations for 17 properties and 40,000 slots. Combined, Philippe’s 17 properties brought in over $4 billion in slot revenue annually.
Additionally in this role Philippe Khouri re-mapped floor layouts for St. Louis and Hammond casinos as well as a pair of Ohio Horseshoe casinos that were recently opened. He stayed on with Caesars Entertainment for under a year before being approached by Penn National Gaming; he then became the assistant GM for the Hollywood Lawrenceburg Casino & Hotel. One of his most notable accomplishments (so far) was leading the Lawrenceburg, Indiana property to number one shift in customer service scores in 2013.
Khouri also introduced a slot floor optimizer regime for all of Penn National Gaming’s properties that helped casinos bring in higher yields based on gaming trends, bet denominations, and game type. Though he has been with Penn for less than two years, Khouri has already made major improvements to the company’s casinos and will continue to find more ways to improve the customer experience.
One of his biggest accomplishments in the gaming industry was in customer relationship management. He marketed CRM and tied the results into slot machines, which generate sizeable revenue for casinos. Most casinos have slot machines like these, but there are only limited differences that set slots apart from one another.
But to maximize entertainment and gaming value, Philippe Khouri investigated CRM and player trends to better understand the customer playing a unique machine. This allowed the casino to market directly to that specific customer, and it utilized demographic data, play patterns, previous player trends, and other information to enhance the gaming experience.
Philippe says that the gaming industry as a whole struggles when it comes to differentiating players and machines. With CRM technology, however, there are more ways than ever to engage people online and in person. Philippe contributed a number of ideas to move this process forward, but there is a shortfall in terms of technology that is capable of managing customer relationships in the gaming industry.
Philippe Khouri has a dream: To operate a casino or boutique hotel in south Florida closer to where his family lives. Currently, the United States has very few niche casinos that cater to particular crowds, but Khouri, an entrepreneur, believes that if the industry continues to grow an idea of this magnitude has serious potential.
His dream casino or hotel will be along the south Florida beach and offer scenic views, top-of-the-line service, and extraordinary food and beverage. The gaming industry is constantly undergoing changes as the economy struggles, online gaming grows, and consumer needs evolve. A boutique hotel coupled with a casino like this, however, could be the next evolution in the gaming and hospitality industry. Khouri, who has extensive experience in business and gaming, is the perfect example of a gaming and hotel operator who could pull off a boutique business.
Khouri is also on the lookout for opportunities outside of the gaming industry. He saw his father move from hospitality to insurance and understands that business experience is completely transitive. Management skills are especially applicable to any business in any industry. His background as a stockbroker, assistant general manager, and customer relationship expert creates a lot of options for him in the future.
For now, though, Philippe Khouri is happy with his position and is looking for new ways to generate revenue for the casino and enhance the customer experience. He also remains current on major gaming trends, such as casino expansion throughout the U.S. and in several countries in Asia.