Fans For The Future

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 20, 2008 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

I was reading one of the many articles and blogs as I do each night. I came across a blog that spoke about attracting fans and keeping them interested in racing. I have worked in racing for going on 20 years. I have seen the good, the bad, and ugly moves with decisions. Here are a few ideas to chew on. Just keep in mind, it could work and would extend to every player who comes.

Every day, at every track, there should be free parking and valet. Make it easy to come on in and drop off a bet. When you pull into the lot, it is the first sign of welcome and thanks for coming. The idea of charging folks has gone the way of the dinosaur.

Create a drive up window area. If the track is worried about patrons making wagers on-line, then make it easy for those who live close and are in a hurry. At last check, the restaurant business is doing pretty well with the ease of motion service. This will keep patrons coming to your location and allows you an opportunity to market to them with ads, signage, and selling of handicapping materials. Make it easy for a player. In the old days a punter would drive 100 miles uphill in the snow. Not anymore. Let them have a fast food approach to getting their action.

I know that there are a thousand excuses for this one. Union contracts, burned out workers, and people who just don’t care. It MUST be of the greatest importance that ALL employees greet each and every patron like their job depends on it. Because in reality, it does.. One of the biggest complaints that I hear is poor customer service. It doesn’t take a million dollar plan to have all of your employees smile and treat customers with dignity. I have heard of ticket sellers acting as if it is a bother to serve; concession and staff treating your order as if you owe them a favor. Not the case. I have worked in racing and this goes on daily. If you are tired of watching your patrons leave, then spend the time and money retaining your current players. It is so much cheaper to keep your present players happy than to create new ones. Just remember the golden rule. Have secret shoppers monitor your success, and make sure you publicly reward those who go over and above the call of duty. For those who do not, show them the door.

Keep a clean, well lit plant. Have free seating in all areas, and offer competitive food prices. This will make players feel comfortable, and more likely to use your facility as a full-service destination.

Have hourly drawings. You don’t have to give away the house. Make it dinner for two, two free programs, a free handicapping seminar, or be a guest of the race caller and stand in the booth and see the best view of the races. Overall, players need a constant form of entertainment. Post pictures of big winners in a “Wall of Fame” area. Treat the players as stars. They really are, because they pay your salary. Think about it.  How do you want to be treated?