- All British Racecourses receive opportunity for objective assessment of raceday experience
- Assessments conducted by respected authorities LiveTourism and VisitScotland
- Top 10 English & Welsh racecourses announced whilst three Scottish racecourses accredited as five-star venues
- Nine racecourses awarded RCA Excellence Accolades for specific areas of quality
The Racecourse Association is pleased to confirm the results of the 2022 Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme as conducted by LiveTourism (England and Wales) and VisitScotland (Scotland).
The Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme, established in 2013, aims to objectively assess the raceday experience from the perspective of customers and sees each racecourse visited by a trained assessor from LiveTourism or VisitScotland. The assessments analyse all touchpoints of the customer experience including pre-raceday information, the on-course experience and post-raceday communications.
LiveTourism, responsible for all assessments in England and Wales, confirmed the top 10 racecourses for raceday experience in 2022 were (alphabetised): Aintree, Ascot, Beverley, Cheltenham, Chester, Doncaster, Haydock Park, Newbury, Newmarket (July) and York.
In Scotland, Ayr, Hamilton Park and Musselburgh retained their five-star visitor attraction ratings, meaning they are considered ‘exceptional’ venues by VisitScotland. 2022 has been a particularly challenging year for racecourses and all sport and leisure venues, but the retention of this prestigious rating demonstrates the ongoing investment into the raceday experience in Scotland. Kelso Racecourse also had an impressive year, retaining their four-star visitor attraction rating and confirming their status as an excellent venue. Perth Racecourse’s assessment will take place in 2023.
In addition, RCA Excellence Accolades were presented to racecourses that achieved exemplary scores in specific areas of the assessments. These accolades were presented at the 2022 RCA Showcase & Awards at Pontefract Racecourse in November:
Staff Customer Service
Spotless & Sparkling
Taste of Racecourses
As the first year with full attendances uninterrupted by Government restrictions, the 2022 Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme was a critical investment by the RCA to understand the impact of the enforced breaks on raceday operation and customer experience.
A clear trend that was evident during the assessments was the provision and retention of temporary event staff. Racecourses, alongside all major sports and leisure venues, remain in fierce competition to recruit temporary staff to safely accommodate large crowds. This has, unsurprisingly, impacted customer experience in some areas of the racecourse. The average score of 76%, a ‘good’ rating, acknowledges this fact and that racecourses remain dedicated to offering a great day out despite these challenges. The RCA will work closely with all racecourses in 2023 to analyse the trends arising from the assessments and continue to enhance the raceday experience.
Paul Swain, the RCA’s Raceday Experience & Communications Manager, said “We were pleased to reintroduce the Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The scheme demonstrates the RCA and its members’ ongoing commitment to reviewing and enhancing the raceday experience.
“2022 has been a challenging year for racecourses with inflation, soaring energy bills and the wider cost of living crisis. This, along with the difficulties of securing staff, has meant that racecourses have had to adapt and innovate to continue to offer the experiences our racegoers are accustomed to.
“I’m delighted to see our a number of racecourses recognised by experts at LiveTourism and VisitScotland via the results here and the Excellence Accolades. The generous sharing of best practice across our members is second to none and we look forward to continue facilitating this in 2023.”
Mandy Lane, LiveTourism Managing Director, commented “There is no doubt that like many sports recovering from the pandemic, racing has had many challenges to overcome. These challenges will continue as customer behaviours and preference change. Focusing on the customer is essential to be ahead of their expectations. The focus from the RCA and the Racecourses in the investment of the Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme demonstrates their commitment to continually improve the customer experience. The LiveTourism team were delighted to see that in 2022, despite the challenges, quality of experience and innovation is thriving.”
VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Manager, Angie Fowler said: “We congratulate the Scottish racecourses in retaining their excellent quality visitor attraction ratings, with three of them retaining our top accolade.
“A commitment to quality is clearly demonstrated across these racecourses and in particular, their dedication to providing an inclusive and accessible experience for all visitors is helping to inspire other attractions across Scotland. Their determination to maintain and improve standards is about much more than just a star rating, it is about providing a visitor experience consistent in standards across all areas –investing in the business to make it as economically sustainable, and profitable, as it can be.
“They know that quality and value-for-money are important to consumers, especially during challenging economic times, and delivering experiences that meet and exceed visitor expectations is crucial in making Scotland a must-visit, must-return destination.”