Change Can Be Great!

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 24, 2010 in General Discussion | 2 Comments >>

Do you know that chili is made about a million ways? It is full of many spices and magic, and I equate it to racing and what fans think will bring the game back to prosperity. I have few ideas, and only after reading everything out there, and trying everyone’s recipe, I have one of my own that I am proud to go with.

  1. Treat fans fairly and offer FREE admission and parking. Use FREE valet as a reward for players. Get them in the door easily, and things begin on a sweet note. All seating is FREE, and allow players to go where they wish. The only change is the dining room, but make all seating FREE with no charge. Have a varied menu, and offer players good food to chow down. Don’t just give them old hot dogs… Go the distance, and make them want to come for lunch. That is a compliment if fans think of your track other than racing. It is starting to feel like an entire experience. Give them access to ALL forms of info. Charge them only what needs to be charged, and stop thinking about making five cents on a program… These are creature comforts, and make sure the place is clean and well-lit… Pretend like mom is watching and things will get better already….
  2. Offer players a place where there is a great number of computers to access, and look at whatever info they wish. This can be a “Kinko’s” of sorts. They can print at a small charge, and if they are a regular player, use it as a reward. Keep this area away from the mass of TV’s and windows, and folks will check email for work, update their betting accounts, and have a large customer service desk where ALL questions can and will be answered. This is information central, and can be a place where players can get info about the track, races, information to bet with, how to bet, make reservations, redeem coupons, and even a place where they can charge their cell phones. A one stop shop, and it makes it easy. Once they are there, the reasons to leave are getting slim.
  3. Have machines and clerks that both work to the best of their ability. Have clerks greet players, and all machines must be well-lit and working. When there is a tote problem with a machine, treat it like a fire drill. Have a repairman there in a minute or two…. Offer players the chance to see the race at many angles, and have an explanation if a DQ happens. It can be posted immediately, and if you watch New York, they do an excellent job by posting all rulings on screen as 90% of the wagering is done off-track.

So, there is my chili…. Treat the fans fair. Let them in, allow them to get started with no charge, and offer them plenty to choose from…. Let them be fed like kings. But, leave the big tab somewhere else. Make your track a place to be. Offer the crowd pleasing $1 dogs and $1 beer with the bands, but don’t forget the important demo that makes your bottom line. Just focus your thoughts on what you need to do, and stop making excuses. Do it right the first time. It is funny, there is never time to do it right, but there is always time to do it over. Give them a clean, well-valued place that they are proud to call their own. Make the players your stars… They are, and they keep the lights on daily. Move your track into the modern era by allowing them computer access, and a full service area that specializes in answers. No silly looks, just answers…. I think things will begin to look up, and if the players feel like you care, they are more accepting of change. They know you are facing tough days, and if you value them as you should, they will not only come back, but they will support you in good, and bad times.

So, it is up to you. Go make your chili… There are a million ways, but I suggest stop making excuses and do the right thing. Time is a wasting, and the people are waiting….