October 1, 2013
So many positive things are happening in our sport, I want to celebrate the thread that binds them—improving the experience. I have not done the research to state, definitively, that customers are looking to spend more disposable income on an experience, but anecdotally it feels that way.
In Kentucky, I know the “corn to cork” tour at Woodford Reserve sells out every year. What a memory to spend a day with the master distiller at Woodford Reserve! Personally Beth and I are quick to take a cooking class on a trip, rent bikes and pedal around a city, cook a new dish, get lost in the streets; we look to dive into the city, town, or community.
Likewise housing trends show millennial’s would prefer to give up housing square footage to live closer to downtown and other walkable communities. We seek the experience found in neighborhoods: good food, good drink (notice the rise of neighborhood micro-breweries), and socializing with friends; as opposed to the commute time to a suburban dwelling. We seek quality of quantity.
That’s why I am so thankful and excited when I read about Chris Kay’s dedication to the to the customers experience at NYRA. To Bill Thomason and his entire team at Keeneland who have helped coordinate racetrack managers to seek hospitality training, and to those tracks who are participating, thank you!…To the Breeders Cup for setting the goal of making the Breeders Cup a “bucket list” experience...to a day of racing at Sha Tin or Happy Valley; the HKJC leaves no stone uncovered as far as fan interaction and experience goes…Newmarket nights, what a setting for live racing…the list of people and entities working to push the standard and create a better experience while racing is inspiring.
I must mention the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) as well. Establishing industry supported aftercare facilitation for our athletes helps my raceday experience because I know the athletes will be taken care of post retirement. Hats off to you all!
Our horses want to perform and showcase their abilities for themselves, and for us. If we can continue to work together and build on this momentum the future will be bright.