The Racecourse Association (RCA) is delighted to announce that the quality of the visitor experience across Great Britain’s racecourses is higher than ever before as assessed independently by VisitEngland and VisitScotland through the annual Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme.
The Quality Assured Racecourse Assessment objectively assesses the visitor experience of a day at the races. Encompassing all aspects of the raceday, from pre-raceday telephone calls and social media audits to the racecourse itself and the quality and cleanliness of facilities, an experienced assessor conducts the assessment during a ‘mystery shop’ visit.
VisitScotland issue Scottish racecourses with a star rating and Marque, whilst VisitEngland provides English and Welsh racecourses with a Quality Marque (licenced by VisitEngland) for racecourses reaching the pass mark of 60%, which equates to 'good'.
A record 34 racecourses were awarded a score of 80% or higher which equates to ‘excellent’ while once more every single racecourse achieved a rating of ‘good’ or better with the lowest scoring mark in 2017 being 68%, the highest it has ever been since the scheme was launched in 2012.
This year the top 12 racecourses in England & Wales (in alphabetical order) were:
Aintree, Ascot, Bangor-on-Dee, Beverley, Cheltenham, Chester, Haydock Park, Newbury, Newmarket July, Ripon, Uttoxeter and York
In Scotland, Ayr and Musselburgh demonstrated excellence of the highest order by securing 5* ratings from VisitScotland.
Paul Swain, RCA Brand & Experience Manager, said: “It is fantastic to see the racecourse experience continue to improve across the board at all racecourses in 2017. It is testament to the level of investment that racecourses have made in facilities and staff training that we are seeing the higher levels of quality in terms of customer experience than ever before.
“Through the Raceday Experience Programme, Showcase & Awards, and our dedicated ‘Year of Service’ workstream we have been able to provide racecourses with the tools and examples of best practice to help them match the very finest customer experiences available in the sport and leisure market.
“Racecourses have sustained this drive for improvement and we’re committed to supporting them to continue to raise the bar.”
Gordon Smith, National Strategic Partnerships Manager at VisitScotland, said: "I am delighted to hear that quality standards across these racecourses have continued to improve. However, it's about more than just the stars on the sign - it is about the entire visitor experience and driving improvement in that experience throughout the country.
"Consumers want quality and value for money. Star gradings help visitors make informed decisions and select businesses that meet, and exceed, these expectations. Quality Assurance (QA) stars shown alongside online reviews give visitors a balance of objective and subjective views to assist in their decision making and expectations.
"Developed over the last four decades in partnership with the tourism industry and informed by visitor research, VisitScotland’s QA scheme is world-leading."
In addition to the general assessment there were Excellence Accolades for racecourses that recorded outstanding scores in specific areas of the assessment. These were awarded at the 2017 Showcase & Awards as follows:
Visitor Information & Signage
Aintree, Ascot, Chepstow, Chester, Huntingdon, Musselburgh (Scotland), Newbury (England), Royal Windsor, Uttoxeter
Musselburgh—Café 1816, Ripon—Club Dining Room
Fast Food Outlet
Staff Customer Service
Aintree, Bangor-on-Dee, Beverley, Chelmsford City, Cheltenham, Newbury, York