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Accolade for Wetherby Racecourse

Wetherby Wetherby Racecourse was chosen as the winner of the Owners’ Experience award at the Racecourse Association’s Showcase & Awards 2018.

The Yorkshire track said that, following some poor feedback from owners regarding their experience at Wetherby over previous years, in 2012/13 it undertook a detailed investigation to identify how best it could redevelop its ageing facilities, with the specific objective of improving the owners’ experience, which resulted in the decision to construct a new grandstand at Wetherby to replace the existing facilities.

This project commenced in the Spring of 2013 and it took approximately four years from conception to delivery and the key principles that it hoped to achieve as part of this project were:

  • The creation of a new facility in which Owners can relax and enjoy their day at the races in comfort, with views of both the track and the parade ring.
  • Improve the overall visitor experience for all Owners and exceed any predetermined expectations of what having a runner at Wetherby would be like.
  • Improve the average number of runners per day.
  • Enhance the overall perception of Wetherby within the Owners Community.
  • Improve the reward and experience for both Winning and Placed connections.

In order to try and achieve its stated objectives, the racecourse implemented the following:

  • Newly created tarmac car park places, specifically for disabled Owners, located outside the Owners entrance.
  • Construction of a new Owners entrance building, finally making the old ‘chicken shed’ redundant!
  • Increase in the complimentary badge offering to all Ownership groups to 6 per horse, plus discounts on all additional badges.
  • Use of personalised Owners badges for the feature races on bet365 Charlie Hall Day.
  • Creation of a new Owners facility, The Riston Suite, within a new £3.5m Grandstand development called the Millennium West Stand.
  • Complimentary provision of up to 6 Bistro vouchers per runner, to exchange for a hot meal in the new Owners facility.
  • Provision of two Owners Liaison ladies to host The Riston Suite and make sure all Owners’ needs and wants are met on the day.
  • Brand new Winning Connections facility, “Thirst Past the Post”, within The Riston Suite, where the winning connections are entertained after the race.
  • Provision of Owners mementos, photographs and a memory stick containing a copy of their race for all Winning Owners.
  • Provision of a complimentary bottle of Fizz for the connections of horses placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th in each race, which they can either drink in The Riston Suite, or take home to enjoy at a later date.
  • Uplift in Executive Contribution to Prizemoney for 2017/18 of c.12.5% on the previous season.

The results were:

  • Within the Owners’ Stakeholder group, the perception of what a day out as an Owner at Wetherby will be like has increased exponentially.
  • There has been an increase in the quantum of positive feedback from Owners about the new facilities, the food offering and their day out as a whole.
  • The provision of Owners Badges has increased year on year with 4,500 badges issued in 2016/17, averaging 225 per day, compared to 5,008 in 2017/18, averaging 278 per day, which is a 23.5% increase.
  • 3,640 Bistro meals provided to Owners during the 2017/18 racing season.
  • Improved results in the Owners category on Visit England assessment days.

 13 November 2018

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