I was contacted two weeks ago by a manager from a local race track. He is versed in his field and knows how to make a buck. This guy wears more hats than many, and is involved in all areas of the game. So why is he calling?… I know I could bring a up a point or two, but I think he may want to pay attention to the more important people. The patrons…
As a past manager in racing, I have seen good ideas, great ideas, and some that could not hold water. I read a wonderful article about the “Six Things All Slot Tracks Should Have.” There was a proposal that caught my eye, and here is an excerpt from that article:
Bingo’s spend upwards of 25% of their revenue on marketing, casino’s about 20%. Horse racing spends less than 3%. (source HLN Advisors). Instead of 10% of total slot revenue going to horsemen and 10% to tracks like slot deals are written like everywhere, 9.5% go to each and 1% goes to the marketing of horse racing.
“Would you pull into a McDonald’s if the lights were out?” The answer is no. If there was a marketing allotment to target new players and serve the everyday patrons, I think you would see a retention of existing customers and a spike in new patron visits. If you don’t plan for the future, you can rest assured there will be none. But that is in the perfect world, and I haven’t found it yet…
Before we start the conversation about what we don’t have, and what we can’t do, let’s start thinking about what we can do, and how we can create some excitement on a daily basis. For tracks, or OTB’s that open the doors and show the races, here are low-cost ways to get the blood pumping at your venue until you get VLT’s, or your Racino is completed:
- Why don’t you have a drawing three times a day for patrons using their loyalty cards? They can receive XXXX amount of points to use for programs, and food and beverage. Easily done by pulling a daily log report and start creating some buzz. They love to hear their card number over the P.A…
- Use that P.A. system to announce “For the next 30 minutes, you will receive a free hot dog or melt at the concession stand just for showing your players card.” Who said there is no free lunch?
- Now go up and raid the old prize closet. You know, where the vintage race track stuff is stored. Players would love to see your management team walking around and passing out some hats, t-shirts, glasses, and anything to get the conversation started with a thanks for being here! No matter who, they love to be recognized.
- Wild Wednesday could have a $50 voucher announced every 15 minutes from 3-5 p.m. $400 total cost.
- If you are having concerts, fights, or special events, how about announcing some lucky players who will get some VIP tickets for free? This allows players to bring a guest to showcase your venue.
- There must be a detailed communication for all departments. It can be an email, or a meeting with department heads. There is nothing worse than your own people not knowing what is going on. Marketing is function of all employees.
I think you get the idea. Some tracks do not have the luxury of the bottomless budget and have to play it close to the vest by keeping the fans informed and offering special low-cost promotions go a long way for patrons. Think out of the box, or they will be putting you in one soon. When things get tight, that is when you dig in and make some things happen. Have your team walk through the building a few times a day. Get to know your players. Let them have your ear for a few minutes. High-five the player who is rejoicing over his big win. Burn some shoe leather, and get out there. Anyone can spend the inflated racino budget, but few can really make things happen with little to nothing.